Cancelled travel plans due to COVID-19? Here’s how to minimise your losses

Trip cancellations are not something you can control, but at least you can try to minimise your losses with these tips.

Cancelled travel plans due to COVID-19 Here’s how to minimise your losses

‘Cancelled travel plans’ are the dreaded words a lot of us have heard and experienced in the last 18 months. Lockdown, cancelled flights, travel restrictions have all rained on our holiday parade. Along with the disappointment of having to miss vacations, destination weddings, and family meet-ups, cancellations have cost us all a pretty penny as well.

It’s said one can learn valuable lessons from every setback. If you thought things were improving in the beginning of 2021 and booked your hotels and flights, only to go back into lockdown, here’s what you can do minimise your sunk cost.

Flights

If you had to cancel your trip or government rules have cancelled it for you, the first thing to do is check your airline provider’s flight cancellation refund policy. If they are willing to provide a full or partial refund without a high cancellation fee, that’s great. The chances of this happening are low as the airline industry is currently suffering heavy losses. 

If you are not getting a refund, check what your airline’s new policy is for COVID. The best place to look for this is on the company website. See if you can change the date of travel without having to bear any loss. Alternatively, see if you are eligible for a voucher or airline credits to be redeemed in the future in lieu of flight ticket cancellation. Ideally it should give you an extension of 1+ year, keeping in mind that the situation is unpredictable. 

Related: COVID-19: How it has impacted travel and tourism?

Hotels

Your hotel, homestay, or Airbnb will have a cancellation policy too. Again, the first thing to do is check this. You will have to get in touch directly with the hotel (even if you booked via an aggregator) to understand how it can be worked out. The best thing to do is request a refund amount as you don’t know when you will travel next. Unlike in the case of flights, there is a high probability that your accommodation property will issue a refund as a lot of them are closing down temporarily to cut their operational cost. 

If this doesn’t work, call their call centre speak to them directly and ask for an extension or credits for cancellation of the booking. Remember, they are going through tough times as well, so be polite and friendly. Not only it is a decent thing to do, it also increases your chances of getting cancellation charges waived, and maybe even getting additional benefits along with credits or more leeway for the future. 

How to plan your travel in times of COVID

Travel has completely changed in the face of COVID. The uncertainty demands that we take extra precautions. Let’s take a look at five things to keep in mind when planning a trip in the new normal.

  1. First things first, always book refundable flight tickets so if the need arises you can cancel or reschedule.
  2. Look for flexible returns so you can move the ticket date around a couple of days if the situation changes in the country of your visit or even your home country.
  3. Book hotels that offer free cancellations even close to the date of bookings.
  4. When negotiating with hotel owners, be calm and kind. You will be surprised by how helpful they can be.
  5. Most importantly, always get travel insurance so that you are covered in situations such as flight ticket cancellation, flight delay, hotel cancellation, lost luggage or passport, accidents or medical emergencies, etc. 

Related: COVID-19: Why cancelling your travel reservations is better than rescheduling?

Last words

The best thing to do in the near future is to stay at home. You can tick off your bucket list destinations after a couple of years. If you do have to travel for some reason, follow safety protocols at all times to protect yourself and those you come in contact with. 11 Tips to follow while travelling in 2021 to ensure safety at all times

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