The coronavirus has changed many of the typical activities people would experience throughout 2020, from only going one way in a grocery store to an entirely virtual graduation. However, many parts of the country are beginning the process of entering into some form of normalcy. With the feeling of returning to normal, many want to enter into their regular summer routines, like a vacation. After over three months of staying at home, people are itching to go anywhere other than the living room.
Even though some parts of the country might be back to normal, Better Business Bureau experts say it is crucial to take precautions before traveling. BBB is urging customers to carefully research cancellation policies before purchasing a ticket or hotel and be aware of local quarantine regulations for the desired destination before booking.
BBB saw over 53,000 COVID complaints, with nearly two-thirds of those claims coming from cancellations, primarily travel-related bookings, gyms, sports events, and classes.
“That is a huge number, and with bargain travel deals popping up everywhere as states reopen, it can be tempting to click without reading,” says Robyn Householder, President and CEO Better Business Bureau serving Middle TN and Southern KY. “Any destination could be compromised in the coming months, and you need to know your risks and rights before you book that getaway.”
Householder mentions that one positive from COVID is that customers are more selective and knowledgeable about who they spend their money with.
“People and businesses remember how they are treated, and in these difficult times, the way we treat each other is magnified and will effect relations for years to come,” says Householder.
In the meantime, Better Business Bureau experts note that it is vital to check local regulations from states and cities. For example, some states are still requiring a 14-day quarantine when visiting. BBB also recommends always reading the fine print on travel insurance, and reservations.
Before leaving on a trip, BBB suggests:
- Check with state regulations for quarantine requirements. Some states are still requiring visitors to isolate for 14 days when visiting the state or coming back from going out of town.
- Avoid posting on social media about where you’re going or when you’re leaving. Save the fun pictures for when you get back.
- If planning to travel by air, carefully review cancellation policies, consider travel insurance, and make sure to clearly understand the restrictions; when booking the tickets, as the departure date gets closer, check to see how full the flight is getting to determine if you’re comfortable being less than six feet from someone.
- Sign up for updates for any changes in policies at the location where you intend to travel. Many states are slowly reopening for business, but that may change between the time the trip is booked and the time of departure.
- Leave an emergency contact number for a close family member or friend.
- Avoid online scams when booking a trip.
- Be prepared for delays that may occur when you are planning to travel because of the coronavirus.
The Centers for Disease Control is recommending families stay within the U.S. for their travels or even stay close to home.
Other CDC Summer travel recommendations:
- Never travel if you’re sick or have been exposed to COVID-19; the same goes for anyone within your group.
- Always take a face mask with you for public places.
- Pack your own food, water, plenty of medicine, and hand sanitizer, if the restaurant, gas station, or convenience store can’t serve you due to occupancy limits or supplies available to you.
- Beaches and parks are fun outdoor places to go; keep a safe six feet distance from other people.
- When going to a pool, take off the mask only when going into the water
- If renting a car, RV, or camper, carefully wipe down all surfaces and continue to wash hands and avoid touching your face.
Learn more about how to plan appropriately on BBB.org/coronavirus
Report suspicious websites or deals that seem to be too good to be true on BBB.org/scamtracker.