The social distancing and self-isolation measures brought about by COVID-19 have increased the people’s desire to travel. Non-essential travels are still discouraged during the pandemic, but some trips cannot be helped. If you have such travels, organizing ahead is a must.
There are numerous things to consider. Before, if you were just wondering whether Seabourn or Silversea offers the best cruise experience, now, you have to consider guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers Disease for Control and Prevention (CDC)’s restrictions.
Also, each country has its own lockdown restriction to reduce the transmission of the disease. As states and countries start to reopen, government authorities are starting to adjust restrictions to reflect which areas have low-risk for COVID-19.
As you begin to budget for your next trip, debating on whether you should proceed with your solo travel to Japan, or dealing with already booked trips, here are some things to keep in mind.
What Do You Do with Already Booked Travels?
If you have atrip already booked in the upcoming months or weeks and you have to cancel, learn more about the refund policies.
First, stay updated on the refund policies of the company you booked through, as well as the state or country you were supposed to travel to. Even if the company offers a full refund, your chosen country may require refunds if your cancelation is due to the pandemic.
Second, if you used your credit card for payment, see if you have protection should you choose to dispute charges if the company refuses to give you a refund. Unless the company can provide to your credit card company that you got a refund or took the trip, you will most likely get your money back.
Airlines have different policies regarding the cancelation of trips and refunds. Double-check with your airline first before you cancel.
Many airlines, however, have decided to waive change fees and allow free reservations or rescheduling. In most cases, you have to wait for a closer date of your flight before you speak with a customer service representative.
Hotels and other accommodations have various policies regarding cancellation fees, so check with your chosen hotel or lodging. Even if the company you choose is not open to refunding, consider contacting the Attorney General of your state or national government since some governments have implemented rules that prevent businesses from charging customers more due to COVID-19.
What to Do With Your Future Travel Plans
When making future traveling plans, consider the finances associated with your travels. Where do you want to go and how much will the trip cost you? How will you get there? Is your budget enough or are there other financial considerations you must account for given the pandemic?
If you did have any trips this year, you have most likely canceled them due to the pandemic, especially if the crisis has affected your finances. When planning for future travels, consider which trips are easier to plan, more important to you and friendlier to your budget.
Consider this situation: maybe you planned to ski this fall, but you live far from your destination. If you proceed with the trip, you’ll be paying for food, accommodations, skiing equipment and other relevant items. If these expenditures are not within your budget, plan a trip next year or choose another location that is closer to home. This eliminates the need for long drives and accommodations.
Important Documents to Mind
Look into travel protection and insurance in case you need to make changes in the future. Keep in mind that some insurance policies do not cover “known” emergencies on the day of booking. This means that some policies will not cover changes due to the pandemic. Also, make sure that you review your insurance coverage to ensure it will cover COVID-19.
Finally, be clear with the cancelation policies for any future travel plans. If possible, consider taking public transportation or driving (if it’s a domestic trip), so you have more flexibility with cancellations.
The Bottom Line
The spread of COVID-19 has changed the way people travel, as well as reminded travelers of the importance of staying flexible and prioritizing travel protection.
As always, stay informed about any current travel restrictions here and abroad so that you can plan trips accordingly, as well as stop the spread of COVID-19. The best way to do so, however, is to postpone any trip in the following months and planning for them in the next year (or even in 2022).
Planning for travel may be challenging today, but take heart: you can travel freely soon as long you do your part in stopping the spread of COVID-19.