Should You Cancel Your Trip Because of the Coronavirus?
The coronavirus has officially been declared a pandemic by The World Health Organization, as the situation continues to rapidly develop day-by-day. As it continues to spread, one area that is going to be drastically affected is travel. If you have a trip planned or are expecting to travel in the near future, you may be debating whether you should change or cancel your plans altogether. To help you make an informed decision in regards to this fluid situation, here are some factors you need to consider.
What is your destination?
The CDC has issued a Level 3 warning advising against “nonessential travel” to China, Italy, Iran, and South Korea, due to a high number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the region. These areas should be a flat out no when it comes to any travel plans. Areas with Level 2 warnings warn Americans to “practice enhanced precautions” as the number of transmissions is slowly but steadily rising.
For those who are elderly or have underlying health issues, these areas should be avoided as well. If you’re a healthy adult, the threat risk is lower but still apparent. In the end, the best thing you can do is follow country-specific risk-status updates issued by the CDC, WHO, and the US State Department as you get closer to your travel date, and make an informed decision by then.
Does your airline provider offer no-fee cancellations?
As many travelers are scrambling to address bookings, airlines are doing what they can to offer temporary reprieves on cancellations. Depending on the airline, there could be specific policies that are in action that dictate whether you are entitled to cancel or change your travel plans with no penalty. Be sure to check the airline’s website to find an up-to-date policy or call customer service to get an accurate idea of what you’re dealing with.
Do you have travel insurance?
If you’re concerned that the ongoing coronavirus situation will affect your future travel plans, experts are recommending you spring for a “cancel for any reason (CFAR)” coverage plan. Regular travel insurance isn’t going to work in a situation like this, as it won’t cover plans that have been cancelled due to fear or indecision. A CFAR policy usually adds about 50 percent to the price of a basic policy, typically accounting for 4-10 percent of a trip’s cost.
Most insurers require travelers to purchase policies within 21 days, so if you recently booked a trip, don’t wait too long to enroll in a CFAR plan. If you booked more than three weeks ago, you will no longer be eligible for purchasing a plan. Don’t lose hope though, as no one knows how the situation will be later on down the road. Sometimes, it can be a good idea to wait it out and see if the situation improves.
Are you prepared for the risks involved?
As we’ve seen, this pandemic is a rapidly evolving situation that has been shown to change at a moment’s notice. While your planned trip may be at a destination that currently has a low risk factor, it’s a smart idea to prepare for anything. With this in mind, a relaxing vacation may prove to be more stressful than usual, so keep that in mind when considering how you want to proceed with your travel plans.