The incredibly cheap deals on airfare, vacations, and hotels are tempting—but don’t book a trip for 2021 without reading this first. Making these five simple mistakes could cost you big (like the entire price of a vacation). If you want your trip to go smoothly, don’t do these things:
Skip Reading the Cancellation Policy
You may have heard that most airlines are offering free flight changes, or that many hotels are letting you cancel for free. However, there’s no blanket rule around travel cancelations or changes, so always read the entire cancelation policy before booking anything. Be sure to check both the change and cancelation policy—some providers are allowing free changes, but not a cancelation. Don’t forget to check if you will receive a refund or a credit, and if you get a credit, how long you’ll have to use that credit before it expires.
Buy the Cheapest Travel Insurance
If you’re worried that you might have to cancel your trip due to the pandemic (whether it’s due to getting sick yourself, travel restrictions, or anything else COVID-19 related), you might think that buying travel insurance will cover you. However, since the pandemic is now a “forseen condition” most basic travel insurance policies won’t cover cancelations related to it.
Carefully read the terms and conditions for any policy that you’re considering purchasing to make sure it would cover any pandemic-related cancelations. You’ll likely have to upgrade to a more expensive policy or a “cancel for any reason” plan to get the coverage you’re looking for.
Pay With Anything but a Credit Card
Paid with a cheque and your airline or tour provider went out of business? You’re probably out of luck when it comes to getting your money back. Credit cards typically offer much better purchase protections than other forms of payment, and you’ll likely be able to dispute a charge and get a full refund if an operator goes out of business.
Wait Too Long to Snag a Great Deal
Although there are plenty of great travel deals out there right now, experts are predicting that prices will rise later this year once bookings begin to increase. So if you see a fully-refundable, amazing deal to your dream destination don’t wait—book it now!
Forget About Travel Restrictions
Don’t let your excitement over traveling again distract you from reality. Keep an eye on changing travel restrictions during the time leading up to your trip, so that you can act accordingly. Does it look like the country you’re visiting might close borders again? Look into your cancelation options.
As you prepare for your trip, make sure you stay up-to-date with the most recent quarantine guidelines and testing requirements before you go, so that you can plan ahead and have enough time to isolate (both before and after your trip, depending on rules at your home state and also your destinations) and book a COVID-19 test if required.
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