It was a summer that was more stand-still than most people would have expected, which has many people already thinking about booking travel for fall and beyond. That includes Shannon Lichti, owner of Limitless Planet Travel.
“I don’t know if I can do a winter here without traveling,” she laughs.
However, most of her international trips this year were grounded, and she doesn’t have plans to go much farther than the lake for the rest of 2020. Due to the ongoing pandemic, unnecessary travel should still be limited, according to health experts. Still, we know: a trip may be unavoidable, or a getaway might be needed. Here are what Lichti and other travel experts are saying to keep in mind if you’re booking a trip this autumn.
New flexibility: Several major airlines announced this week they won’t charge you for making changes to your ticket; Lichti says that can be reassuring if you’re considering booking a ticket but worried about last-minute changes.
“I think it’s to give the consumer a little bit more flexibility in a time where at any point you could be traveling somewhere where they have an infection spike or something like that, and your flight would need to be canceled.”
With fewer people traveling, the airline might need to cancel or adjust your flight. It’s important to download their app and read all emails to stay on top of any changes.
Reopening, gradually: If you’re planning based on a cheap flight offer that arrived in your inbox, consider: during a pandemic, will the rest of the trip be worth it?
Lichti says you won’t be getting the typical experience in many popular destinations.
“Many cultural institutions are closed,” she said. “You might be getting a deal, but you might not actually be getting what you thought you would be.”
Respect locals: Lichti says many destinations are asking visitors to stay away in order to keep the communities safe and avoid a surge in cases.
“This is really important, actually,” she said. “If you are looking at a destination, that you thoroughly understand what their local mandates are and respect those.”
Also important to keep in mind: many states are still not allowing travelers from the US to enter their borders.
Reach out and ask: Most hotels and attractions are willing to work with you on rescheduling for a later date, even a year or more out. Lichti says if you decide to cancel, you’re more likely to have to pay cancelation fees.
Get help—the right kind: Of course, Lichti recommends a travel agent who can help you out, working their connections around the world to save you money and provide you a safe experience.
She says these days travel insurance usually hasn’t provided the safety net people might expect.
“The fine print, it says that under an act of God, a pandemic is not covered.”