It’s no secret that since the onset of the pandemic, travel has changed. The ability to travel has been significantly impacted by border restrictions, quarantine requirements, and travel bans, and many would-be travelers are feeling overwhelmed by the long list of varying and frequently changing travel requirements.

It can be discouraging to attempt traveling in changing conditions, but with the right preparation, you can successfully achieve these important travel goals:

  • Protect yourself and your loved ones when you’re away from home
  • Minimize risk and loss due to travel disruptions
  • Manage travel requirements and restrictions
  • Understand what to do when an emergency does strike

Here are some tips to consider that will make traveling amid flight cancellations, illnesses, and unpredictable changes as stress-free as possible.

Do Your Travel Research

Whether it’s a requirement or updated procedure from your airline, hotel, or the destination itself, knowing what to expect when problems occur is the first step in minimizing travel disruption.

For example, due to the recent Southwest flight cancellations, travelers have seen what airlines will and will not do to help when flights are severely delayed or canceled. As outlined by the U.S. Department of Transportation, airlines are not required by federal law to help stranded passengers by providing hotel reservations, meals, or even general compensation for a canceled or delayed flight. They do, however, owe you a refund for unused transportation if you decide to forego your trip as a result of your cancellation or delay. However, having a backup plan in mind, especially if you are scheduled to be on multiple flights to get you to your destination, is a good idea. With this in mind, researching other options—like a travel insurance plan with travel delay, trip interruption, and missed connection coverage—makes facing flight changes more bearable.

Plan Early

One of the best and simplest ways to prevent a mishap is to plan in advance. Doing so ensures you have what you need so you can focus on a relaxing getaway.

  • Especially today, getting a passport updated or issued new can take a long time. If you don’t leave yourself enough time, you may find you can no longer take your international vacation because you are still waiting for a passport.
  • Typically, it takes three to five weeks for a U.S. visa to be processed for approval. Some Seven Corners customers have noted a longer timeline recently due to backups caused by the pandemic. Particularly wise for student travelers, applying for visas early in the planning process will solidify plans more quickly.
  • No matter the time or conditions, it is helpful to make flight, hotel, and entertainment reservations well before a trip so that you can stay ahead of any unexpected or necessary changes. You may find doing so will provide more opportunities for reimbursement or other compensation if plans are changed before a reservation’s effective date.

Stay Updated

Changes can be made to an itinerary at any point and without your control. With the risks of COVID-19 and its resulting travel impacts still pending, you will benefit from regularly checking in with your carriers and your destination.

The United States Department of State website gives current, essential information on necessary travel documents, international travel status, and emergency alerts. Checking frequently, leading up to and even during a trip, is an excellent way to stay informed.

Buy Travel Insurance

Now more than ever, it is vital for travelers to be insured before leaving home to protect trip costs, medical expenses, and personal belongings against uncertainty. Certain destinations are even asking visitors to show proof of travel insurance coverage upon entry. Purchasing travel coverage from an expert travel insurance provider will give you ultimate protection and access to services you won’t find elsewhere.

According to AAA, 31% of surveyed U.S. travelers are more likely to purchase travel insurance for upcoming trips, due mainly to the pandemic. At Seven Corners, we have seen an increase in awareness of the need for quality travel coverage throughout the pandemic. The early stages of the pandemic resulted in a 1000% increase in contacts from customers who were concerned about current or upcoming trips. Today, most customers still inquire about COVID-19 coverage and are seeking maximum protection so they can return to travel easily and safely.

So, why is purchasing travel insurance from a provider important?

  • U.S. health care providers often will offer little or no protection for those traveling outside of the country. If you are planning an international trip, travel medical insurance protects you with access to 24/7 travel assistance and medical expense coverage if you become ill or injured while traveling. Whether you need help locating a medical provider, need to be evacuated home, or need to extend your stay due to a medical reason, travel insurance can help.
  • Sure, you could purchase your insurance from your airline, cruise line, tour agency, or hotel; however, you may run into roadblocks. These providers likely will only reimburse you to a certain extent and may not offer many solutions for interrupted plans.

A trusted travel insurance provider will offer a more expansive set of benefits, a wider range of coverage, and a team of experts ready to help you navigate travel difficulties. While it may seem easy to tack insurance on to the cost of your flight, it is worthwhile to research comprehensive travel insurance plans to get the most protection.

  • Travel insurance offers reimbursement for trip cancellations, interruptions, and delays, if a trip is canceled or delayed for a listed covered reason. These types of benefits can help with reasonable expenses such as meals, local transportation, lodging, additional transportation to catch up to a departed tour or cruise, and even unused prepaid, nonrefundable trip payments if you utilize the benefit due to a covered reason stated in the policy. Travel insurance also protects your baggage and personal effects for loss, damage, and theft.
  • Additionally, many providers, like Seven Corners, allow you to customize your plan with optional benefits to achieve maximum protection for you and those traveling with you.

Traveling can seem like a hassle with today’s news highlighting mass delays, changing destination restrictions, and requirements for domestic and international trips. With careful planning, you can minimize your stress and still enjoy a trip alone or with loved ones. Follow these steps and you will be well equipped to tackle your next big getaway.