10 Steps to Follow to Postpone or Cancel Your Travel Plans for COVID-19
Updated: Jun 17, 2021
Happy St. Patrick's Day! May the luck of the Irish be with you all today especially during these challenging times around the world with the same topic on everyone’s mind. I'm grateful to have visited Maui in early February before the Coronavirus spread! 🍀🌈
10 Steps to Follow to Postpone or Cancel Your Travel Plans:
As the world watches the Covid-19 coronavirus evolve into what has become a pandemic, many travelers have been left wondering what this means for trips they have booked. Whether you were going to head to China, Italy, or nowhere near current outbreaks, here's everything you should think through before altering or canceling your travel plans as we are all quarantining ourselves at home for the next couple of weeks. 1. CHECK U.S GOVERNMENT WEBSITES AND SET ALERTS - The U.S. Department of State (DOS) is tracking current outbreaks and updating their travel advisories when they believe travelers should cancel trips, reconsider travel, or exercise increased caution in certain destinations due to the virus. Look up the travel advisory for any country you have plans to visit.
2. VISIT THE GOVERNMENT WEBSITES OF COUNTRIES YOU WERE PLANNING TO VISIT - If you were going to visit any country that has had an outbreak (or in some cases, neighboring countries), the biggest risk is not always that you will be exposed to the virus, but that you could face travel delays, inspections, and potential quarantine when returning home or entering a second destination. 3. REACH OUT TO YOUR AIRLINE FOR CHANGES OR CANCELLATIONS - To get a grasp on interruptions to service and the hard costs involved with changing or canceling a flight, you'll need to reach out to your airline. Currently, U.S.-based airlines have canceled flights to multiple countries, and are waiving change fees to many destinations. 4. E-MAIL YOUR HOTEL FOR FULL REFUND, RE-BOOK IF CANCELED OR POSTPONE DATE - If you have a reservation in a destination with an outbreak, especially in areas that are currently on lock-down, you may be offered a full refund or offer to re-book if you cancel or postpone your trip. If you are traveling elsewhere, policies vary and will most likely follow the property's standard cancellation policy. If you are traveling to multiple destinations on a trip, let each hotel know which other destinations you will be visiting to ensure you won't be subject to quarantine policies upon arrival (which would be in line with the local government's policy). In addition to understanding the financial obligations of changing your trip, your hotel or Airbnb can also provide useful insight into what the situation is like on the ground. 5. TALK TO YOUR TRAVEL AGENT TO RESCHEDULE AT NO COST - If you booked with a travel agent, or booked any day tours or experiences, reach out to those providers as well. They may have their own insurance policies for canceling. In some cases, even if your hotel or airline isn't offering the option to reschedule your trip at no cost, the agent who booked your trip may have their own offers enabling you to do so. Even if you're not considering canceling, make sure to ask about potential disruptions to your trip or tour that will impact your experience (and make sure you have an answer, in advance, regarding how you will be refunded or compensated if that happens). 6. CONTACT YOUR CRUISE LINE TO RE-BOOK OR POSTPONE - After a coronavirus outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship and reports of a second ship being rejected from international ports, some cruise lines are allowing guests to re-book or postpone upcoming cruises due to concerns over infection or interruption to their trip. If you have a cruise booked, reach out to the cruise line directly for details on their policy. Because many cruise lines are prepared for a range of scenarios, they'll likely have a plan in place. 7. CHECK YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE POLICY - Ultimately, much of the above may fall under your travel insurance—depending on the type of insurance you purchased, if any. While most policies don't cover the reasons you might cancel because of the coronavirus (like new travel advisories for your destination, city lock-downs, or simply not wanting to go), policies with a "cancel for any reason" provision will have your back. If you didn't purchase travel insurance, know that your trip may be protected through your credit card. Some cards include travel insurance as a perk, though the coverage wildly varies.
8. CONSIDER WHEN YOUR TRIP IS PLANNED AND ADJUST ACCORDINGLY - If you're departing on a trip within the next couple of weeks, follow the above steps to understand what your options are as soon as possible. If your next trip is three months from now? Do your research and track the situation, but consider taking a beat before overhauling your plans. The situation has been changing overnight, making it impossible to know which parts of the world will be impacted several months from now. 9. MAKE A DECISION THAT MAKES SENSE FOR YOU - If you're departing on a trip within the next couple of weeks, follow the above steps to understand what your options are as soon as possible. If your next trip is three months from now? Do your research and track the situation, but consider taking a beat before overhauling your plans. The situation has been changing overnight, making it impossible to know which parts of the world will be impacted several months from now. 10. FOLLOW GENERAL HEALTH PRECAUTIONS AT HOME AND ABROAD - Whether you decide to stay home or hit the road, make sure to wash your hands frequently, disinfect regularly touched objects, and take the steps you normally might to prevent the flu. And while you should avoid being in close quarters with sick individuals, it's also important to identify and reject stigmas surrounding the virus.
Focus on keeping a good diet, getting sleep, keeping your immune system up, avoiding excesses, and practicing good hygiene. Highly recommend staying at home or hotel if you're already traveling for the next two weeks to help stop the spread of the infection. Just use common sense in dealing with the Coronavirus. Stay safe and healthy mates, we are all in this together!