Should I Book Travel Now?
Things are crazy and there are so many unknowns. On the one hand, there are so many unknowns, it is hard to think about planning a vacation. On the other hand, it is a great escape. So let's talk about some pros and cons.
- There are so many deals out there now. Resorts, cruise lines, tour groups, they all want to get their future bookings filled right now. When the pandemic is over, it is likely prices will go up. The cost of doing business will be higher, at least initially. Prices would have to follow. So these deals will not last.
- Most companies have generous deposit and cancellation policies right now. There is relatively low risk.
- Hotels, cruises, and resorts are really stepping up their cleaning procedures to make sure guests stay safe.
- Planning travel is fun and optimistic. Why not plan a weekend in Vegas with your friends you haven't seen for a few months!
- We really don't know when things will get back to normal. Things are opening up (resorts in Cabo just opened!), but we don't know.
- While canceling is pretty easy, getting money back can take time. For any of us who had to cancel spring break trips, we all know how long we spent on hold trying to get our tickets refunded.
- We know the pandemic will have a dramatic, long term effect on the travel industry. We don't know what those will be.
Overall, I think now is a good time to book but you need to be cautious.
- Only book fully refundable trips. Save nonrefundable portions (typically airfare) for later.
- Check cancellation policies and deposit requirements! Read those with a fine-tooth comb and mark your calendar for the cancellation date.
- Pay as small of a deposit as possible.
- Stick with well-established companies.
- Be careful with trip insurance. Trip insurance is a great product and will help you out of difficult situations. However, the insurance may not help you with pandemic related cancellations.
- Establish what conditions would lead you to cancel. Whether you want to see a vaccine or a lifting of travel restrictions, just know what you need to happen before the cancellation date.
Now is a great time to book travel. However, I wouldn't advise going it alone. Now is a good time to have a travel professional on your side to change reservations, dig into insurance policies, and handle the other unique circumstances of this environment.