Assuming this will end, most of us will be around, we will have some money (I hope!) travel and planning travel will begin. Lot’s of more serious issues I know, but this is a travel forum after all. We have had to cancel several trips small and large and still have a RS tour scheduled in June to Italy. I’m quite certain they will need to cancel that. For our other trips it’s been painful, convoluted and, at times, trying. For future plans here is what I will do differently:
1) Travel insurance. I’ve been an advocate for travel insurance on this forum and always buy it. I’ve had to cancel for health reasons twice and the insurance covered what it was supposed to. Now posts abound about the exclusions, and I got caught in one I didn’t see. Turns out the policy I have for the RS tour has an exclusion on page 41 (really) that says no coverage for losses if a tour provider cancels, So RS might cancel but I’m on my own for all the other expenses, the largest of which is airfare. I think I’ll continue to buy travel insurance but I will really scrutinize each policy before I purchase. Also, having worked in health insurance for many years I know that industry is highly regulated here in California. I have a hunch travel insurance, not so much; it’s a relatively small market. I plan to dialogue with the state Dept. Of Insurance and state legislature regarding how to better protect consumers from exclusions that are impossible to find, or render a policy worthless.
2) Booking flights. We always start looking way in advance and book when it seems right price wise, knowing we only want economy plus seats. But, getting a credit that needs to be used within a year of the booking date really works against that sort of planning. I’m going to wait much closer to the planned departure date even if it means bypassing a good price. A change airlines should make (the ones that survive) is give credit a year from the date of departure instead of purchase. What good will it do me to have a credit that expires in September 2021 in the face of this pandemic?
3) Other refunds. We don’t book non-refundable anything as a rule, but certainly won’t now. But I’ve not paid much attention to cancellation policies when I book. From now on I’ll keep a spreadsheet or some tab on each and every reservation with a date by which I must cancel, leave nothing to chance.
4) Booking tours-this one I won’t change. I’ll continue to book with Rick Steves. Reading about others getting the run around regarding refunds on their tours reinforces that. I know RSE needs to refund cancellations under state law. But, it’s a standup company. I’m no Pollyanna but I think they would do that anyway, it’s the way they operate. I will say our neighbor had a Viking river cruise for April. They booked everything including air through Viking and got it all back to the penny. If RS could do anything to improve it would be to get involved in air transportation.
What will you do differently? What will you do the same?