When it comes to making a travel budget, it’s all about the spreadsheet for Kathy Lopez. When she started planning a future trip to Europe with her friends, she put every expense into Microsoft Excel to determine how much the month-long adventure would cost.
“We’re going to save a lot of money and planning time on the road,” says Lopez, a retired city manager from Prescott, Ariz.
If your eyes glazed over when you saw the word “spreadsheet,” please keep reading. Travel companies don’t want you to make a budget. They’d prefer that you mindlessly swipe your credit card at the ticket counter, the front desk, the restaurant. You’ll spend more, and you could end up in debt.
Read more “Don’t overspend on vacation! Here’s how to make a travel budget”
Travel companies are taking advantage of you during the pandemic. At least that’s what travelers claim. They say airlines, cruise lines and hotels are profiting from the COVID-19 outbreak.
And sometimes they’re right.
No, it’s not all travel companies. Most of them have done the right thing, issuing refunds and delivering terrific customer service as the world locked down. But a few pandemic predators have found ways to enrich themselves by exploiting gray areas in their contracts or creating rigid new refund rules.
Read more “How travel companies are taking advantage of you during the pandemic”
Travel is a little scary. But how bad is the fear of travel right now? It’s so bad that even people in the travel industry are staying home.
Annie Gofus, a Washington, D.C., travel agent who founded the site Wunderbird, isn’t going anywhere. She’s worried not just for her own safety, but also for that of her customers.
“I’m afraid of a client falling ill while traveling, or spreading coronavirus while on vacation,” she says. “As eager as I am to start planning travel again, I don’t think I’ll be totally confident until we have a safe vaccine for covid-19.”
Read more “How to overcome the fear of travel after the pandemic”
Airport screenings are different after the pandemic. But not as different as Gene SirLouis expected. And he’d flown several times since the covid-19 outbreak.
There were “no health questions, no thermal scans — nothing,” says SirLouis, a manufacturer’s representative from Washington, D.C.
That, at least, was the case until he landed in Austin recently. There, passengers whose final destination was in Texas had to fill out a form for self-quarantining, he recalls. The rest were free to go.
“The TSA also asked to see the inside of my mask,” he says. “That was a first.”
Read more “Airport screenings are different since the pandemic. Here’s how they’ve changed”
Here’s a question that’s bound to come up more frequently as air travel picks up: Should I get a full refund if I’m too sick to fly?
It’s a question consumer advocates are raising with new urgency, too. They’re fighting for regulations that would require airlines to offer full refunds to sick passengers.
Airline policies are unfairly rigid when it comes to infectious diseases. Unless you bought a fully refundable ticket, carriers will charge a change fee and any applicable fare differential if you decide that you’re too sick to fly. And if you bought a “basic” economy ticket and can’t fly, you’re out of luck — and out the cost of the ticket.
Read more “Can I get a full refund if I’m too sick to fly?”