Spring break is almost here, and with coronavirus vaccinations ramping up, many are eager to make time for a quick spring break getaway. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) reminds potential travelers that there are multiple risks associated with travel, whether pandemic-related or not, and advises consumers to make informed decisions when planning a trip.
“Apart from being aware of scams, there are many new rules and other factors to consider when traveling this year,” said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East. Texas. “Be proactive and flexible to have the best possible experience.”
If you are planning a getaway in the near future, BBB recommends the following tips to minimize risk.
Understand the risks and delay plans if possible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points out that “COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are extremely high in the United States.” Because travel increases your risk of infection, the CDC recommends delaying unnecessary travel plans to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Additionally, avoid large gatherings or events 14 days before your trip, and if anyone in your household or at your travel destination is at high risk of infection, all household members should act as if they are also at increased risk of infection.
Research travel restrictions. Travel restrictions vary by state and country and are constantly changing. Visit the US State Department websiteKnow before you goand the CDC Trip Planner for up-to-date information on travel restrictions related to COVID-19 as you plan your trip and as your travel dates approach.
Prepare a “pandemic bag”. Conde Nast Traveler recommends stocking up on pandemic essentials before your trip. Carry a bag with COVID-19 prevention staples, including hand sanitizer, face masks, disinfectant wipes, health insurance cards, thermometer, latex gloves (for single use in public areas ) and hand soap. Also bring drinks and snacks. to avoid unnecessary stops in public places.
Book accommodations that make it easy to follow COVID-19 guidelines. Business Intern recommend speaking with the hotel or host before making a reservation. Find out about the precautions and sanitary measures they take between guests. Ask about shared facilities, such as gyms, swimming pools, spas and restaurants. Many of these facilities may be unavailable due to the pandemic.
Make flexible travel plans. Flexibility is essential during the pandemic. Be prepared to pay extra for fully refundable flights, car rentals and accommodations. Your plans may change at the last minute due to an unforeseen lockdown or infection.
Pay with a credit card. Paying with a credit card provides additional protection in the event of a problem with the travel reservation.
Beware of travel scams. In today’s environment, many great travel deals are available. Visit bbb.org to verify a company’s information before making payment. Beware of emails, social media posts, websites or text messages offering travel prices that are too good to be true. Learn more about travel scams here.
Consider travel insurance. CNBC reminds travelers that it is a good idea to have travel insurance, but it may not cover all situations. Read the fine print or work with a travel agent to understand how your policy works. Most travel insurance covers medical expenses if you become ill while traveling or the cost of your trip if you have to cancel due to illness, but may not cover the cost of your trip if you have to cancel because a state or city goes into unexpected lockdown. Read BBB’s tips for buying travel insurance.
About BBB:For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has helped people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2020, people turned to BBB over 220 million times for BBB business profiles on 6.2 million businesses and charity reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at BBB.org. The International Association of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for local independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico. BBB Serving Central East Texas was founded in 1985 and serves 19 counties in East Texas.