Book Now. Travel Later?
If you're anything like me, you don’t feel complete unless you’re always planning your next trip. So, you may be wondering: “With all of this uncertainty, travel bans and event cancellations, should I even think about booking a trip for a future date right now?” I say YES!, but with a few caveats.
I would first book travel with policies are more flexible. Many airlines, hotels and cruise lines understand it’s difficult to commit to a trip in the age of this new coronavirus. There are just too many unknowns. So, booking policies are evolving to be more flexible than ever before.
Many airlines have shifted to temporary policies that allow you to book new flights now through a certain date, and can cancel for a full refund later, often with the ability to make changes within the next year.
American says it will waive change fees on bookings for travel through April 30, as long as the new ticket is issued on or before Dec. 31 and travel occurs within 12 months of the originally booked travel dates. That applies to paid and award tickets.
Of course, Southwest didnt have to change its policy since it always allowed for last-minute (up to 10 minutes before your flight), refundable cancellations.
Mainstream ocean cruise lines like Carnival, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line and more are allowing passengers to postpone trips from one to three days before departure for voyages departing on or before certain dates (ranging from April through Sept. 30). You’ll receive a future cruise credit if you do cancel.
Booking a hotel for your upcoming trip is relatively easy since many properties have very fair cancellation policies — you can often cancel up to 24 to 48 hours before check-in. And, hotels have met the challenge of coronavirus by updating their change and cancellation policies to be as consumer-friendly as possible. Just be sure to carefully read the cancellation information for the reservation before booking.
Make sure you invest in travel insurance. I used to be a trainer for a large travel company. One thing that a lot of travelers did not do was purchase travel insurance. When selecting travel insurance, make sure you get the policy that has the cancel for any reason.
If you’re one of the many Americans putting a hold on travel for now and are taking a wait-and-see approach to the new coronavirus, that’s OK. But, there’s no reason you should put a hold on vacation planning. Now is the best time to start researching those dream trips, watching flight award availability and banking those points so you can book a spectacular resort when the time comes.