Thanks to the continued rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, more people are beginning to plan summer vacations. Some may have already started traveling for Spring Break. The pandemic isn’t over yet, though. There are still risks associated with traveling – both to your health and your wallet.
If you are traveling internationally, for example, expect some significant complications. Certain countries have temporarily banned American travelers and “vaccine passports” are currently being explored by both the private and non-profit sectors.
If you are planning a getaway this spring or summer, Better Business Bureau recommends the following tips for minimizing risk:
Research travel restrictions. Travel restrictions vary by state and country, and they are constantly changing. Visit the U.S. State Department’s "Know Before You Go" page and the CDC Travel Planner to get up-to-date information on any COVID-19 related travel restrictions.
Understand the risk of purchasing discounted tickets. There are plenty of deals on flights. Unfortunately, discounted tickets rarely provide refunds and will likely charge you if you cancel or reschedule. Be willing to pay extra for fully refundable flights, car rentals, and accommodations.
Understand what travel insurance covers. Purchasing travel insurance is wise, but it may not cover every situation. You have the option to add insurance directly with the airline when you purchase your ticket, or you can purchase travel insurance from a third party. Those two options are not one in the same. The level of coverage varies, so choose the plan you are most comfortable with. Read the fine print to understand how your policy works. Hiring a travel agent to help you navigate the process may not be a bad idea either.
Make flexible travel plans. Flexibility is key during the pandemic. Your plans may change last-minute due to an unexpected lockdown or infection. Try to avoid a tight schedule if you can and be prepared in case you are unexpectedly stranded.
Take precautions before and after your trip. During the 14 days leading up to your trip, avoid situations that could put you at risk for infection, such as attending large group events or using public transportation, recommends the CDC. Then, get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before you travel and keep a copy of your negative test results with you. After your trip, get tested again 3-5 days after arriving home and make plans to self-quarantine for 7 days after travel, regardless of your test results.
Always do your research.
Before doing business or making a purchase, always research the company at BBB.org. Look for things like any possible complaints, and customer reviews.
For more consumer tips visit trust-bbb.org.