Is it a good time to book a trip for later in 2022?
With the rapid spread of the omicron variant, COVID-19 continues to disrupt travel this winter.
Whether you and a travel companion tested positive before a scheduled trip or simply decided to postpone it until the numbers became more manageable, you are not alone if you were unable to take the vacation you were planning. Still, people are hoping for better opportunities to travel later in 2022.
But is it advisable to book a trip right now for the end of the year? Or is it better to wait and see how things evolve in the coming months? Below are travel experts to share what you should know before you buy:
Look forward to great deals.
“If you want to travel in the spring or summer of 2022, it would be wise to start looking at prices now,” said Willis Orlando, senior product operations specialist at Scott’s Cheap Flights.
He noted that there are two reasons for this recommendation. The first is that, pandemic or not, you are likely to find good deals if you book your high season trips during the opposite season.
“This is because, like other seasonal products like swimwear or grills, as you get closer to summer, demand increases dramatically and prices go well with that,” he said. “On the other hand, you can find great discounts for smart consumers who know how to be proactive and look for these cheap summer flights in advance. For example, this morning we saw round-trip flights of $ 213 from the “New York City in Madrid, Spain, with availability in August. You can be pretty sure that once we get to May, that kind of deals will be a lot harder to get.”
Beyond this general rule, Orlando believes that the current turmoil with cancellations and flight changes could now be a privileged opportunity to book for later 2022.
“Overall, whenever we have seen further increases in COVID or major air travel disruptions, it has had a not inconsiderable negative effect on travel interest,” he explained. “As interest in travel decreases, airlines generally become more aggressive in attracting passengers, with great discounts, especially to popular leisure destinations.”
Choose flexible options.
Most major airlines have implemented much more flexible change and cancellation policies, which can be useful as we continue to navigate the pandemic’s unexpected twists and turns.
“If you finally need to change your plans, you can be sure you can make changes without paying any annoying commission of $ 200 (or more),” said Zach Griff, a senior journalist for The Points Guy.
He noted that airlines have also made it much more affordable to buy a fully refundable ticket with the option to cancel it at any time and get a refund using your original form of payment.
“This means that if you decide to cancel your flight, you will receive the funds on your credit card, without having to worry about a voucher that could have a strict expiration policy. In some cases, the purchase may be as low as $ 20, “Griff said. “In those cases, it could definitely make sense to spend on a fully refundable ticket.”
Even if you don’t buy the more flexible ticket option, familiarize yourself with your rights as a passenger in case the airline cancels the flight.
Keep an eye on the price drop.
Even if you find a good deal and book it, you will later notice that the ticket price has gone down. But the good news is that if you booked a refundable ticket, you could opt for this new lower price thanks to the airlines’ flexible exchange policies.
“For these tickets, you have the option to change the date, time or location of your trip before departure without paying an exchange rate,” said Laurie Garrow, a professor of civil engineering at the Institute of Technology. of Georgia and President of the AGIFORS Air Research Organization.
“This means that if you buy an interchangeable ticket now, but the prices go down, you can exchange it for the lowest priced ticket without paying any fees and apply the ‘extra savings’ to another trip you want to make,” he explained. .
So say you book a flight for $ 300, but then find out that the price dropped to $ 200. Depending on the airline, these flexible policies could allow you to change the ticket price and get a credit from the airline for the difference of $ 100.
Look at the insurance.
If you plan to make a major trip by 2022 later, you may want to consider your travel insurance options and consider purchasing coverage for your flight and other aspects of your trip.
“For some airlines, including Delta, you have the option to purchase this insurance at the time of purchase of the ticket,” Garrow said. “This insurance usually covers the costs associated with COVID-related causes. For example, if you travel abroad and test positive before your home flight and you are unable to board the flight, the insurance will cover the cost of accommodation while you are away. in quarantine and the medical care you need. “
Be sure to read the fine print when considering options and see if your credit card or other forms of insurance you already have offer travel protection.
Pay attention to schedule changes and news.
“One thing to keep in mind when booking summer travel and beyond: Airlines are still making schedule adjustments during the weeks leading up to departure,” Griff said. “This means that the flight you are booking today may not work according to the exact time you are viewing.”
With all the changes that airlines have to make to adapt to the evolution of the pandemic situation (and its impact on travel demand, staff, etc.), it is not uncommon for your itinerary to change if book your flights in advance. Be sure to pay attention to email updates and monitor your booking for any changes that the airline may make that may affect the weather.
And, as always, remember that COVID-19 may continue to disrupt travel plans throughout 2022. Be aware of news reports and changes to public health guidelines that may affect your trip, especially if you are traveling to a foreign country.
The pandemic doesn’t mean you have to stop dreaming and planning, but you do have to be prepared to adapt and make wise health and safety decisions.