Insurance or not insurance? Refundable or not refundable? What is an open ticket? Here’s a quick guide to help you navigate across the ocean of options and tiny terms & condition of refund policies.
Each airline has very specific refund policies. Unless you have purchased a travel insurance with your flight (highly recommended when you are booking expensive flights, especially if you book early) it is very common to have a few expenses to consider. Flights are generally non-refundable at the standard price. If you want to change the dates, you will have to pay for any difference and you won’t be refunded any sum if the new flight is cheaper. Generally, it also involves a fixed amount or an administration fee to pay.
Best way to deal with an unwanted low-cost flight? We advise you to book a new journey, and forget about the rest: you will escape all the fees and that sometimes are more than the flight price.
A substantial purchase, instead, like an intercontinental flight or a complete package should be always backed up with a travel insurance. A good example would be Expedia.com, which offers a Refund Policy starting from $39 per person. Do not forget that some policies, although they have specific terms & condition, will also cover for situations that are outside your power – bad weather condition, just to mention a popular one. Sometimes you deserve to change your plans, and sometimes you also deserve to feel protected against bad luck.
Not every journey needs an airplane. What happens when the smaller trips – aiport links, trains, buses, and so on – do not go as planned? It is very unlikely that you will be able to get a refund for your ticket, unless you buy a travel insurance. The alternative might be an open ticket, which will allow you to travel within a large time frame – sometimes up to six months.
Life is easier when it comes to book your accomodation online. The most popular websites for both hotels and hostels (like Expedia.com or hotels.com) offer flexible, helpful solutions to encourage people to book as soon as posisble rather than procrastinate. There is a very small difference between non-refundable and refundable rooms; and the last term to cancel your booking ofetn falls between 24 hours before the arrival and just a few hours before the check in!
Don’t forget there are real people managing your booking, and sometimes an old-fashioned phone call could help solving the situation. If you are desperate to cancel your booking and none of the options above can help, why not calling your accomodations, for example? Hotels might easily allow a late cancellation at no extra cost, if the location is popular and they can fill the vacancy anyway. A good service and a happy customer is always valuable for them.
Be smart, be organised, and never be scared to ask an extra question: after all, it’s your journey.