With the rapid spread of the Omicron type, COVID-19 continues to disrupt travel this winter.
Whether you or a travel companion tested positive before a scheduled trip or decided to postpone until numbers become more manageable, if you weren’t able to take the vacation you had planned So you are not alone. Still, people expect better travel opportunities later in 2022.
But is it worth it to book a trip now for later in the year? Or is it better to wait and see how things develop in the coming months? Below, travel experts share what you need to know before making a purchase:
Look no further for great deals.
“If you plan to travel in spring or summer 2022, it would be wise to start looking at prices now,” said Willis Orlando, senior product operations specialist at Scotts Cheap Flights.
He said that there are two reasons for this recommendation. The first is that – pandemic or not – you’re likely to get good deals if you book your peak travel season trips during the opposite season.
“That’s because, like other seasonal products like swimsuits or grills, as you approach summer, demand increases dramatically, and prices go right along with it,” he said. “Conversely, huge discounts can be found for the discerning consumer who knows how to be proactive and looks for those cheap summer flights ahead of time. For example, just this morning we booked a flight from New York City to Madrid, Spain for $213. roundtrip flights, the availability of which was in August. You can be absolutely sure that once we get to May, it will be very difficult to do these kinds of deals.”
Beyond that rule of thumb, Orlando believes the current turmoil with flight cancellations and changes now could become a prime opportunity to book later in 2022.
“In general, whenever we’ve seen new COVID surges or major air travel disruptions, it hasn’t had a negative impact on the interest of travel,” he explained. “When travel interest wanes, airlines typically become more aggressive in pulling back passengers, especially with steep discounts for popular vacation destinations.”
Choose flexible options.
Most of the major air carriers have implemented much more flexible change and cancellation policies, which could be helpful as we continue to navigate the unpredictable twists and turns of the pandemic.
“If you eventually need to change your plans, you can rest assured that you can make the change without paying any pesky $200 (or more) fees,” said Zach Griff, senior reporter for The Points Guy.
He noted that airlines have made it more affordable to purchase a fully refundable ticket, with the option to cancel at any time and receive a refund through your original payment form.
“This means that if you decide to cancel your flight, you will get the money back on your credit card – without worrying about vouchers with a strict expiration policy. In some cases, purchases can be as low as $20 It is,” said Griff. “In those cases, it certainly makes sense to splurge for a fully refundable ticket.”
Even if you don’t buy the more flexible ticket options, get familiar with your rights as a passenger in the event of a flight cancellation by the airline.
Keep an eye on the fall in prices.
Even if you find a good deal and book it, you may notice later that the ticket price has dropped. But there’s good news — if you’ve booked a refundable ticket, you may qualify for that new reduced price thanks to the airline’s flexible change policies.
“For these tickets, you have the ability to change the date, time, or location of your travel prior to departure,” said Laurie Garrow, professor and chair of civil engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Airline research organization AGIFORS.
“This means that if you buy an exchangeable ticket now, but prices drop, you can exchange it for a lower-priced ticket at no charge and for another trip ‘extra’. You can apply ‘savings’ that you want to take,” she explained.
So let’s say you book a flight for $300, but then find out that the price later drops to $200. Depending on the air carrier, these flexible policies may allow you to reevaluate the ticket and receive an airline credit for the difference of $100.
Look into insurance.
If you are planning a big trip later in 2022, you may want to look into your travel insurance options and consider buying coverage for your flight and other aspects of your trip.
“For some airlines, including Delta, you have the option of purchasing this insurance when you purchase a ticket,” Garro said. “This insurance generally covers the costs associated with causes related to COVID. For example, if you are traveling internationally and test positive before your flight home and are unable to board your flight, insurance will cover your accommodation expenses while you were in quarantine and medical care you may need. ,
When considering options, be sure to read the fine print and check to see if your credit card or other form of insurance has already provided you with travel protection.
Pay attention to schedule changes – and news.
“One thing to note about booking summer travel and beyond: Airlines are still making schedule adjustments in the weeks leading up to departures,” Griff said. “This means that the flight you are booking today may not operate according to the exact timetable you are looking for.”
With all the changes airlines have made to adapt to the evolving pandemic situation (and its impact on travel demand, staffing, etc.), it is not uncommon to change your itinerary if you book your flights in advance. Be sure to pay attention to email updates and monitor your reservation for any changes the airline may make to that effect time.
And as always, remember that COVID-19 may continue to disrupt travel plans until 2022. Pay attention to news reports and public health guideline changes that may affect your travel, especially if you are traveling to a foreign country.
The pandemic doesn’t mean you have to stop dreaming and planning, but you need to be prepared to make favorable and wise decisions regarding health and safety.