Should I cancel my trip due to the coronavirus crisis? When it will be possible to travel to the USA or Europe? How much does it cost me to cancel a trip? And shall i consider booking a flight as the ticket prices may get cheaper? Here you find all the answers you need to know.
Traveling during the coronavirus crisis
Many countries around the world have imposed travel bans and advisories to stem the spread of coronavirus. Travelers have to face quarantines and most of the affected areas have imposed entry bans for citizens and/or visitors.As long as the coronavirus crisis is going on it is highly recommended to avoid all non-essential international travel as countries continue to restrict travel indefinitely. Also many airlines are suspending flights and even some airports around the globe are closed for a period of time. If you have a chronic medical condition, are an older adult or belong to a „risk group“ you should consider postponing your trip for the time being. For those you still want to travel internationally and don’t want to cancel a booked trip, we recommend to keep an eye on advisories as official advice may change and the situation is moving rapidly. Travelers may have to quarantine when traveling internationally and have to place themselves in self-isolation on their return.
Coronavirus: When will it be possible to travel again?
The current situation makes it nearly impossible to travel. To stop the spread of the Corona virus nearly all airlines around the globe cancelled their flights. Also most borders are shut. Nobody really knows when it will be possible again to fly internationally, because the virus is in charge. A more or less normal travel in summer can be possible – but take that with some caution. Travel will be rebound, just not as quickly and not all at once. There might be many restrictions and you may find yourself in a situation where you’re going to be quarantined upon arrival to your destination and/or when you return home. So if you still want to travel, check if the country, region or city put restrictions on moving around. As many of these restrictions can be announced on very short notice, you should get information before you start your trip. Also check if restaurants, hotels and locations of touristic interest will be open. Many airlines are cancelling flights due to travel restrictions and reduced demand. Cancellations can be sudden and leave you with limited options to travel or return back home. If your trip is several weeks or months away you can wait and see if the situation will change. Right now its too early to predict how the flight situation will be by then. Pay attention to the ongoing situation, check the news and be prepared for the possibility that you may have to change your travel plans.
Coronavirus & Traveling: When will it be safe to travel again?
According to experts it should be safe to travel in at least three months. It could take until July or August for traveling to get back normal. In the worst case it may take longer to fly again. This depends on measurements of different countries around the globe to stop the spreading of COVID-19. If the virus subside in the next two months it could also be sooner to travel international again.
Before traveling is back to normal this three things must happen:
- Level 4 travel advisory must be lifted
- Because of the Coronavirus pandemic governments around the globe issued a warning to avoid international travel.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has to lift restrictions for travel.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has to give the „all clear“
To be on the safe side you should wait till all free rescind its warnings.
Countries which implemented travel bans and restrictions
The European Union
All Schengen area member states have shut their borders to tourists to slow the coronavirus pandemic. Until this period its impossible for most non-EU citizens to entry the EU. Exceptions are made only for people with essential reasons to travel like permanent residents, doctors, diplomats, cross-border workers. Those wo don’t have, should rethink travel plans straight away. Its not clear when the EU will open its borders again for foreign travelers. So for tourists the EU is currently out of bounds.
Also Europe’s normal freedom of movement and travel has been suspended for an unknown time. Most of the internal borders are shut as well as countries decided to lockdown to slow down the coronavirus spread.
The USA has banned the entry of all foreign nationals who travelled to the following countries: Austria, Belgium, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estland, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and Ireland 14 days before their arrival. If a US citizen or permanent US resident have visited high-risk areas, he must be checked in one of the 13 international US airports with enhanced entry screening capabilities.
Also non-essential travel from and to Canada and Mexico is restricted for at least 30 days.
Information about current travel restrictions
The IATA Travel Centre website shows the latest updates on travel restrictions.
Wait with flight cancellations
Even when you already decided to cancel your trip, you shouldn’t be too hasty. As more time passes, airlines and hotels may loosen up their cancellations or change policies so that you get more money back. Its recommended to wait until you are closer to your trip if its long time in the future. Just dont wait until the date of check-in or departure as this is too late to get your money back.
How can I cancel my flight?
First you should check the website of the airline or the online travel agency where you booked the flight to see if there are any special travel waivers. Many airlines allow it to handle your request entirely online. If thats not possible, contact the airline directly to perform your flight cancellation.
Coronavirus and travel insurance
Coronavirus has changed travel insurance. Some companies have stopped selling travel insurance or tightened their coverage to exclude future pandemics like COVID-19. If you want to travel with a travel insurance you should check the policies. Many travel insurance companies to not cover future losses related to coronavirus. This includes also travel bans or similar restrictions related to COVID-19.