With the spread of coronavirus in the U.S. many people are unsure what to do in the unlikely event they have to cancel or change their vacation plans. The uncertainty is causing chaos in the travel industry and proving frustrating to those who had already booked their vacation rentals, often months in advance of their vacation. What does this mean for you?
Both North Carolina and South Carolina are open for business and eagerly waiting for your visit. While North Carolina Governor Cooper has declared a State of Emergency, this is merely a measure to make available any and all resources necessary to combat any outbreak that might occur and allow for the request for federal funds, if necessary, to ensure the safety of both residents and visitors. South Carolina has not yet declared a State of Emergency, but it is anticipated it will happen as well. Just because a State of Emergency has been declared there is no reason to panic.
Some airlines have begun suspending service to North Carolina and South Carolina. These suspensions are not the result of an outbreak or quarantine, but because flight bookings are down amid the travel fears. United Airlines announced this week that it is suspending some flights, including the flight between Wilmington and Chicago O’hare. However, the vast majority of vacationers coming to North Carolina and South Carolina for vacation drive to their destination and, with oil prices declining due to coronavirus fears, the cost of your vacation should be less.
In planning your vacation, please keep in mind that if it revolves around a large event, that event may end up cancelled by the organizers. In Austin, Texas the SXSW Festival has been cancelled. Events around North Carolina and South Carolina may include festivals, tournaments, concerts, etc. Even if an event has been cancelled doesn't mean you can't have a great vacation. There are plenty of other things to do in the Carolinas and you can experience something that you never considered.
The chances that the owner of a vacation rental that you booked will cancel your reservation are pretty slim. Here in the Carolinas we prepare for Hurricanes each season and absent a quarantine or direct order from the government, odds are that your vacation rental will be right there to welcome you when you arrive.
Some travelers may be considering cancelling their vacation due to the uncertainty of how the coronavirus may spread and how it may affect different areas. However, just like with Hurricane Season in the Carolinas, there is absolutely no way to predict what will happen or what areas may be impacted.
Should you wish to cancel an existing vacation rental reservation, read through your rental agreement and see what the owner's cancellation policy is. Each owner may have a different cancellation policy regarding refunds so it is best to understand what the policy is for your vacation rental. You can also contact the owner to discuss different options, such as re-booking for different dates in the event that the owner has a no refund policy or cancellation fees.
Your best option for planning your vacation is to purchase Travel Insurance. Keep in mind that coronavirus became foreseeable globally on 1/31/20, which eliminates most claims for interruption, delay, and cancellation. Standard travel insurance doesn't kick in for travel advisories or when travelers are simply concerned. Policy triggers that may still apply for standard travel protection include contracting coronavirus and being quarantined due to coronavirus.
For better coverage, you can purchase a "Cancel For Any Reason" policy, which offers more flexibility. However, there are some restrictions on when you can purchase CFAR.
1. The CFAR coverage must be purchased within 15 days of the initial trip deposit.
2. The trip must be cancelled more than 48 hours prior to scheduled departure.
3. The full cost of all non-refundable, prepaid trip arrangements must be insured at the time of purchase.
Unsure of what a travel insurance policy covers? Be sure to read your description of coverage to decide which plan is best for the type of trip you are taking. You can find out more information at https://www.travelguard.com/travel-insurance/benefits/cancel-for-any-reason.
The important thing to remember is not to panic. Plan your vacation accordingly, account for all contingencies and most of all Enjoy the splendors the Carolinas have to offer.