What to know when canceling or booking new trips

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Posted at 10:15 AM, May 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-12 08:55:13-04

BOISE, Idaho — The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many people to cancel or postpone their spring break or summer getaways, and as states and countries begin easing restrictions, you may be thinking about traveling again.

Dale Dixon with the Better Business Bureau says if you're looking to cancel travel plans, the first thing to do is to go back to the original terms and conditions and be familiar with the agreement you made while booking travel.

"Read the terms and conditions, know where you stand because you signed onto that. In the past, it was really easy to just ignore that stuff. Now more than ever, it's really important to read that, and then call them up and find somebody you can talk to," said Dixon. "Be respectful. That's the biggest thing. It doesn't help to just yell and scream at one of the people taking the phone calls."

Dixon says work through the issue and be prepared to own up to any mistakes you might have made while booking or preparing to cancel a trip. He says many companies are providing extra grace right now and being respectful to one another can help, especially if you're looking to get a refund.

If you're thinking about booking new travel, carefully research cancellation policies before making reservations. Cruise, airline, hotel, Airbnb and other travel-related cancellation policies are rapidly changing because of the pandemic.

"Know what your out is because if you book something and want to go in June or July and you get there and things have changed and travel is restricted, you need to know that you can get out of those tickets," said Dixon. "I wouldn't recommend that you buy something that doesn't have a cancellation policy that doesn't meet your requirements and your needs."

Dixon says you can also consider buying travel insurance, but once again, make sure you know exactly what it covers and what it doesn't. Travel insurance is a great way to receive a full refund if you need to cancel a trip, but not all policies have the same coverage. Dixon says it's critical to read the fine print of any plan you're considering before you buy it.

Meanwhile, BBB is preparing to host a free webinar for the public featuring "Speed of Trust" author Stephen M. R. Covey. Covey will discuss leading businesses through times of crisis at the Speed of Trust. The webinar is open to everyone, but you must register first here. The webinar is happening Thursday, May 14 at 2 p.m.

For more resources on what businesses should know as they navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.