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What are your personal "deadlines" for domestic travel decisions?

For me, domestic is within the United States. Obviously travel right now is a no; I've already cancelled my March and April plans.

I had previously made plans and reservations to do an Amtrak / rental car trip to the southwest national parks involving a mixture of camping and hotels, leaving at the very end of May, going through the first two weeks of June. I'm lucky in that the vast majority of it looks to be refundable, and I could go on and cancel it.

I'm realistic and know that things are unpredictable and crucial right now, and will take time (maybe a lot of it) to stabilize. At the same time, I hate to cancel if it turns out that it could be safe for myself and others. I'm realizing through this process that I get joy out of having a trip to look forward to, and it feels a bit bleak to take yet another thing away (even though it may be realistic).

So my question is - what are your personal "deadlines" for making some of these domestic travel decisions? Anyone else sympathize with the "wait and see" mindset? Or does it seem like the right call to just go on and cancel those plans? I was joking that if I did, I'd use the money to do some home DIY since I'm spending a lot more time "chez moi" than normal!

Posted by
2456 posts

I had to just edit/delete several things in my calendar for upcoming months last week and that was sobering enough. Some were appointments and some were domestic travel we had planned for the next month or so. It was difficult to know how far into the future to go with this calendar purging.

EDIT: I was comfortable but sad to cancel our March trip to Palm Springs. I haven’t made a decision about a June trip to the Midwest to visit family, we have flights booked but we could drive 30+ hours. I’m holding onto hope that we won’t have to cancel our July-August trip to Bavaria. I emailed the German family we are exchanging with yesterday and we both confirmed that if airlines haven’t cancelled flights and our governments are allowing travel we still want to do the exchange in late summer. My deadlines for cancelling are all over the place and being refined.

Posted by
2297 posts

We have a trip planned to the Dakotas in July. So far, we are going ahead with our planning. We are also planning to go to the beach on the Gulf Coast July 4 weekend, which seems less likely to be cancelled. If it is true that hot humid weather lessens the spread of coronavirus, that trip looks quite likely to occur-few places do hot and humid like the Southeastern US in the summer!

EDITED: Is there ever any good news about this? Now they're saying it can be spread by AC and that there is no evidence that it's killed by sunlight.

Posted by
2575 posts

Is there really any benefit in cancelling now? If there is no expensive deadline looming, then I would wait.....unless that DIY idea is really drawing you to change.
I know it is hard to wait, and when you have the options to cancel flights, tours or cruises, you want that wait anxiety to go away. But how would you feel if you cancel now and it all ends up being an acceptable time to travel? Rebooking will rarely get you want you had in the first place. I lost some sleep waiting for decisions on a big trip I had scheduled for April/May. My lodging was fully refundable. My cruiseline finally cancelled, and then I waited for my flights to be cancelled. I am not out one cent. but if I had done the cancelling, I would have been out of pocket quite a bit, or trying to use flights sooner than the 'end of year' timeframe offered for their cancellations.
For now, review all your plans around this, note any deadlines, mark that in the calendar and reassess on that date. Then start drafting up those DIY plans, or learn a new hobby.

Posted by
69 posts

We have a trip to England planned and have arranged to renew our wedding vows for our 30th anniversary in the 12th century church my mother attended as a girl. Our flight is September 16th and we were planning on a 3 week trip. We figure we'll wait until mid-August to see what happens with international travel. I made all our hotel reservations as cancel-able so the only thing we may be "out" on is a couple of excursions I purchased already. So we are just in "wait and see" mode.

Posted by
66 posts

My husband wants me to cancel everything we have for the rest of the year. He wants to sit tight and wait to travel next year. He makes sense and it would probably be the wisest choice but I’m not going to do that. Not yet.

He has a domestic solo trip scheduled in July that might be cancelled on its own. It’s an enormous conference with thousands of attendees. The flights are with American and Delta, booked with miles. If the event is cancelled then we’ll just pay the fee to refund the miles.

We have a RS tour to Spain booked in Oct. I’m waiting til the final pmt is due in Aug to see if it’ll still go. We have our flights already booked. We have CFAR insurance. But I’m not voluntarily cancelling this trip.

We have tickets to 2 concerts in April (Billy Joel) and July (Doobie Bros). Neither has been cancelled yet which surprises me as they’re all older than we are and should be isolating. It’s still wait and see with them.

So to answer your query, we tend to act like we’re going on our trips until someone or something stops us from going. Or they’re cancelled by the tour company or airline. We rarely voluntarily cancel our travels.

EDIT: We also have a couple of summer snorkeling and dive trips to the FL Keys booked with the grandkids but that’ll likely be nixed by their parents. We’re sad about that but we still intend to go without them.

Posted by
516 posts

I am not cancelling anything. We are going to Vegas at the end of April if they are open, Washington DC at the beginning of June and Italy July 22nd-August 6th. Unless we have to cancel if the airlines and/or Vegas are not operating. Lets remember 2500 people a month die of the regular flu for which people get shots for. 2 people have died in this county of the corona virus. The working class, hourly people and independent contractors are suffering in this country because of this over reaction. You think things are bad now wait until we have a bad recession. Everyone will suffer. A million people have been thrown out of work. Those of us who travel to Europe etc. are not the typical wage earner. We are middle to upper middle class professionals and have an obligation to help those who have been thrown out of work. Give the staff at take out places a 20 dollar tip, pay your staff if you can afford it even if you are not working full time and use every service available that employs hourly people and the working class. They are suffering!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by
3317 posts

We cancelled plans to see our daughter’s family in April - two flights, and they have small children.

Family weddings in May and June are still on our calendar. The May couple is talking through possibly changing dates.

My September Italy trip is still on my calendar. Most of my lodging is non-refundable. I did check the refundable hotels last night just to see how long i could wait to see if it’s still possible. Practically, I will probably keep thinking it’s a “yes” up to two weeks before the trip.

Posted by
157 posts

My daughter and her fiance are planning on going to Colorado in May to elope (in Colorado, you don't need an officiant and apparently elopement photography is a big thing there). She isn't sure if they will be able to go through with that now. We were supposed to go to Houston the last weekend of May for a kind of wedding reception but that may be cancelled or postponed as well.

My husband and I currently have refundable reservations for September to go to several national parks (flying and then renting a car). I was tempted to cancel earlier this week but then decided to wait until mid-summer and decide at that time.

Posted by
5448 posts

The working class, hourly people and independent contractors are suffering in this country because of this over reaction.

While "over reaction" is debatable (look towards Italy and Spain), hourly and gig workers, small business owners are being impacted by the pandemic. The president is worried about people like me who will likely pull back on discretionary spending like travel to help out our children whose income stopped because of the pandemic. Choice may be between luxury (discretionary) travel and our children.

Better to send financial support to our children than do the Dan Patrick sacrifice: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/texas-lt-gov-dan-patrick-says-grandparents-are-willing-to-die-to-save-economy-for-their-grandkids-2020-03-23

Posted by
5017 posts

I have a domestic trip scheduled for May. We're certainly not going. But I'm not canceling flights or accommodations, yet.

Because there's absolutely no reason to cancel those now, and attempting to do so would only gum up the works and increase hold times and workloads for those who really need access to the customer service reps ASAP for more urgent needs.

Got a trip that's more than a month or so ahead? Do the right thing and sit tight until you're inside a 30-day window of the actual travel/use date, THEN call. There's no reason to mess things up for others and every reason to wait. Be reasonable. Let others with a more urgent need get through.

Posted by
2903 posts

I really like David's point on waiting. It took me over a week to get through to cancel the rest of an international itinerary. I finally made it through just 3 days prior to the scheduled day of departure. Let the people with the most pressing needs be the ones using the phones at this time.

I don't think I have any set "rules." I plan to wait until closer to the dates I have trips scheduled, June and August and see what the world is like at that time. I would not have predicted the current status so I doubt I am very good at predicting the future. I will pay attention to any deadlines for cancellations to get full refunds. Those may be the dates that cause decisions to be made.

Posted by
2297 posts

I feel very strongly that large international meetings should be cancelled indefinitely. Too many people from too many different places in small meeting rooms.

Posted by
5017 posts

I feel very strongly that large international meetings should be cancelled indefinitely.

Fine (and perfectly reasonable). Let everyone know the big meeting is off. But wait until within 30 days of the actual travel to make the cancelations of flights, hotels, etc. to relieve some of the current crush of calls to every airline and hotel in the world.

Posted by
49 posts

Unless it's to see a relative at the end of life, I'm not going to travel again until:

  • an empirically verified treatment or vaccine is widely available to people who live where I would be traveling (and to people in my own community, given that I'd be returning), or
  • I receive medical advice that I've already had the infection and can no longer transmit it to others, or
  • enough time has passed that most humans have already been infected (and scientists establish, again empirically, that reinfection is unlikely)

By sticking to their plans, people are saying that they care more about vacations, conferences, concerts, sports games, etc. than about the lives of others.

There are no enforced bans on inter-regional or inter-state travel in the US for the time being, and our legal framework and politics make strict domestic travel restrictions unlikely. Foreign countries, for their part, will gradually ease entry restrictions. Even though a particular trip is or will be possible, why would I risk being a vector and harming other humans, for the sake of a discretionary trip?

Yes, I would hold off on voluntarily canceling non-refundable travel arrangements, in hopes that the suppliers would cancel, and thus be obligated to issue refunds.

Posted by
561 posts

Make that over 800 US deaths.... My DIY list is growing... as long as my lumber yard is open....

Posted by
113 posts

I hope I am not overly optimistic but I just booked airfare with miles through Delta to visit daughters in Denver and San Francisco the very end of June and beginning of July. Per Delta, I can cancel without penalty and get my miles back. Only hitch is that I must use these returned miles before 2/28/21. Also booked some refundable hotels, no worries there. No money lost but I too, hate that I can't look forward to my upcoming trip.

Posted by
4153 posts

If we had our druthers we'd be in Ashland right now, "as we speak," watching a play at the Oregon Shakespeare festival. Several weeks ago, deciding not to share theater space with hundreds of others, we called to cancel our tickets (two days, four plays, $600+). They weren't giving refunds but we got a voucher for the same value any time this or next season. The hotels were easy to cancel. About a week later, OSF cancelled all performances for awhile and offered refunds. If we'd waited we'd have a refund instead of a voucher. (I'm sure we'll use the voucher but I'd have preferred a refund with choice to return later.) So lesson learned, consistent with much of the advice above.

We still have reservations at a couple of places on the Olympic Peninsula for mid-May. I'm holding onto those for the time being though not optimistic. I'll probably cancel them early in May but it's nice to keep the hope of some improvement by then. Thankfully none of these plans involve air travel, just driving.

Posted by
2626 posts

Cancelled a mid-April flight today, but am still holding out hope for a May flight to Nashville. No need to cancel yet as I know I’ll at least get a credit.

Posted by
5235 posts

April 28 -- deadline for cancelling our June family camp reservation is April 30, so by then they should know if the camp will be open for our week -- or for any week during the summer. A lot of this will be based on the California stay-at-home situation.
EDIT: given the extended stay-home Federal guidelines, the cancellation of at least the early weeks of camp looks more likely. So I'm leaving the sleeping bags and hiking boots packed away in the guest room for the moment and getting reconciled to missing my family camp week for the first time in over 35 years.
EDIT 2: Camp was cancelled today (4/27) for the entire summer. A few of us may try doing a virtual camp experience on Zoom -- maybe wearing our Cal sweatshirts or tie-dyed t shirts from prior years. Somebody has already posted "409 days to Lair" as we hope for next year.

Posted by
521 posts

This doesn't really count as domestic travel but...I am gently preparing my dad (and myself to be honest) that we probably will not see each other for Easter. Last week, I was joking with my brother that our self isolating and the state wide stay at home was my 'get out of hosting the family for Easter dinner' card. But, I do now think that we will still need to stay home as a state at Easter.
That will be hard, but will think of the big party when this is over.

Posted by
5448 posts

Re Easter. President has being saying that we will all rise for Easter and pack the church pews. That timetable seems very optimistic. I doubt that Easter would be likely for dense areas like New York City but could be aspirational for sparsely populated rural country like Wheeler County here in eastern Oregon (Population < 1400 and 1715 sq miles = < one person per square mile).

I've held off canceling our Hawaii May trip. The Big Island is lightly populated except for the tourist areas, but Honolulu is a dense urban city. Mentally decided that we will reschedule but haven't cancelled hotels, car yet. Air can be rescheduled but it seems that only God and the President knows when normality will return.

In the meantime, we all need to stay home and not spread the virus.

Posted by
6061 posts

The virus isn't going to respect personal deadlines, so I don't see the point of setting myself up for failure. I try not to make any decisions in a crisis (any crisis) in general.

Posted by
30892 posts

I have a couple of local trips planned within B.C. this year, but don't have any "deadlines" for those. I can put the trips together on short notice, so I'm going to wait until we get through this crisis before making any decisions on when to embark on these trips. One of the trips is to attend a wedding but at this point I'm not sure whether that will be postponed.

Unfortunately my budget won't allow any international trips at the moment.

Posted by
893 posts

We were to meet friends from the East in Jackson, WY., mid June for a road trip through Yellowstone and ending up in Rapid City. We canceled everything yesterday. One has cancer and is on daily chemotherapy. Hopefully next year.

I’m waiting for our September RS tours to be canceled.

Posted by
1031 posts

I had 5 days of continuing education I wanted to do in Chicago late June, and was going to connect with friends afterwards. For unknown reasons I procrastinated on doing the funds request at my office, so I'm not yet registered, which means my employer and I are not yet out any money..... but do I follow thru?

Posted by
987 posts

I have a domestic trip scheduled for late May/early June. I will not be going, but I haven't cancelled anything yet. Partly b/c there's a part of me which hopes for some miracle for us all. Partly b/c as someone said earlier in the thread - everybody is swamped right now. I can cancel at the end of April and still be in the same shape with cancellation policies as I am today.

I'm not 100% certain what kind of a refund I'll get on my flight. I booked it in December, which generally means you get a year from the time you booked it to use the fare. I doubt we'll be traveling then, either, but not much I can do if they won't extend the period to use any credit.

I'd already cancelled one trip for earlier this month. Then there was the May/June trip, and that's it for me for the year. For once, I didn't have anything else booked yet.

Posted by
9388 posts

Holding cancellations until last minute. Domestic trip by car starting July 1 can be cancelled two weeks out with fully refundable lodging. European departure scheduled for August 31 and will have to make go/no go decision in mid-August when some lodging requires full payment. If travel is allowed we will likely go but skip all major metropolitan areas which will mean some changes in itinerary.

Posted by
67 posts

I have a weekend trip to MN in mid-May. Delta flight so confident if I need to cancel it will be hassle free. Hotel and rental car refundable if I cancel in time. This was to be part 1 of my 50th birthday celebration. Patti Smith concert on Friday night. Saturday tour to Paisley Park. I don't feel optimistic for this trip but will cancel at the last possible minute.

Part 2 trip is Yosemite in late June. I'll decide by 6/15.

Part 3 not domestic but a week in Rome in early September. I'll decide by early - mid August.

Won't be canceling any of them until the last moment I have to. Will hold onto hope, even though small, one or more of these will happen. If it doesn't happen this year I'll just celebrate next year!

Posted by
693 posts

We have a trip to Colorado mid-August - won't cancel until 2 weeks out. By then I figure all the airlines will have changed their "have to use your credit by" rules if the virus is still the issue. My husband is more worried and would prefer to wait until the vaccine is available and than travel. We'll see. I still haven't canceled our flights from PDX to LHR May 24th partly because I don't want to clog the system with a call and partly because I'm waiting to see what Delta does in May. I did cancel all the lodging already. Most of the trip was France and Italy with only a couple days in England.

Posted by
242 posts

Little bit late on the follow-up, but thank you all for your thoughts!

I started getting automatic refunds from some of the tickets/tours I had booked, which pretty much made the decision for me. Went ahead and did all the easy cancellations (anything automated). I wondered if Amtrak might be a little less swamped than the airlines and called to see. Amtrak's not exactly famous for efficiency, but thought I'd report that it was super quick and easy, and that because they had already cancelled one leg of the train journey, it ended up being a full refund even though one of my tickets was nonrefundable (which is great, because anyone who has taken some of those cross-country trains probably already knows it's frequently more expensive than flying!).

Posted by
430 posts

We were ticketed to fly to Greece in late-May but the trip was postponed until September (tentatively). As soon as the travel agent can rebook will reticket (usually we do independent travel but it's a corporate award trip). I'm tempted to take advantage of what may be favorable airfares/ticket refund options and book a second trip for later this year. - I'll wait for now but may do something in the next several weeks.

Posted by
3118 posts

My husband & I both have been furloughed so any and all plans for domestic & int’l travel is off the table until we both are re-hired.

Posted by
67 posts

I am postponing domestic travel decisions (Netherlands/France) until border controls are relaxed again but inside the NL I am avoiding train travel for the time being. Hopefully the Dutch government will soon announce that we can come together in bigger groups than 2-3 so I can see my parents and my elderly uncle and aunt who live about a 2-3 hour drive away.

For my American partner it is harder although he has lived in Europe for so long now. Although he could travel back to the US if he wanted in these times it is difficult to be so far away from your parents.

Posted by
5544 posts

We have flights booked July 1. Don’t know if they’ll be canceled or if we’ll decide not to fly.