Today the Australian government’s Smart traveller website has reissued their travel advice asking Australians planning a trip to Mexico to ‘reconsider’ because of outbreaks of a new virus dubbed Swine flu. For my honeymoon couple who leave next week – and in fact anyone else who has booked and paid for their trip to Mexico this poses a huge dilemma.
If they cancel their holiday/honeymoon they will lose money according to the cancellation conditions of each service they have paid for. The closer to the departure date, the higher the cancellation fees! Many airline tickets are non-refundable after purchase, although in these situations airlines will often be lenient in their application. Those who have booked through travel agents may do better than those who have booked online when it comes to airlines and cancellations or postponements.
If the Department of Foreign Affairs, which runs the Smart traveller website, upgrades its travel warning to ‘do not travel’ then those who wish to cancel or postpone will fare! better.
This is where it can pay to have a travel agent going in to bat for you – and where having the best possible travel insurance can make all the difference between salvaging what you can from your trip, or losing everything.
We can speak to our specialists, the in-bound service providers (travel jargon for those who arrange travel in their own country) to sound out what is happening. Where tickets have been issued and hotel bookings pre-paid your travel agent can ascertain whether insurance coverage is going to safeguard the cost of cancelling.
If DFAT did issue a ‘do not travel’ advice and essential services are suspended then travellers will be prevented from using the services and should have a claim. When travellers make their own decision not to go the cancellations are classed as voluntary and there will be no basis for a claim.
My honeymoon couple have been to see their GP, packed their bags and will be heading off to Mexico – unless the directive changes in the next couple of days. I will be here if they need travel assistance.
Still on swine flu, but checking out the cruises, you may have noticed from the blogs that I follow, that Princess cruises has modified all itineraries on ships going to Mexico, to skip Mexican ports and either visit another port or spend extra time at sea.