If you plan on traveling, now or in the future, it is more important than ever to understand Change & Cancellation policies. Terms like "flexible" and "no penalty" may seem attractive, but it's IMPORTANT to read the fine print!
“Regular” Cancelation Policies
offers a complete or partial refund, time sensitive
There’s risk of losing your deposit or percentage of money paid; the closer to departure date, the higher the percentage
I find it helpful to write the “deadline” dates in my calendar!
“Flexible” Cancelation Policies; “No Risk Guarantee”
Seen now on many tour/cruise websites as a travel incentive
Offers involve Future Credits only, which is fine if you’re willing to reschedule the trip to another available date in the future
Your final payment and cancellation deadline are usually closer to departure date than “regular policies” (you are more "flexible" to change your mind)
With the pandemic at hand, Future Credits are often good through 2022
Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR)
the JACKPOT !! (but rare)
Gives you the ability to cancel, for any reason, often up to just before departure and usually involves a refund. But there’s a catch….
Your refund is typically limited to a certain percentage of money paid – in the range of 75-90%
This may not include air travel, even if you booked everything through the same tour or cruise operator.
If the tour/ cruise operator has to cancel the trip
Hopefully, the terms will be specified in their Terms & Conditions document (usually found at the bottom of their webpage)
If not, make sure you find out what their policy is: refund or credit?
Ask where you can find it “in writing”.
The terms do not apply if the reason is financial default
A Note about Travel Insurance -
There is a difference between purchasing a travel insurance policy and adhering to a company’s Change & Cancelation terms.
Travel insurance assures return of your money and supersedes the above Terms & Conditions, but only under specific conditions including, but not limited to: unforeseen illness, inclement weather, problems with transportation, strikes, natural disasters. Some will even cover financial default of your airline or tour/cruise operator, something not unheard of in this day and age.
With the uncertainty the next year brings, travel companies will be making available bookings for 2022, and even 2023. Make sure you understand the Terms & Conditions and confirm the same policy will be in effect for your trip if booked well ahead of time.
(Or let your TRAVEL ADVISOR do it for you!)