Coronavirus travel deals are getting hard to pass up. Travel suppliers are offering huge discounts on airfare, hotels, cruises, and more.
Flights are 50% off, 5-star hotels are 80% off, the list goes on and on.
But who isn’t a little nervous about booking trips while thee country still deals with coronavirus?
Today’s show has 4 tips for how to protect yourself when you do decide to book travel.
Show Notes & Timestamps
- Checking the cancellation terms 00:00:31
- Get proof of terms in case they change 00:01:47
- The best payment option for extra protection is a credit card 00:02:32
- The best insurance option is CFAR 00:03:05
- Summary 00:03:34
Welcome to the Safe Travels podcast where we give you some tips and advice so you can sit back, relax, and have a trip without worries.
Today’s show is a followup to a couple of days ago when we talked a little bit about booking travel for later this year and whether or not that’s crazy in light of the coronavirus
After that show, I’ve heard several questions about it and I thought we would do another follow up just to broaden the topic a little bit. It’s still a short show.
There’s four tips I’d like to talk about and we’re really going to focus on how to protect yourself when you do book one of those trips.
The first thing is this, check the cancellation terms really carefully.
We went into this with detail the other day, but the gist here is that travel suppliers, whether it be airlines or cruise lines or hotels, are all making adjustments to their cancellation policies in an effort to try to entice travelers to book trips.
Basically, they’re making things much more flexible. They’re giving you more options to cancel. They’re giving them more time to cancel.
Really, a lot of the cancellation abilities that have been stripped out of the terms and conditions from various travel suppliers over the past decade have reappeared.
Airlines are letting you book trips with a lot of flexibility for changing them or canceling them with no fees.
Hotels are taking reservations where you can cancel them up to a week ahead of time with no cancellation fee.
This kind of flexibility has become a paid upgrade over the past several years. But like I said, they’re trying to entice you back into purchasing travel.
So they’re being a lot more flexible now, but it’s very important to read these terms carefully.
The good thing is that usually things like this can be buried very deep and the fine print, but in this case, they’re using it as a way to sell.
I’ve also been noticing that companies are changing the terms and conditions and making adjustments. So it’s important to pay attention when you are buying. Make sure you fully understand what the terms are.
So that’s the first way to protect yourself. With airlines, hotels, cruise lines, any travel supplier, what are the terms, conditions, and look for what they’re offering as far as cancellation.
The next tip is to get proof of those terms and conditions. As I said, they tend to be changing pretty often.
And here’s why that might be a problem. Imagine you find a great deal. The terms for canceling are very flexible, so you go ahead and make that reservation.
Then in two months you decide that you can’t take the trip and you want to take advantage of their flexible terms, but in the meantime, the travel supplier has changed those terms. And when you try to cancel, they claim that you’re not able to do so.
So in that situation, it would be really nice to have some sort of proof of what the terms of condition said at the time that you purchased.
So what does that mean? It could be anything from a screenshot of the terms and conditions page. You can print something out, you can use your email confirmation. Anything that gives you some proof that you can hand it to them and say, “I bought this trip under these terms and I am owed a refund”.
The next thing on the list offers some extra protection for you and the tip is to make sure they use a credit card for your purchase as opposed to a debit card or cash or check.
Basically when you use a credit card, you get an extra layer of protection for cancellations. Specifically if the travel supplier were to go out of business.
For example, if due to the downturn in business from Coronavirus, a travel supplier or a travel provider were to go out of business or go bankrupt…you might be able to file a chargeback with the credit card company and get reimbursed. This is certainly not guaranteed, but it could be a good option.
As I said, it gives you an extra layer of protection
And the final tip regards travel insurance and what the best option would be there. When it comes to protecting trips, a lot of people do think of travel insurance, but in the case of coronavirus, a lot of travel insurance policies do not list pandemics as a coverage reason for trip cancellation.
In fact, many policies actually specifically exclude it.
So for coronavirus specific concerns, the best option as far as travel insurance goes as a policy with cancel for any reason coverage.
Those policies do cost a little bit more, but they give you a lot of extra protection if you do need to cancel
So let’s summarize the ways that we can protect yourself. If you decide to cash in on one of these travel deals.
First, check the cancellation terms, because you’ll probably find some flexibility, but you should be fully aware of what they’re actually offering.
Second, get proof of those terms. Print out a screenshot, something that you can show to the company down the road if you do need to cancel, and they claimed that they never had those terms.
Third, use a credit card instead of any other payment method so that you have an extra layer of protection. Specifically, you can file a chargeback if a travel supplier goes bankrupt.
And finally for travel insurance, the best option would be canceled for any recent coverage. Pandemics are often excluded, and cancel for any reason policy would give you the best coverage.
Thanks again for listening, I appreciate it. Please share the episode if you can. And again, Safe Travels!