Are you planning a trip in 2022? We know that COVID has disrupted so many travel plans and as we slowly start to move past the pandemic (hopefully), the key to traveling in 2022 will be by making smart travel choices, minimizing risk and staying flexible. Here are five ways protect your travel plans from COVID disruptions and to avoid losing money.
Five ways to protect your travel plans from COVID Disruptions
Avoid losing money by doing the following things:
1.) Book directly on the airline’s website
One of the most important things you can do to avoid COVID ruining your plans and losing money is to book all your flights directly on the airline’s websites. This is important because in the event of cancellations or COVID restrictions, you can reach out directly to the airline and they typically can change your flight or give you a credit voucher towards a future trip. Many times, you can even do the change yourself online. Booking with third party websites like Expedia or Flighthub leaves you at the mercy of their own customer service. This is not to say that they wouldn’t be able to help you but for your own peace of mind and sanity, it’s best to book directly with the airline and avoid third parties as much as possible.
2.) Plan for one country at a time
Multi country trips are exciting but in a pandemic, not so much because one country interruption can affect your entire travel plans. For example, if you plan to see Guatemala and Belize and Nicaragua and all of a sudden, Belize goes into a lockdown, you will now have to change plans or manage multiple changes for a booking which makes it complicated. When planning a trip in the pandemic and to avoid complications and loss of money, try to limit your travel bookings to one country at a time and avoid multi city trips as much as possible (except of course it is a road trip).
Oh and also, the more countries you book at a time, the more you have to pay for COVID tests in each country, wait for results, etc. It’s just generally better (and wiser) to plan for one country at a time.
3.) Book a flexible ticket and accommodation stays.
There’s never a time when ticket flexibility is more important than now. Often times, airlines will sell you tickets with a tiered pricing option. Basic tickets while the cheapest, often have no flexibility for changes – leaving you stranded should something happen to the flight. It is advisable to opt for a ticket that gives you the option to change your flight at no fee, even if you have to pay something extra. That payment can potentially save you some money down the line.
For accommodation, I love using booking.com and only booking stays that allow for free cancellation such that I don’t have to pay right away and will only get charged closer to the trip. This gives me time and flexibility to cancel without losing money. Usually the free cancellation window expires closer to the trip date (some even up to 24 hours before) and by this time, it will be obvious if this trip is happening or not.
It is often easier to reschedule a trip than to cancel it.Jessica Ufuoma
4.) Get CFAR (Cancel For Any Reason) travel insurance
You probably saw this one coming. Insurance is important so in case anything goes wrong, you have something to fall back on. However, for COVID specifically, you’ll need to get the right insurance as not every insurance company covers this aspect of travel. What you’ll need to get is a CFAR insurance. CFAR means Cancel For Any Reason and as the name implies, you can cancel your trip at any time and get some of your money back. CFAR insurance can be pricey so I will advise that you use this for very important trips where you’ve spent a lot of money. For example, a wedding, a big family trip, etc. Of course if you can afford to do it for any trip, even better. The quote depends on the trip, how long and more. There are a lot of them available, just google CFAR travel insurance. Here’s one.
5.) Have a backup plan
Having a plan B is important in a pandemic because anything can happen. If your trip is important and maybe cannot be postponed, consider other ways to get to your chosen destination. For example, flying into a nearby country and driving there can be an option. Or if you are flexible on date, consider rescheduling to a future date. It is often easier to reschedule a trip than to cancel it. Also, as soon as you know your trip won’t be happening, notify the airline, accommodation and other associated parties immediately.
I hope this gives you a sense of the things to keep in mind when planning a trip and to avoid losing money on travels during the pandemic. If you found this post helpful, feel free to share it.