AMHERST, N.Y. (WKBW) — It's just one flight away - a beautiful, relaxing trip. But with an increasing amount of coronavirus cases, do you still go? Kevin Fairbanks-Bloom, an international travel consultant with AAA, said the answer isn't cut and dry.
Should you cancel?
Fairbanks-Bloom said it's all relative. Numerous factors should play into your decision to cancel or not. The decision rests on your age and your health. The CDC said the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions are the most at risk. If you fall into one of those two categories or both, Fairbanks-Bloom said you may want to cancel. If you're healthy and below the at-risk age, he said you don't have much to worry about. But if you're still concerned, he recommended canceling or rescheduling.
He also said the trip itself should influence the decision. Where you're going, what you're doing, how you are getting there are all factors. For example, he said if you're planning to board a cruise ship that has recently traveled to China, you may want to reconsider. If it's a ship that hasn't left the Caribbean, he says you're probably be in the clear.
Fairbanks-Bloom also said you don't know who you will cross paths with on your trip, or where others on your cruise ship may have been, so there always is a risk. He said that's why it's important to wash your hands and avoid touching your face.
What happens if you decide to reschedule or cancel?
Fairbanks-Bloom said most airlines are waiving the cancellation or rescheduling fee for your flight if you decide to cancel, but the waiver is restricted by dates. Those dates vary by airline. For example, JetBlue has waived all change and cancellation fees for almost all flights booked in March. Fairbanks-Bloom said airline policies are changing frequently, so the current policy may be different in a week or a day.
Fairbanks-Bloom said cruise lines are making similar offers. Majority are giving full credit if you want to reschedule your trip, like Norwegian. The U.S. State Department is advising Americans not to cruise right now. If you still do decide to go, the fears about Coronavirus could actually work in your favor. Some vendors are giving you some reward credit if you still board the ship.
Airlines and cruise lines have also released information that they are cleaning and sterilizing plans and ships to keep individuals safe.
When should you cancel?
Fairbanks-Bloom said as soon as you're questioning whether or not to go on your vacation, to call the companies your scheduling with. The timeline in which you can cancel or reschedule your trip varies by cruise line or airline. Fairbanks-Bloom said some allow changes within 48 hours, while others may require you to reschedule/cancel two weeks ahead.
Fairbanks-Bloom said it's too early to worry about trips further out than April. There is not enough information on the future state of the virus epidemic; it could be over, it could be worse. He warned against canceling a trip too far in advance because you may end up able to go on the vacation without hesitation.