Proceed cautiously on new bookings
Some travelers are still making summer and fall plans, even though they aren’t sure they’ll be able to see them through. For some, scheduled events that haven’t been called off, like summer or fall weddings, are placing guests in limbo. There’s also the appeal of cheaper fares and flexible cancellation policies.
For opportunists eyeing low fares, Leff encourages travelers to wait it out. “There isn’t an imperative to jump on good fares now,” says Leff. “As flying comes back, it won’t be like flipping a switch and the planes are full. I wouldn’t feel a need to jump on a good price today, because there will be good, possibly great, fares later.”
“The best thing anyone can do right now is to understand what their options are,” says Megan Moncrief, chief marketing officer at travel insurance comparison site Squaremouth. “The industry as a whole is doing what they can, providing refunds, vouchers, and credits at an unprecedented rate. As a consumer, I wouldn’t feel confident traveling this summer, though I would feel comfortable booking travel in the fall—but I’d want to know my options.”
Ezon agrees that any new travel booked should factor potential risk from the get-go, and what it will look like should you need to cancel. “What is the viability of getting your money back?” says Ezon. “And how are you paying? That’s very important when it comes to tour companies especially. If you pay by wire or check, you have very little protection, especially if that vendor goes bankrupt or closes shop. If you pay by credit card, cards will usually protect you, depending on the card. If you have travel insurance, that can also protect you.”
Know what insurance will cover
Though most travel insurance plans do not cover pandemics, there are ways to navigate existing plans to meet your current needs. “There is still coverage if you contract the virus, or if you’re quarantined, and there’s also coverage for the financial fallout from this, say employment layoffs, or financial default of the provider,” says Moncrief. On sites like Squaremouth, customers should make sure those scenarios are included in any plan being purchased right now.
Of course, you can also spend more on a cancel-for-any-reason (CFAR) plan to protect yourself as thoroughly as possible. “CFAR is the still your best option, especially if you just don’t feel safe or don’t want to go [when the time comes].” It works exactly like it sounds—you can cancel for any reason, no explanation needed. You won’t get 100 percent of your money back, and you have to follow strict rules in how you book—and you must purchase the insurance within a small window of booking the trip itself. Read more about this in our cancel-for-any-reason insurance explainer.
Though waiting to make the call on upcoming travel plans can be tough, Leff says the emotional upside can be worth it, too. “Keep your trips as something to look forward to through this, until you have information to make a decision,” he says. “Keeping something on the books gives you something concrete to hang on to, at least from a personal standpoint. You can look forward to when the world is better, healing.”
Read the full Conde Nast Traveler article online here: https://www.cntraveler.com/story/should-i-cancel-my-summer-vacation-or-fall-trip