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Travel agent: changes in cancellation policies making it easier to book trips in advance

Posted at 8:10 PM, Mar 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-03 20:11:59-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Concerns over the coronavirus may have you thinking twice about that vacation you’ve been looking to book, but a local travel agent says they are seeing airlines and cruise lines loosen restrictions when it comes to cancellation policies.

David Shapiro has been to Africa, Alaska, Mexico, the list goes on and he’s heading back to Cancun in a few weeks. Concerns over the coronavirus are not stopping him from traveling.

“Who is to say that if I were to stay in Florida, I would be taking more of a chance than I would if I were going down to Cancun?” Said Shapiro.

Travel agents say there’s no reason to avoid booking those summer vacations or trips to bucket-list destinations. In fact, perhaps a change in pricing may persuade you to.

“The rates for Italy are so historically low. For example, the Baglioni normally, 1,000 euros a night, we’re seeing it for 200 euros a night,” said Annie Davis, President of Palm Beach Travel agency.

Davis says she’s also seeing unprecedented changes in cancellation policies.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Coronavirus

“Some cruise lines are offering for new bookings and even existing bookings that you can cancel between 60 days and even 15 days prior to the sailing and we’ve never ever seen that historically in the cruise market,” said Davis.

The key is to get your cancellation policy in writing at the time of the booking. Davis says it helps to have a travel agent. Shapiro says he bought trip insurance just in case, but he’s already picturing himself poolside in Cancun.

“It’s my entry into beach time you know, the snowbirds are leaving, then the beach and the pool are mine, so I go down to Cancun,” said Shapiro.

The CDC has a risk assessment map by country, just click here.