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Should I keep Booking Activities for July/August Spain/France Trip?

We have a trip to Spain and France planned starting July 20th for three weeks. We are a family of four. I booked with Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card points. My credit card insurance says I can't get the points back (that I spent 3 years saving) if there is a pandemic. However, it looks like I can get them back if there is a travel warning (but need to double check this). So I am thinking that all I can do at the moment is wait this out and hope that by June, the virus has mostly run its course in Europe. In June, I believe I can still cancel most of our Air BNB lodging for a full refund. My main conundrum at the moment is whether or not I keep booking activities - e.g., key attractions where book in advance is recommended. Those tickets look like they are all nonrefundable.

So, my two main questions are:
*Do people agree that the odds of us still being able to take our trip are good even with coronavirus?
*Should I keep building out our itinerary and booking activities / purchasing advanced tickets?

Thanks!
Diana

Posted by
5544 posts

No one knows the answer to your questions. There probably is a good chance you can go.
I would sit tight and not add more expenses thinking that the number of tourists going to those places will take a huge drop.

Posted by
16581 posts

There are two kinds of book-in-advance attractions: Those that sell out really early (e.g., the Alhambra) and those with hellacious lines you do not want to stand in, but which do not typically totally sell out even a full week in advance, much less months in advance.

I see no reason to book the second category of sights very far in advance. "Don't show up without a ticket in your hand" doesn't mean "book three months in advance". There's always a slight possibility something could come up (heck, one of your kids could suffer a broken leg), and there's no advantage to having a bunch of non-refundable bookings when you could buy the tickets right before you leave home--or possibly even after you get to Europe.

Tell us what sights and activities you're interested in, and we (collectively) can probably help you separate the urgent from the can-waits.

Posted by
1400 posts

We are booked for 3 weeks to London and Dublin starting April 27. We are still waiting to decide what to do. I haven’t booked any sights as of yet, and have a hotel with cancellation 24 hours before. We are thinking that if we do end up going we will take our chances that most sights won’t be too crowded and booked a few days before. Your trip is further out so I would sit tight and wait.

Posted by
1653 posts

The situation developed quickly, by now, I would stop booking anything : nobody will be competing for those tickets, the situation in Spain is really dire and if China is any indication, it will take at least 2 months to stabilise.

Posted by
2902 posts

It all depends on your comfort level with risk and non-refundable purchases.

Posted by
413 posts

Diana, continue to make your plans, but don’t spend too much $$ on nonrefundable items.
You and everyone needs to realize, either the world stops this “now” or summer travel will be off the table. And if you lose a few bucks it won’t matter. If the US, Europe etc are still shut down over the summer because of this the economic damage and world wide business failures will be huge and missed vacation credit card points will be meaningless and at the bottom of your list of concerns.

Posted by
885 posts

Spain and Italy will be off the table as far as travel goes for a long time and I wouldn't be surprised if it's fall before things get slowly back to "normal". So please don't buy any tickets now especially in Spain. It's been the hardest hit now in deaths and I fear will have an economic collapse in the coming months.

Posted by
408 posts

My trip to Spain is in October. As of now, over 6 months before the dates of my plane tickets, considering the situation with the current pandemic, should I conclude that I must postpone my trip? How far in advance should I contact the airline to see if I can cancel and get a credit for future travel? Am I likely to loose the money I spent on my plane tickets? I don’t have trip insurance.

If the Alhambra website doesn’t let me buy a ticket when ticket are supposed to go on sale for my travel date, then I would need to postpone my trip... wouldn’t it more than suck if the travel industry in Spain starts operating again but then when I arrive in Spain, everything is shut down again? It would mean I wasted my money and got screwed on requesting time off work when I “should have known better” than to have traveled to Spain. I only want to take my plane flights if there is a reasonable expectation that the sights will be open. Normally I don’t like the idea of being disappointed when I arrive at a place and it is closed but when the plane tickets cost $1,223, that is too much money to waste if I can help it.

Posted by
9 posts

I’m scheduled for Spain in October also. Very skeptical as to whether this trip is a go from the standpoint of it being cancelled or because of my comfort level. That combined with the possibility that popular attractions will not be open leads me to think that postponing the trip until next year makes sense. I, like you are concerned about my $1200 airline ticket that I booked in February 2020. A voucher that has to be used 12 months from the booking date doesn’t cut it for me. Wondered if anybody knows if you can either get a refund or if the rebook time can be extended. The ticket is through American Airlines.
Ron

Posted by
2626 posts

I have a trip planned for late September and am not certain Spain will be open yet. Personally, I wouldn’t buy anything that isn’t refundable.

Posted by
609 posts

Ron, you need to check aa.com - looks like you can get vouchers good through 2021 right now. Read carefully.

Posted by
2494 posts

As I was explaining in another post, the Spanish government mishandling of the crisis is totally unacceptable and the ineptitude of some of the ministers is astonishing, they keep wriggling every which way with no clear planning ahead. This is to say that at present, even to those of us living here, there's no clear line on "what's next".

While it's true that any plan will depend on the evolution of the crisis, a viable and comprehensive short term plan should be available... and it's not, not to the public not even among the member of the Spanish government -judging by their contradictions.

So any advice, by anyone, it's just pure guess and speculation.

Having said that, my gut feeling with the information I have (now), it's that if (if!) the curve has in fact been reached, life will return to something sort of "normal" (mind me!) by late June. Tourist places will be mostly up and running albeit it's likely there'll be certain measures in place that will alter regular visits (ie. social distancing, maximum capacities inside premises, etc).

Note however that several reports made by local consulting companies, like Deloitte or DNA, seem to point that for the time being tourism will be mostly internal, short trips within the regions for the most part.

This, of course "can" be an opportunity for those venturing to visit from abroad: far fewer crowds and possibly cheaper prices, but on the other hand, you're still likely to be exposed to supervening situations (cancellations without much pre-warning, forced quarantines if a new spike is detected, etc.).

Cancellation refunds and the like are something that the machinery of our tourism industry, quite developed already, is well greased on so, for the most part, there should not be any problems if you come up with the need to do so. Still, as in every industry, not everybody sticks to professional procedures and ethics, so make sure to understand who you are booking with AND do read the fine print -the devil is always in the details and most people don't bother to read it!

It's worth saying that this scenario won't be unique to Spain but to many other countries, especially those accustomed to receiving tourists.

Posted by
6686 posts

Enric--if the Schengen countries are still debating keeping the borders closed to non-schengen visitors until late September, any summer travel to Europe for US residents is a no-go. And every time people start moving around, there will be a flare-up and a shut down and a flare-up and a shut down until some treatment protocol is found. And there could be a 14 day quarantine for people entering. So, if there's tourism, it will be Europeans. According to the director of a tourist site in France, he expects international tourism to be back in 2022.

Posted by
2494 posts
  • this is an international forum, not just US visitors frequent it. Some comments might apply to some and not to others :)
  • "Having said that, my gut feeling with the information I have (now), it's that if (if!) the curve has in fact been reached..."
  • "...you're still likely to be exposed to supervening situations..."

Update: ... and my answers always attempt to be "generic" so not only the OP benefits from the answer, after all this is a public forum.

Posted by
6686 posts

Nothing indicates that the OP is from within the Schengen countries.

Posted by
408 posts

If the ticket selling websites allow you to buy tickets, yes it would be physically possible to book activities. Given that the tickets are not refundable, you should cancel your trip.

Edit: Add up the cost of 4 tickets for each site you want to see. Can you comfortably afford to loose this amount if travel ends up being disallowed? If so, you may buy the tickets. Otherwise, cancel your trip

I travel solo. But my budget is low compared to 3/4 or more other posters.

My trip to Southern- Central Spain is in October. The Alhambra requires advance tickets. Tickets go on sale about 3 months in advance. Certain other sights require advance tickets. If conditions and/or policies about letting Americans in have not improved, and/or advance tickets are not being sold, I will knowingly miss buying tickets. Certainly, by 4 to 6 weeks in advance, if I can’t buy or missed buying advance bus and/or train tickets and/or tickets to the sights, I will cancel my hostels and hotel, see about refunds for the buses and/or trains, and then I just need to wait to see if the airline cancels my flights. If the airline doesn’t cancel my flights but I don’t have advance tickets, I will not take my plane flights, I will not show up without advance tickets. I will not fly to Spain and if there is too much risk of missing seeing the sights. In that case I will have to manually cancel my plane flights and hopefully I won’t get charged the $200 change fee. My hostels and hotel can be cancelled a week in advance.

The consensus seems to be, we are sh-t out of luck, regarding travel for the rest of 2020; it seems like the authorities probably won’t let us travel and/or the travel industry will not be operating, and/or Americans will be disallowed from entering the European Union and/or Spain;

American Airlines is allowing cancelling of tickets purchased before May 7th, for travel starting through September 30. My trip is October 10.

My mother will be so mortified I will barely be able to stand it, when she finds out about my trip; yeah I know I shouldn’t care but I feel like a defiant or disobediant teenager making the wrong plans behind my mother’s back, even though I am 36 and live on my own.