Traveling During Omicron? Do This When Booking Your Tickets

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Travel is precarious these days. Make one key move to protect yourself.

Key points

  • The COVID-19 outbreak is causing disruptions in travel and forcing people to cancel plans.
  • If you're going to book travel, make sure you put the right protections in place.

Traveling during the pandemic has been an interesting process, to say the least. Depending on your destination, you may need to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test and jump through other hoops just to keep your plans.

Recently, travel has become even trickier due to the surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the omicron variant. Over the past few weeks, thousands of flights have been canceled due to staffing issues. Throw in the weather-related delays that tend to arise during winter, and it's certainly a tricky time to be making travel plans. That's why if you're going to book a trip during these tough times, there's one important step you need to take -- buy travel insurance.

The importance of travel insurance

It's a good idea to purchase travel insurance whenever you're spending a fair amount of money on a trip. But these days, it's even more crucial.

Travelers today face a host of disruptions. Not only might your flight get canceled, but you may need to cancel your plans due to a COVID-19 exposure or infection. Or, you might struggle to get a test within the time frame required by your airline. Having travel insurance gives you more options when it comes to altering or canceling your plans, which is why it's worth the modest cost.

In fact, many travel insurance plans allow you to cancel your itinerary for any reason. So, say you book a trip but then get spooked by the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the area you're traveling to.COVID-19 fears aren't a valid reason to cancel a trip as far as airlines are concerned, which means you may not get your money back. But with a travel insurance plan that allows you to cancel for any reason, you can pull the plug on your itinerary if you change your mind.

Do you need travel insurance if you have a travel rewards credit card?

A travel rewards credit card will generally give you some degree of protection against trip-related interruptions. And you'll generally be covered for things like lost or stolen baggage. But your travel rewards card may not be able to come to the rescue if you decide to cancel your trip at the last minute for a reason your airline or resort doesn't deem valid.

Furthermore, if you wind up needing medical care overseas, your travel rewards card may only offer minimal coverage, if any. On the other hand, with travel insurance, you may be entitled to a generous benefit that covers the cost of emergency care abroad. And during a pandemic, that's good protection to have.

While travel insurance may read as yet another expense, it's something worth securing. You might pay anywhere from 3% to 10% of your trip's value for travel insurance, so that a $2,000 trip costs you $60 to $200 to insure. But if paying that money spares you from a potential $2,000 loss, or a pile of bills for medical care overseas, then it's more than justifiable.

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