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Budget travelers are used to making trade-offs to save a buck, like booking Basic Economy airfare and non-refundable hotel rooms. But due to the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry, budget vacationers may have more options than usual with travel providers to recoup their money or reschedule without penalty.  

Here’s 5 things every budget traveler should know right now if they are cancelling or changing travel plans.  

  1. With many budget airlines, you’ll need to contact them directly to reschedule. Customer service advisors at online budget travel companies like CheapTickets cannot cancel or change reservations booked on many low-cost and international airlines, including Easy Jet, Norwegian, Spirit, Frontier and Volaris. Luckily, CheapTickets has made it easy to know where to go to rebook your flight. If your airline is in this list, you’ll need to follow the guidance on your airline’s website and work with them directly to make any changes to your flight. It’s important to keep in mind that budget air carriers are less likely to offer a refund, so expect a credit or voucher for a future flight 
  2. Claim a credit or refund on your hotel – even if it was non-refundable. Budget travelers know that if you book a non-refundable rate, you’ll pay less for your hotel room. However, in the event you can’t travel you’re stuck with the bill. The good news is that online travel companies like CheapTickets have negotiated cancellation policies with their travel partners to help out. Even customers with a non-refundable hotel reservation through the site can cancel online from their account, chat with a Virtual Agent or fill out a cancellation form and receive a full refund or voucher for the cost of their hotel. Right now the policies only apply to travel happening through the end of April. So, if your trip isn’t until next month, wait before you cancel or get in touch with your travel provider.  
  3. Take advantage of flex policies. Due to COVID-19, many travel providers are offering flexible change policies, which allow travelers to change their plans without fee or penalty. Travel companies often issue flex policies when there’s a major disruption impacting a large number of travelers. Depending on the destination and type of travel, you may be able to change or rebook for a future trip now at a fraction of the normal cost. For instance, some airlines like EasyJet are releasing routes through early 2021, giving travelers the option rebook trips and cash in their credits. 
  4. Know your credit use-by dates for activities, hotels and flights. Credits toward a future flight, hotel stay or activity can be extremely valuable—especially if you take advantage of low fares and rates when you see them. But they are only worth it if you actually use them. That’s why travel advisors at CheapTickets recommend creating a recurring calendar reminder to research rates before your use-by dates so you don’t leave any travel dollars on the table. This is especially true if you have unused Disney or Universal tickets. Expiration dates for those theme park tickets have been extended through the end of the year or a year from purchase date. You’ll want to make sure to get those trips back on the calendar before your tickets expire. Bonus tip: if you don’t feel comfortable using them before their expiration date, contact the travel provider closer to the expiration timeframe to see if you can get an extension. There’s no guarantee, but there’s no harm in asking. 
  5. Check event ticket policies to see if you’re tickets are worth more than you paid for them. If the concert, sporting event, or Broadway show you purchased tickets for is cancelled, you may be eligible for a full refund or voucher for more than you paid for the tickets. CheapTickets’ event policy currently offers a full refund (minus any fulfillment/shipping charges) if the tickets have already been delivered. Or receive a credit voucher in the amount of 120% of the original purchase price (minus applicable fulfillment/shipping fees) to be used towards any ticket purchase made on CheapTickets.com/events/ within 365 days from voucher issuance date.  

 A final tip for anyone trying to cancel travel with CheapTickets:

 Call center agents are focused on travelers with trips in the next 72 hours, and their online cancellation tools are currently processing travel booked through April 30, 2020. If you are attempting to cancel a trip beyond that time frame, or get in touch with call centers outside of the 72-hour travel window, please wait until closer to your travel date and try again.  

 

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