How the Coronavirus Has Changed Our 2020 Travel Plans
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Welcome back travel lovers!!!
It’s been an interesting few months, hasn’t it? As we know, the coronavirus has caused widespread economic harm and thousands of deaths around the globe. For many of us, it has completely disrupted our 2020 travel plans as well.
Yes, not being able to travel is completely a “first-world problem,” and yes we’re grateful that the virus was merely an inconvenience for our family. While I don’t seek to minimize the pain and suffering the virus has caused, this is a blog about travel and money. So, I’m going to spend this piece explaining how it affected us from that angle.
The truth is that many of us have had once in a lifetime vacations affected by the pandemic. Some of us have been dreaming, planning, and saving for these trips for years. Others have been planning travel for themselves or with others who may never get another chance to go during their lifetime. It’s OK to feel upset and disappointed that these plans were interrupted or cancelled.
About this time every year, we put out a list of our summer travel plans and invite you to follow along. Like many of you, our plans have definitely been altered for 2020. So, let’s commisserate together!
Here’s a list of trips we had planned but have cancelled so far this year. And when you’re done reading our list, please feel free to swap stories of your own 2020 travel plans in the comments below!
Trips We’ve Cancelled in 2020 Because of Coronavirus
When: March 2020
The Trip: We love the U.K., and Holly loves anything to do with Tudor history. She especially loves Anne Boleyn. So for a 40th birthday present, I planned a romantic one-week trip to England which included a stay at Anne Boleyn’s childhood home — Hever Castle. We also planned to spend a few days in Canterburry and Windsor before heading home.
What We Did: We were scheduled to arrive in the U.K on March 18th. Of course, travel restrictions due to coronoavirus were implemented at the beginning of March, so we were forced to reschedule the trip until August 2020. Unfortunately, as of June 8th, the U.K. has implemented a 14-day mandatory self-quarantine upon entering the country. Because of this, we’ve had to postpone the trip indefinitely. We’re hoping to rebook the same trip for sometime next year.
When: March 2020
The Trip: This was a trip we planned as kind of a “make-up” for cancelling our trip to England. As news about the coronavirus rolled in and travel restrictions became more widespread, we threw this trip together at the beginning of March. We were really hoping to get away to the beach for a few days, but — alas — it wasn’t to be.
What We Did: By mid-March, it was clear that we wouldn’t be able to go anywhere, so we had to cancel the trip. At that time, both our flights and hotel stay was refundable, minus our $200+ deposit for the hotel, so we took it. We still want to visit Bermuda eventually, but it’s not going to fit into our 2020 travel plans and we have no plans to reschedule at this time.
Asheville, NC and Caribbean Cruise
When: March-April 2020
The Trip: We had a two-part trip planned for Spring Break. First, booked a moutain cabin with friends and Holly’s parents enjoying the Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville, NC. Then, we were set to sail the MSC Meraviglia on an 8-day Caribbean cruise that was to visit Jamaica (which is reopening to tourists next week), Grand Cayman, Riviera Maya, and Cozumel.
What We Did: To be honest, cancelling this trip became a cluster. Cancelling the cruise portion of the trip was probably the easiest part. Although we had to follow-up with MSC several times, our refund eventually arrived in May for our cruises and our pre-booked excursions.
As far as the moutain cabin goes, that is another story. We ended up changing this reservation something like five times. Ha! First, we could only get a credit and not a refund for the cabin. So, we were forced to stick with the same company to reschedule. Because we were driving and planned to social distance at the cabin, we hoped to make it there at the end of April. Unforunately, it still wasn’t safe to travel at that time. So, we rescheduled the rental for May only to find out that the state of North Carolina was not allowing short-term rentals at that time.
Long-story short, we ended up moving the reservation to a cabin in Pigeon Forge, TN instead. We drove, brought our own food, and enjoyed hiking in Great Smoky Mountain National Park for a week in mid to late May.
The Netherlands and France
When: May 2020
The Trip: This is a trip we had been planning with two of our best friends for months. Our plans were to fly into Amsterdam and spend several days touring the city and the surrounding area. From there, we had booked a train to Paris where we would pick up a rental car and head to the Burgundy region for a few days.
Related: A Quintessentially French Vacation: Our Family Trip to the Loire Valley
What We Did: Welp, this trip didn’t happen either. We have been able to get a few refunds (Airbnb reservations, excursions, etc.) but have only gotten credits back for other things. Although our flights were cancelled by the airline and — by law — we technically should have gotten refunds for those, the best we could end up with was a credit. Regardless, we haven’t rescheduled this trip yet but are planning to do the same itinerary sometime next year, likely in May.
Poland, Hungary, and Czech Republic
When: July 2020
The Trip: Holly and I have always wanted to visit all three of these places. So, when we learned our favorite band — Pearl Jam — had dates planned for Krakow and Budapest, we booked a trip around it with some friends.
We planned on starting the trip alone in Krakow, Poland where we’d catch the first show, visit Auschwitz, and explore the city. From there, we’d hop a short flight to meet up with our friends in Budapest for some sightseeing and another Pearl Jam show. After spending a few days there, we were going to take another short flight and spend a few days in Prauge before heading home.
What We Did: Pearl Jam has postponed their tour, but the event promoters are not offering refunds on the tickets. Instead, the tickets are good for the rescheduled show…whenever that happens. With that said, we were able to get either credits or refunds for most of the trip. Since our concert tickets are still good, we’re hoping that we can make this trip happen again when the new tour dates are set. We’re guessing that will be sometime next summer…but at this point, who knows?
Portugal and Spain (On Hold)
When: October 2020
The Trip: This is a two-week trip that we planned over our kids Fall Break from school. The plan is to spend the first week in Portugal and the second week in Western and Southern Spain. This will be our first trip to Portugal and our second to Spain. Although our family visited Spain a few years back, we never made it to this area of the country.
What We’re Doing: Like I suggested when the coronavirus first exploded, we are still waiting to make a decision on this trip. If you would have asked me a month ago whether I thought we’d be going, I would have said “no.” However, Spain appears that it will open back up to tourism later in June, so this trip is looking more likely to happen by the day.
Along with the virus, however, the other wild card is our kids’ school schedule. We don’t know exactly if they will go back to school, when that will happen, and if any of their breaks will be affected. Right now, I’d say this trip has a 50/50 chance of happening. We’ve got a few backup plans, just in case!
Final Thoughts on 2020 Travel Plans
Whew! Writing it all down made me realize how much our 2020 travel plans have changed!
We do have a few other trips that are in the planning stages right now, and we’re coming up with some backup plans for possible trips later this summer and fall. Thankfully, we have a trip we’re going on next week — which I’ll tell you all about it in next Wednesday’s blog post.
That’s all for now! Thanks for reading and happy traveling! (Man, it feels good to say that again!!!)
What trips have you had to cancel because of coronavirus? Do you have any travel plans for this summer? Let us know in the comments below!
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We’re in the same boat. I am a planner, and as a former travel agent, I prefer to plan all my travel way in advance. Not so good for this year. A dream cruise from Italy to the Greek Islands with a visit to Tuscany in May was cancelled – credit for the cruise issued which then turned into a refund and still waiting on airfare refund. The credit was good through 2022 so we planned on rolling the dice for then. But once the refund was issued, we’ll just wait and see. Next up was a 10 day road trip around Nova Scotia with friends at the beginning of June. When it looked like the USA/Canada border would still be closed for our trip, our Air BnB host reached out to us with a full refund. Next up were the single stops at hotels we were making. Then finally the airfare came up with a refund. Don’t know if this will be rescheduled soon due to both of ours schedules. A cruise to Norway for July was cancelled and we received credit for (hopefully) next year. A visit to see our daughter in NYC in September is now on hold as we wait to see what is happening in the former epicenter. We decided to take vacation days and travel close to home in June by renting cabins on lakes in Tennessee and Georgia. We’re attending a wedding in July (which we would have missed by going on our Norway cruise) and taking a few extra days at the beach. We rolled the dice and booked flights for August to visit our son in Colorado and will be making a side trip to New Mexico. Also planning on doing the Kentucky Bourbon Trail which is in the rough stages for sometime in August with the group that was supposed to make the Norway cruise (four couples) Whew! That’s a lot of changes!
We had a ten day hiking trip in Switzerland planned with $15k already paid in advance for the two of us. That got canceled but fortunately we should get nearly full refunds on both the trip and the flights. We’ll still make the trip when it becomes practical but I’m glad we get the money back now in case the travel agency or airlines goes bankrupt.
We had to cancel a trip and a free night on the IHG credit card(one night free a year with a yearly card fee). They have said you have to use it by the fee date or you lose it. With this Corona Virus going around you would think they would do right and allow you to carry over so you have two the next year.