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Monthly Archives

April 2020

  • Does the Corona Virus Affect Travel?

    Is Covid-19 affecting travel?

    The answer is yes. Covid-19 is affecting just about everyone and everything in some way, shape, or form.

    At this point, I’m sure you noticed this already. Up to date, (04/02/2020) there are a total of 1,014,673 cases world wide and counting. The good news though, about 4x the people recovered compared to the number who had unfortunately passed. Over 210,000 people recovered from the Covid-19 virus, and just under 53,000 people have passed away. Corona is spread through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, or through objects that the infected person has touched.

    covid-19

    If you’re like me and can’t sit still, especially inside, try to get back to the basics and go for a hike. (if you can) When I get stressed out from being cooped up I go for a hike or mountain bike ride with my dog “Adventure Buddy”. After our ride or hike, no matter how bad or good things really may be, it always seem to lean more towards the good side of things. Most of us have a mandated “stay at home” order, and others may be volunteering to stay at home. While a lot of businesses are forced to close their doors and tempirarily lay off employees, this makes for a good time to get back to your roots.

    Spend time to build yourself and self reflect. What are you doing in your life that makes you happy? What are you doing that could use more practice? Are you eating well and exercising enough? Although this isn’t the best time for everyone, maybe it can be. With every negative comes a positive, and the positives can easily outweigh the negatives. It all depends on the view you choose to look at what is presented to you.

    Have you had time to step back from work or life in general and audit yourself? Maybe you have been working too much and this virus is giving you the opportunity to spend more time getting closer to your loved ones or even yourself. Sometimes life gives you opportunities that at first glance look like a negative. You have to look closely and put the pieces of the puzzle together to understand the positives that life is presenting to you. This is simply the way of the universe.

    covid-19

    Precautions:

    • Obviously, washing your hands is always a good idea to prevent bad germs. During this time it’s an even better idea. If you can find hand sanitizer in a whole in the wall shop that hasn’t been scavenged, grab a bottle. Just please remember to be courteous and only take what you need. Don’t be that guy or gal to empty the shelf.
    • Wipe down any surfaces that are being touched often in your workplace or home with disinfectant.
    • Social distancing and self-isolation is important. This doesn’t mean lock yourself in a closet and hide, it just means to be mindful of keeping a safe distance. The new target is to stay at least 6′ away from another person to prevent the spread.
    • Some people may consider this an extremem measure, but better safe than sorry. Wear a face mask and gloves. I’m sure you have seen this popping up more and more. It almost feels like we are in an apocalypse movie, but the more precautions

      we take, the faster we can get back to living our normal lives.

    • You should be doing this anyway, but cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Some germs can travel up to 10′ on a single cough or sneeze.

    covid-19

    Will airlines refund tickets due to Corona-virus?

    What many airlines are doing is allowing travelers to cancel their flights and basically set aside that money to be used on a flight at a later date—and thankfully, you don’t have to book that flight now (wh

    ich is good because it’s hard to know exactly h

    ow this pandemic is going to play out at this point). The main U.S. carriers (United, American, and Delta) are currently offering that flexibility for flights that were scheduled to depart through the end May.

    When it comes to actual refunds, the policies vary by airline.

    American Airlines: Flights booked on American prior to March 1, 2020, for travel through May 31, 2020, can be rebooked without change fees; flights booked during the month of March for travel through January 30, 2021, can also be canceled and changed without a change fee.

    The airline is encouraging those who don’t plan to travel anytime soon to simply cancel their flight online, and then rebook at a later date as it is currently swamped with requests. When you’re ready to rebook, call the reservations department and be prepared to give them your 13-digit ticket number and 6-character confirmation number.

    If a flight was canceled by American Airlines (either due to new travel restrictions or capacity reductions), American said it will send affected passengers an email and they can either rebook the trip or request a refund for the remaining ticket value and any optional fees.

    United Airlines: If you booked a flight with United between March 3 and March 31, 2020, you can change it for free—one time—for travel that takes place within the next year. Any flights bo

    oked prior to March 3 (regardless of whether they are domestic or international) with original travel dates through May 31, 2020, can be canceled and rebooked later with no change fees.

    With regards to flight cancellations that have resulted from the numerous travel bans and restrictions that have been put in place due to Corona-virus, United said that any customers (including residents from other countries), whose international travel has been disrupted by more than six hours, or if the flight was canceled due to government restrictions, will get a travel credit equal to the value of their ticket that is good for up to 12 months from the time of purchase (not from the time the flight was canceled). If the customer chooses not to use the credit, they will receive a cash refund at the end of that 12-month period.

    Delta Air Lines: Any De

    lta ticket for domestic or international travel in March,

     April or May can be canceled and rebooked without a fee for travel that takes place up until December 31, 2020. For flights canceled by Delta, the airline has said it will contact passengers with additional information. We haven’t been able to find out much beyond that.

    JetBlue: Customers who were due to travel with JetBlue through April 30, 2020, can cancel and bank the funds for a future flight up to one year from the date the future flight credit was issued.

    Southwest Airlines: Southwest hasn’t changed its policy and that’s because its policy was already pretty lenient. The carrier has tier fares that include refunds (Business Select and Anytime) and a tier fare (Wanna Get Away) that doesn’t include refunds. Those remain the same. But regardless of the type of ticket purchased, it can be canceled sans fee for a future travel credit for up to a year from the original date of purchase.

    Alaska Airlines: Similar to other U.S. carriers, Alaska flights purchased on or before February 26, 2020, for travel that was originally scheduled to take place through the end of May can be canceled, the money set aside in an Alaska account and the flight rescheduled for anytime until February 28, 2021. Any tickets purchased between February 27 and March 30, 2020, for travel anytime through February 28, 2020, can also be changed with no fee.

    British Airways: The U.K. carrier is allowing customers who have booked or who book new flights between March 3 and May 31, 2020, to change those flights for free—and any existing bookings for departures through May 31, 2020, can be changed without a fee as well.

    Air France: The French airline is offering a travel voucher for flights that were scheduled to depart through May 31, 2020, which will be valid for one year on any Air France, KLM, Delta Air Lines, and Vir

    gin Atlantic flights.

     

    How are Inclusive Excursions, Expedia, Priceline, and other online agencies handling Corona-virus refunds?

    Online travel agencies such as Inclusive Excursions, Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, and Priceline serve as “middlemen” between travelers and travel suppliers. They have different working relationships with all the suppliers on their sites, which can complicate things a bit.

    For instance, Inclusive Excursions, Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity can help change or cancel reservations for some of the air carriers they sell tickets for, but not all of them. For the ones with which they lack that ability, customers will have to work directly with the airline. But the bottom line is: The airline’s policy will be the policy that customers of Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity will have to work with.

    Priceline advises its customers that “if your airline does not allow you to cancel or change your flight, we are not able to help you at this time.” The travel booking site offers a very comprehensive contact list, including websites and phone numbers, for all its partner airlines.

    On the hotels front, Expedia, Travelocity, and Orbitz have stated that for hotels booked in the following destinations by people who are not a resident of these countries, they are eligible for a full refund: China, Hong Kong, Macau; South Korea; Israel; Marshall Islands; El Salvador; Denmark and Slovakia; Czech Republic, Oman and India; Poland; Cyprus; Ukraine; and Italy. They advise customers to “check back often as destinations are continually [being] added based on changing restrictions.”

    Corona-virus refunds for hotels and vacation rentals

    Hotels have always been pretty flexible when it comes to cha

    nging and canceling reservations, but in the wake of the Corona-virus pandemic, they are being even more so.

    Marriott International: Marriott is allowing all guests at all of its more than 7,300 properties around the world with existing reservations, for any upcoming stay regardless of the date and regardless of whether the original rate had some restrictions, to change or cancel without a charge up to 24 hours prior to arrival—here’s the important thing to note—as long as the change or cancellation is made by April 30, 2020. For those who make new reservations now through April 30, 2020, they will be allowed to change or cancel at no charge up to 24 hours before arrival, regardless of the date of stay.

    Hilton: For guests who have booked stays that were scheduled to begin prior to April 30 at any of Hilton’s more than 6,100 global properties, the change fee is being waived and the company is offering full refunds for all existin

    g reservations (including those described as “non-cancellable”) for stays scheduled to begin prior to April 30, 2020, up to 24 hours before arrival. New reservations booked between now and April 30, 2020 for any future arrival date, can be changed or canceled at no charge up to 24 hours before arrival.

    Accor: The 5,000-hotel Accor hasn’t offered too much detail on its Corona-virus-related change and cancellation policies other than to say that it has advised all of its hotels to adopt flexible change and cancellation conditions for travelers with new or existing bookings through April 30, 2020.

    Intercontinental Hotel Group: IHG has waived cancellation fees for existing and new bookings at all of its hotels the world over for stays between March 9 and April 30, 2020. It is handling groups and meeting bookings on a case-by-case basis. For stays beyond April 30, the company reminds customers that there is flexibility already built into some of its rates—in other words, if ever there was a time to book the slightly higher rate with more options, now would be the time to do so.

    Airbnb: Vacation rental powerhouse Airbnb recently issued an upda

    ted global change and cancellation policy. Reservations for stays and experiences made on or before March 14, 2020, with a check-in date between March 14, 2020 and April 14, 2020, can be canceled for a full refund by guests, and hosts can cancel without a charge or impact to their Superhost status (and Airbnb will refund all service fees). Reservations made on or before March 14 with a check-in date after April 14 as well as any reservations made after March 14, 2020, will not be covered unless the guest or host has contracted COVID-19. Otherwise, the host’s standard cancellation policy will apply.

    Similar to the airlines, hotels are being gracious about bookings through the end of April. Beyond that it’s not clear how generous they will be.

    What are tour operators’ policies for Corona-virus changes and refunds?

    Given the global health crisis that the Corona-virus pandemic presents, most reputable tour operators have gone ahead and proactively canceled a good portion of their upcoming itineraries (similar to w

    hat the cruise lines did—see below). Here are some examples.

    Tauck: Long-time tour provider Tauck has canceled its scheduled tours and cruises from March 17, 2020, through April 14, 2020—and for those tours it will refund the affected guests. For tours that were scheduled to take place between April 14, 2020 and June 30, 2020, guests can cancel and received a future travel credit for any tour in 2020 or 2021 (but airline change fees will not be covered).

    Abercrombie & Kent: Luxury tour operator Abercrombie & Kent has temporarily suspended ground operations globally from March 17 to April 30, 2020 (with the exception of May trips to China, which remain canceled). A&K is offering guests on those journeys a future tour credit (that will include a 10 percent discount) for any trip to be used within 12 months of the original departure date.

    Intrepid Travel: Global tour company Intrepid Tr

    avel has also suspended its tours from March 16 to April 30, 2020. For those tours, travelers will receive a 110 percent future tour credit that they can put towards any itinerary up until April 30, 2022. For tours departing May 1, 2020, and beyond, Intrepid said they are continuing as planned at this point, but that if customers choose to cancel they can do so and receive a credit for whatever they had paid to be used by April 30, 2022.

    What about cruises?

    On March 14, the majority of the world’s cruise lines agreed to suspend cruise ship operations from U.S. ports for 30 days in response to the global coronavirus pandemic.

    Affected customers are being offered anywhere between a 100 percent and 200 percent future cruise credit.

    How travel advisors can help

    During a complicated and overwhelming global crisis such as the Corona-virus pandemic, a travel advisor can serve as a great ally. While travel advisors can’t force travel suppliers to refund their clients, they typically have stronger relationships with suppliers and thus more sway. They will be better able to help you navigate through the options for changing your trip plans. And as a travel professional (who likely has dealt with numerous crises in the past), they can offer their advice and the insights from their myriad of contacts in the industry and from their own personal experience.

    Can travel insurance help you get a refund?

    With regards to the current Corona-virus crisis, travel insurance providers consider it to be a known event as of January 21, 2020 (or thereabouts, the date can change slightly depending on the provider, but usually falls sometime between January 21 and January 27, 2020). Travel insurance purchased before that date will cover disruptions resulting from the outbreak, but any travel insurance purchased after that date will not.

    An exception to that is Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) cove

    rage, an optional upgrade to a travel insurance policy that covers cancellations for reasons not otherwise covered by a standard travel insurance “such as fear of traveling due to Corona-virus or simply not wanting to travel to a country that may be affected,” said Megan Moncrief, chief marketing officer for travel insurance search and review site Squaremouth.

    There are some limitations, however. The CFAR upgrade has to be purchased within 14 to 21 days of making the initial trip deposit and it will reimburse travelers for up to 75 percent of their trip cost—for a price. Cancel For Any Reason coverage typically costs between 5 and 10 percent of the total trip cost.

    -Info courtesy of AFAR. By Michelle Baran

    03.23.20

    What are the latest Cornoa-virus numbers?

    covid-19

    04/02/2020
    Location Confirmed Recovered Deaths

    Worldwide

    Worldwide
    1,076,017
    225,335
    58,004

    United States

    United States
    265,001
    11,983
    6,766

    Italy

    Italy
    119,827
    19,758
    14,681

    Spain

    Spain
    117,710
    30,513
    11,009

    Germany

    Germany
    89,126
    13,597
    1,198

    China

    China
    81,620
    76,571
    3,322

    France

    France
    58,417
    10,935
    5,377

    Iran

    Iran
    53,183
    17,935
    3,294

    United Kingdom

    United Kingdom
    38,168
    191
    3,605

    Turkey

    Turkey
    20,921
    484
    425

    Switzerland

    Switzerland
    19,702
    5,657
    604

    Belgium

    Belgium
    16,770
    2,872
    1,143

    Netherlands

    Netherlands
    15,723
    1,487

    Canada

    Canada
    12,360
    2,177
    178

    Austria

    Austria
    11,464
    2,022
    168

    South Korea

    South Korea
    10,062
    6,021
    174

    Portugal

    Portugal
    9,886
    68
    246

    Brazil

    Brazil
    8,066
    127
    327

    Israel

    Israel
    7,428
    403
    39

    Sweden

    Sweden
    6,122
    106
    351

    Australia

    Australia
    5,358
    636
    28

    Norway

    Norway
    5,296
    54

    Ireland

    Ireland
    4,273
    10
    120

    Russia

    Russia
    4,149
    281
    34

    Czechia

    Czechia
    4,091
    72
    53

    Denmark

    Denmark
    3,757
    1,093
    139

    Chile

    Chile
    3,737
    427
    22

    Ecuador

    Ecuador
    3,368
    65
    145

    Malaysia

    Malaysia
    3,333
    827
    53

    Poland

    Poland
    3,266
    56
    65

    Romania

    Romania
    3,183
    283
    133

    Philippines

    Philippines
    3,018
    52
    136

    Japan

    Japan
    2,617
    472
    63

    Luxembourg

    Luxembourg
    2,612
    80
    31

    India

    India
    2,547
    163
    62

    Pakistan

    Pakistan
    2,458
    126
    35

    Saudi Arabia

    Saudi Arabia
    2,039
    351
    25

    Indonesia

    Indonesia
    1,986
    134
    181

    Thailand

    Thailand
    1,978
    581
    19

    Greece

    Greece
    1,613
    53
    59

    Finland

    Finland
    1,608
    19

    Mexico

    Mexico
    1,510
    634
    50

    South Africa

    South Africa
    1,505
    31
    9

    Dominican Republic

    Dominican Republic
    1,488
    16
    68

    Panama

    Panama
    1,475
    10
    37

    Peru

    Peru
    1,414
    537
    55

    Iceland

    Iceland
    1,364
    336
    4

    Argentina

    Argentina
    1,265
    248
    36

    Algeria

    Algeria
    1,171
    62
    105

    Serbia

    Serbia
    1,171
    54
    31

    Colombia

    Colombia
    1,161
    55
    19

    Singapore

    Singapore
    1,114
    282
    5

    Croatia

    Croatia
    1,079
    92
    8

    Qatar

    Qatar
    1,075
    93
    3

    United Arab Emirates

    United Arab Emirates
    1,024
    96
    8

    Egypt

    Egypt
    986
    216
    66

    Estonia

    Estonia
    961
    48
    12

    Ukraine

    Ukraine
    942
    19
    23

    Slovenia

    Slovenia
    934
    10
    20

    Hong Kong

    Hong Kong
    846
    172
    4

    Iraq

    Iraq
    820
    226
    54

    New Zealand

    New Zealand
    772
    103
    1

    Morocco

    Morocco
    761
    56
    47

    Armenia

    Armenia
    736
    43
    7

    Lithuania

    Lithuania
    696
    7
    9

    Bahrain

    Bahrain
    672
    382
    4

    Hungary

    Hungary
    623
    43
    26

    Moldova

    Moldova
    591
    26
    8

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Bosnia and Herzegovina
    575
    27
    17

    Lebanon

    Lebanon
    508
    50
    17

    Tunisia

    Tunisia
    495
    5
    18

    Latvia

    Latvia
    493
    1
    1

    Bulgaria

    Bulgaria
    485
    30
    14

    Kazakhstan

    Kazakhstan
    464
    29
    3

    Slovakia

    Slovakia
    450
    7
    1

    Azerbaijan

    Azerbaijan
    443
    32
    5

    Andorra

    Andorra
    439
    16
    16

    North Macedonia

    North Macedonia
    430
    20
    12

    Kuwait

    Kuwait
    417
    82
    0

    Costa Rica

    Costa Rica
    396
    6
    2

    Cyprus

    Cyprus
    391
    18
    10

    Uruguay

    Uruguay
    369
    68
    4

    Belarus

    Belarus
    351
    46
    4

    Taiwan

    Taiwan
    348
    50
    5
    Réunion
    321
    40
    0

    Jordan

    Jordan
    310
    58
    5

    Cameroon

    Cameroon
    306
    10
    8

    Albania

    Albania
    304
    89
    16

    Burkina Faso

    Burkina Faso
    302
    50
    16

    Afghanistan

    Afghanistan
    273
    10
    6

    Cuba

    Cuba
    267
    13
    6

    Oman

    Oman
    252
    57
    1

    San Marino

    San Marino
    251
    26
    32

    Vietnam

    Vietnam
    237
    85
    0

    Honduras

    Honduras
    222
    3
    15

    Uzbekistan

    Uzbekistan
    221
    25
    2

    Senegal

    Senegal
    207
    66
    1

    Ghana

    Ghana
    205
    31
    5

    Malta

    Malta
    202
    2
    0

    Côte d'Ivoire

    Côte d’Ivoire
    194
    9
    1

    Palestine

    Palestine
    193
    21
    1

    Nigeria

    Nigeria
    190
    20
    2

    Mauritius

    Mauritius
    186
    0
    7

    Faroe Islands

    Faroe Islands
    179
    91
    0

    Montenegro

    Montenegro
    160
    0
    2

    Sri Lanka

    Sri Lanka
    159
    24
    4

    Georgia

    Georgia
    155
    27
    0

    Venezuela

    Venezuela
    146
    43
    5

    Martinique

    Martinique
    138
    27
    3

    Brunei

    Brunei
    134
    65
    1

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Democratic Republic of the Congo
    134
    3
    13

    Bolivia

    Bolivia
    132
    1
    9

    Guadeloupe

    Guadeloupe
    130
    29
    7

    Kyrgyzstan

    Kyrgyzstan
    130
    5
    1

    Mayotte

    Mayotte
    128
    10
    2

    Kosovo

    Kosovo
    125
    10
    1

    Kenya

    Kenya
    122
    4
    4

    Jersey

    Jersey
    118
    2

    Cambodia

    Cambodia
    114
    35
    0

    Guernsey

    Guernsey
    114
    13
    2
    Isle of Man
    114
    1

    Trinidad and Tobago

    Trinidad and Tobago
    96
    1
    6

    Paraguay

    Paraguay
    92
    4
    3

    Rwanda

    Rwanda
    89
    0
    0

    Gibraltar

    Gibraltar
    88
    46
    0
    Northern Cyprus
    77
    29
    2

    Niger

    Niger
    74
    0
    5

    Guinea

    Guinea
    73
    0
    0

    Liechtenstein

    Liechtenstein
    72
    0
    0

    Madagascar

    Madagascar
    70
    0
    0

    Bangladesh

    Bangladesh
    61
    26
    6

    Aruba

    Aruba
    60
    1
    0

    Monaco

    Monaco
    55
    2
    1

    French Guiana

    French Guiana
    51
    0
    0

    Jamaica

    Jamaica
    47
    2
    3

    Barbados

    Barbados
    46
    0
    0

    Guatemala

    Guatemala
    46
    12
    1

    Uganda

    Uganda
    45
    0
    0

    Macao

    Macao
    42
    10
    0

    El Salvador

    El Salvador
    41
    0
    2

    Djibouti

    Djibouti
    40
    0
    0

    Togo

    Togo
    40
    17
    3

    Mali

    Mali
    39
    0
    3

    Zambia

    Zambia
    39
    1
    1

    French Polynesia

    French Polynesia
    37
    1
    0

    Bermuda

    Bermuda
    35
    11
    0

    Ethiopia

    Ethiopia
    35
    3
    0

    Cayman Islands

    Cayman Islands
    28
    1

    The Bahamas

    The Bahamas
    24
    0
    1
    Sint Maarten
    23
    3
    2

    Eritrea

    Eritrea
    22
    0
    0

    Republic of the Congo

    Republic of the Congo
    22
    0
    2
    Saint Martin
    22
    2
    2

    Myanmar (Burma)

    Myanmar (Burma)
    20
    0
    1

    Tanzania

    Tanzania
    20
    2
    1

    Guyana

    Guyana
    19
    0
    4

    Maldives

    Maldives
    19
    13
    0

    Gabon

    Gabon
    18
    0
    1

    New Caledonia

    New Caledonia
    18
    1
    0

    Benin

    Benin
    16
    2
    0

    Equatorial Guinea

    Equatorial Guinea
    16
    1
    0

    Syria

    Syria
    16
    0
    2

    Haiti

    Haiti
    15
    0
    0

    Mongolia

    Mongolia
    14
    2
    0

    Namibia

    Namibia
    14
    2
    0

    Saint Lucia

    Saint Lucia
    13
    0
    0

    Dominica

    Dominica
    12
    0
    0
    Curaçao
    11
    2
    1

    Greenland

    Greenland
    10
    3
    0

    Grenada

    Grenada
    10
    0
    0

    Laos

    Laos
    10
    0
    0

    Libya

    Libya
    10
    1
    0

    Mozambique

    Mozambique
    10
    0
    0

    Seychelles

    Seychelles
    10
    0
    0

    Sudan

    Sudan
    10
    2
    2

    Suriname

    Suriname
    10
    0
    0

    Antigua and Barbuda

    Antigua and Barbuda
    9
    0
    0

    Eswatini

    Eswatini
    9
    0
    0

    Guinea-Bissau

    Guinea-Bissau
    9
    0
    0

    Zimbabwe

    Zimbabwe
    9
    0
    1

    Angola

    Angola
    8
    1
    2

    Central African Republic

    Central African Republic
    8
    0
    0

    Saint Kitts and Nevis

    Saint Kitts and Nevis
    8
    0
    0
    Åland Islands
    8
    0
    0

    Chad

    Chad
    7
    0
    0

    Fiji

    Fiji
    7
    0
    0

    Liberia

    Liberia
    7
    0
    0

    Somalia

    Somalia
    7
    1
    0

    Vatican City

    Vatican City
    7
    0

    Cape Verde

    Cape Verde
    6
    0
    1

    Mauritania

    Mauritania
    6
    2
    1

    Nepal

    Nepal
    6
    1
    0
    Saint Barthélemy
    6
    1
    0

    Bhutan

    Bhutan
    5
    0
    0

    Montserrat

    Montserrat
    5
    0
    0
    Turks and Caicos Islands
    5
    0
    0

    Botswana

    Botswana
    4
    0
    1

    Nicaragua

    Nicaragua
    4
    0
    1

    The Gambia

    The Gambia
    4
    0
    1

    Anguilla

    Anguilla
    3
    0
    0

    Belize

    Belize
    3
    0
    0
    British Virgin Islands
    3
    0
    0

    Burundi

    Burundi
    3
    0
    0

    Malawi

    Malawi
    3
    0
    0

    Sierra Leone

    Sierra Leone
    2
    0
    0

    Papua New Guinea

    Papua New Guinea
    1
    0
    0

    Timor-Leste

    Timor-Leste
    1
    1
    0