Is Now a Good Time to Book Future Travel

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Hey Taylor: Is it worth buying holiday travel right now? I feel like it’s not necessarily safe to board a plane, but that could change in a few months and the prices I’m seeing are hard to beat. Should I take a chance?

Hey Dave: Great question, and one I’ve been thinking about myself over the last few months. If you weigh all the pros and cons, you might be able to save a lot of money on plane tickets that normally suck your bank account dry. But is it worth it?

1. Safety. This needs to be your primary concern, of course. You can’t put anything above the well-being of you and your family, not to mention everyone else you’ll come in contact with. As we’ve seen over the last five months, no one has had much success predicting the end of this pandemic. It’s best to assume we’ll still be taking a lot of precautions in December of 2020 that we weren’t thinking about in December of 2019. Major airlines have taken a lot of precautions to ensure flights have people distanced and masked. Before purchasing tickets, go to the airline’s website to read up on the steps they’re taking to mitigate risk.

2. Refund/exchange policy. When things first shut down, refunds were handed out readily. From what I’m seeing, airlines are still accommodating changes in a way they never would have pre-coronavirus. That’s another thing to read about on the company’s website, but you might want to take the unprecedented step of actually making a phone call to talk to customer support before buying. Travel policies have been changing by the day so getting verbal confirmation from an airline employee might offer the best guarantee.

3. Planning ahead. Before you get excited about where you might go in December, take stock of what’s going on with your job and your family. Make sure you can afford to travel, even if the tickets are cheap. Think about your schedule and the schedules of whoever you might be visiting, since this year’s holidays will be unlike any we’ve seen before. If you’re thinking about Christmas the way you used to, consider a holiday season where people already have the flu and other sicknesses, now with a global pandemic mixed in. You can’t predict the future, but you can assume things will be different this year and you’ll want to try to account for that.

Start by listing all the cons for buying plane tickets now. After that, if it still seems like a worthwhile booking, I say go for it. Just be ready to change your plans if circumstances demand it. Safe travels!

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