Last Updated on January 17, 2021 by Elizabeth

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Need to book travel during the coronavirus pandemic? Keep an eye on cancellation policies for airline, hotel and car rental companies and book accordingly. Choose wisely, and you can mitigate your risk down to zero.

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Car Rental Cancellation Policies During the Pandemic

The best and easiest way to mitigate risk on a car rental that you think may need to cancel in the future is to choose the “pay later” rate. While a prepaid rate may look more favorable, it is non-cancellable and you will pay up front in full when you make the reservation.

Airline Cancellation Policies During the Pandemic

Air traffic has slowed to a fraction of what it was just a few months ago. Most domestic and international airlines have waived change fees for flights purchased before a specific date, typically May 31, for travel before a specific date, typically September 30.

These dates may change, so always check with the airline before buying plane tickets. In most cases, airlines are not offering refunds but rather they are issuing a credit for future travel.

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Note that if your airline cancels your flight, you will be eligible for a cash refund by law. The European Union has a similar rule that provides for refunds for any flights that arrive into, travel through, or depart Europe.

Hotel Cancellation Policies During the Pandemic

Nearly every major hotel group has softened their cancellation policies to waive cancellation fees for travel stays before a specific date, typically June 30. Reservations can usually be changed or cancelled at no charge, up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival day.