To Go Or Not To Go? Coronavirus Complicates Travel Plans

One of the most common questions we’re getting from clients this week is how to handle overseas travel they’ve already booked, given the growing threat of Coronavirus.

In many cases, they have already paid for or put big deposits down on expensive trips. Should they stay or should they go?

We share 6 tips below to help you sort out your travel plans for 2020.

Tip #1: Check in with the experts. Not sure what to do? Start out by checking travel advisories from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US State Department. The State Department has a helpful page on health and travel insurance concerns, while the CDC offers must-read guidance on when you should consider canceling or postponing your trip.

Tip #2: Read up. Two recent articles can help you explore travel options and see how other travelers have weighed the pros and cons of travel in a time of global uncertainty. Check out  “Smart Travel Planning in the Time of Coronavirus” and “Should you travel during the coronavirus outbreak?”

Tip #3: Know thyself. Even clients with good travel insurance tell us they are worried about running into unexpected health problems or quarantine scenarios that could exceed their insurance coverage. Younger travelers with no known health issues may not be in the same situation as older people who could be more vulnerable to illness. Health issues aside, a busy executive or a family with young children may not want to risk a delayed return, or face the possibility of quarantine far from home. Other more adventurous travelers may be more comfortable with unexpected outcomes and delays.

Tip #4: Ask about cancellations or trip credits. Some trips may indeed be written in stone. Others may allow you to cancel, take a trip credit, or postpone until a later date. Always ask your carriers and trip vendors what the options are. Airlines are now posting information on what tickets and destinations can be cancelled or changed without fees, so check there first. Don’t assume your plans can’t be changed, so be frank asking for the accommodations you need.

Tip #5: Do you still want to go? One person I spoke with was still looking forward to vacationing in Paris this summer, according to plan. She didn’t care if major attractions were closed, because she was travelling primarily to see friends and family. Other people say they have completely lost the desire to travel given the heightened level of anxiety, and clearly are candidates to trade that exotic vacation for a calmer stay-cation at home.

Tip #6: Wait it out. If you’re scheduled for travel later in the year (like I am), realize that things may change by the time you depart. If you don’t need to make a decision right away, don’t. Just know what your deadlines are to buy, cancel and change segments of your trip. Let’s hope that the world becomes a safer place before year-end, and we can rediscover the joy of travel.

About Mari Adam

Mari Adam, Certified Financial Planner™ has been helping individuals and families chart their financial futures for over twenty-five years. Have a question about your financial situation? Ask Mari!

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