With so many vacations being cancelled due to Covid 19, there are lots of travelers who were issued future travel credit or vouchers. What does it mean and how do you use it? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions. Also enjoy some inspiring photos from locations of trips that were postponed!
Q: I took a voucher but now the company is offering a refund, can I get my money back?
A: Generally not. A travel advisor will certainly advocate on your behalf, but suppliers have rules and they try not to make exceptions. If you willingly accepted the terms and conditions of cancellation on a particular date, you are bound to those terms and conditions.
Q: What are the terms and conditions of my voucher?
A: Every company is different. You will need to learn the specifics of the voucher(s) you are holding but here are some key things you should be looking for:
Date by which you need to BOOK travel (this is the generally the day you make the deposit)
Date by which you need to TRAVEL (this is generally the day of departure)
Q: Where is my voucher?
A: Sometimes a voucher is straight forward and given to you as a certificate to apply for a later trip. Other times, particularly if the trip was a package, you may need to rebook all the components with the same company as the original trip.
Example: A trip of flights and hotel was booked through Delta Vacations. The Delta flight is offering a credit. You must book that flight through Delta Vacations, you cannot book it directly with Delta Airlines because Delta Vacations holds that voucher.
Q: When will I get my voucher?
A: These are unprecedented times. Just as the hospitals and unemployment offices are overwhelmed, so are the travel companies. They are working tirelessly to process all the refunds and vouchers. Some are coming soon, but the outside dates given by most are now at 90 days.
Q: When should I reschedule my vacation?
A: At the time of writing, the United States is still at a Level 4 Travel Advisory - Do Not Travel. If you plan to rebook, you may want to go farther out than a few months so you don't have to go through the same cycle of cancelling and fighting for refunds and vouchers. No one really knows the what the future of travel looks like so be willing to be flexible. The good news is that most travel companies recognize this and are offering low risk deposits and flexible cancellations.
Q: My trip was cancelled and I am waiting for a refund, should I pay my credit card bill?
A: Yes. You may incur late fees or penalties if you don't pay your credit card bill on time. If you have not received the credit yet, it should show up on your next statement. Credit Card companies are not favoring individuals on this type of dispute knowing that the credits are coming at a later date.
I know how hard it is to unravel an amazing itinerary that took months to plan!
I hope this information helped in some way!
We will travel again, it probably won't look the same as it used to, be travel will be back!
If you prefer to have someone else figure all this out for you - I am here for you!
Give me a call at 845-369-8795 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a quick consulation.
This article was originally published January 31, 2020 and UPDATED 4/16/2020
I have been posting that Real ID's will be required for a while now. But 2020 always seemed so far away! Well, 2020 is here and October WAS the deadline to get a Real ID in order to fly domestically without a passport. In the face of the Covid 19 pandemic, the Department of Homeland Security has extended the REAL ID enforcement deadline by one year to October 1, 2021.
What's the Buzz about REAL ID?
The 9/11 Commission recommended that the government set security standards for state drivers licenses. In 2005, Congress passed the REAL ID ACT, setting standards requiring anyone wishing to:
Although the Act was passed in 2005, the government put this into action in phases, with the final phases that affect the most people just coming up now.
In OCTOBER of 2021, everyone will need to have a compliant Real ID to fly domestically aboard a commercial plane.
If you don't want this type of drivers license, you may fly domestically with your passport. (note: a passport is still required for international travel)
How Do I Get A Real ID?
In order to obtain a Real ID you must go to your DMV with proof of the following information:
Sounds simple, right? Not so fast… especially if you live in New York (or MI, MN, VT, or WA)
Ok, so you know you need a Real ID, you live in NY and visit the DMV and they ask you, "Would you like the Real ID or the Enhanced ID"?
Wait, Enhanced?!? I just got caught up with Real ID!
According to dhs.gov, "State-issued Enhanced Drivers Licenses (EDLs) provide proof of identity and U.S. citizenship, are issued in a secure process, and include technology that makes travel easier." LOL, easier they say, ha!
What is an Enhanced Drivers License?
An Enhanced Drivers License is offered in 5 states: Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Vermont and Washington The purpose of this type of ID was to make border crossings in Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean by land or sea easier. This ID provides proof of identity and citizenship when exiting and re-entering the United States borders.
Enhanced ID's are also Real ID compliant.
So essentially, it includes the Real ID requirements, plus some. I got one because I travel frequently by land, air and sea and I wanted to cover all bases.
Here's where the problems arise:
TSA workers are given a sheet with pictures of compliant ID's. The information they are looking for is the picture of a star in the upper right corner of the license. They even launched a campaign #checkforthestar. This is great, EXCEPT if you have an Enhanced ID, where there is NO STAR. Instead, the Enhanced ID's have an American flag (see photo below). The important thing to remember is that the Enhanced ID IS INDEED REAL ID COMPLIANT.
I frequently travel to Florida with my Enhanced license and for the past year, every time I've traveled, the TSA lady at the airport tells me I only have until October to get the right ID or I won't be permitted to fly. I have tried to explain to her that I have a NY State Enhanced license, it doesn't have a star but is, in fact, compliant - but she says, "no star, no fly" and she is the one who can deny me the right to proceed!
Hey Enhanced license holders - our hashtag needs to be #checkforthestarORFLAG!
Do you have the REAL ID or the ENHANCED ID? What has your experience been?
Quarantined for weeks, we are all getting a bit stir crazy! I have walked my neighborhood every day for weeks and although I love where I live, I am definitely getting tired of the same scenery. If the usual activities of cooking, organizing, exercising and reading have been exhausted, consider taking a mini vacation - from the comfort of your own home of course!
While businesses are closed and tourist areas are empty, many attractions have gotten creative to offer a bit of excitement during quarantined life. This post was actually inspired by Discover Puerto Rico, who put on a virtual weekend Escape to Puerto Rico. There was a salsa lesson by a local expert, a cocktail making class hosted by a local bar tender and a cooking demo with a live chef! It was well attended and an incredible look into the culture of Puerto Rico. Visit their instagram page to see more upcoming live events.
Puerto Rico may have been one of the first, but they certainly are in good company now. Online travel experiences are all over the internet, here are a few more of my favorites:
If you love animals, check out the San Diego Zoo Live Cams! You can take an adventurous African Safari seeing live giraffe's, tigers, elephants and more! There are 11 live cams of animals from all over the world. If you are like me and skeptical about the treatment of animals in a zoo, rest assured that the San Diego Zoo is committed to animal conservation and releases animals back into the wild whenever possible.
Get inspired by tourist boards all over the world. The Vienna Tourist Board launched a campaign called #ViennaFromMyWindow on Instagram and the photos and videos are spectacular! Head over to either Instagram or Twitter for another favorite #dontvisitwales
where you will see some of the funniest posts from people encouraging you NOT to visit Wales!
If culture is what you seek, let's travel to the bank of the river Thames to visit The Globe Theater in London for an amazing performance of Hamlet at Shakespeare's Globe on YouTube. The seats are better than I would actually get on any vacation and I love the way they show the audience, it makes me feel like I am sitting right there in the theater.
For those in cooler weather, how about a day on the beach? Tune in to Soggy Dollar's live web cam and feel like you are sitting in a lounge chair on the small island of Jost Van Dyke in the middle of the British Virgin Islands with your toes in the sand! Don't forget to BYOB until you can visit our friends at Soggy Dollar in person!
A fun evening of entertainment for the entire family is coming on April 18, 2020. You don't want to miss it! Be sure to check out the television special One World: Together at Home put on by Global Citizen and the World Health Organization curated by Lada Gaga. An all-star cast of entertainers and celebrities will be participating!
Vacation OUT OF THIS WORLD!
And for the ultimate ESCAPE, try taking a trip to SPACE! The video gallery offered by NASA is expansive, but my personal favorite is the Apollo 13 views of the moon. It is unlike any vacation you have ever been on!
There are new live experiences being shared everyday, what are some of your favorites?
Hi! My name is Buffy and I am the owner of Sunlit Travel! I love to plan special occasions like GROUP VACATIONS and MULTI-GENERATIONAL FAMILY VACATIONS! My favorite part is adding special touches to make the trip especially memorable!