In these uncertain times fraught with confusion and anxiety, there are many questions hovering around in the minds of eager travellers.
From the risks involved in booking hotels or homes and how global travel destinations are starting to reopen to flight cancellations – here’s a quick guide to keep you informed on travelling after coronavirus.
How your travel plans may get affected due to coronavirus
With flight schedules getting swapped around or getting cancelled altogether and borders being sealed off completely, many travellers have postponed their trips. Here are some of the changes that may impact the decisions you make around travelling:
Historically speaking, cancellations initiated by cruise companies have been a rare phenomenon, but in this pandemic era, many cruise lines have given more leeway around cancellations and rebookings.
With that said, cruise trips are on hold in the US, most likely until the end of 2020, although some small ships are not included in the ban and have resumed tourist activities.
Airline cancellation policies have been updated around the world, where certain flight routes have been suspended altogether. The EU ban, for example, prevents anyone flying into the EU from the US, or anyone flying out to the US.
Many airlines are doing what they can to give travelers more wiggle room by extending flight rebooking timeframes for cancelled flights. Almost all US airlines have done away with change fees. Airlines are also handing out flight vouchers as many of them are legally obliged to offer cash refunds.
Hotel and room rental cancellations
The cancellation policies seen across the cruise and airline industry are reverberating across other industries as well, including the hotel and rentals industry.
You might come across a range of varying restrictions depending on whether you booked directly with your hotel/property rental company or a third party.
Well-known hotel brands like Four Seasons have waived off cancellation fees and are even allowing travellers to make last-minute reservation changes with no penalties being imposed.
Other sought after hotels in the US and Canada are offering limited redemption offers to guests who have points to spare. There are even properties available to buy out completely.
The Ritz-Carlton hotel is offering generous discounts on rooms while Hyatt has tripled the points eligible on winter bookings.
Impact on travel documents and programs
Passport renewal services are back in action, although amid delays. If your passport is expiring any time before 2021, then you should read this.
In late July next year, New York residents will be able to enroll in Global Entry again and the deadline for Real ID application (the latest in federally approved ID required for all US citizens travelling domestically) has been extended as well.
Other quick need-to-knows
If you’ve made any travel plans through a third party for a cruise, flight or hotel stay, then you ought to read this to understand how to get your money back.
Loyalty programs are also seeing certain changes that frequent travelers should be aware of.