After a slow January, international air travel is rising again. According to Bloomberg, European flight data is showing signs of reaching pre-pandemic levels. Countries around the world are relaxing COVID travel restrictions and opening their borders (hello Australia!).
What does all this mean for travel in 2022?
It means you should book your summer trip right now, especially international flights. Travel experts say prices are low now, but they’ll start rising soon.
Here are the latest money-saving tips for international travel.
If you’re cautious about traveling internationally because of COVID (or anything else) and want to be sure you won’t lose money, book with a domestic carrier. That way, if you have to cancel your flight, you can always use the flight credit to travel domestically until the situation clears up again.
Once upon a time, it was a good idea to book flights on third-party sites. In the early days, you were saving money, but airlines, hotels, and resorts caught on and most now guarantee the cheapest rate if you book directly.
It’s OK to use third-party booking sites to research your options, but be wary of booking with them and here’s why:
Third-party sites like Expedia, Priceline, and Travelocity are online travel agencies and your reservation is with them, not the airline or hotel. That means you have to contact their customer service. If direct access to customer service is a big deal to you, then use the third-party sites as search engines instead and book directly.
In a throw-down-the-gauntlet style move, Delta has gone all in with flexible booking. The airline recently announced that all tickets expiring in 2022 and all new tickets purchased in 2022 can be rebooked through December 3. 2023 for travel all the way through 2024.
Whew! That’s a mouthful, but here’s what it means.
It means you can change the date, time, or location of your trip without incurring change fees. You may have to pay more if the new flight costs more than the original flight, but that’s still a whole lot of flexibility.
What about basic economy tickets?
Good question! Delta has given customers flexibility there too. If you’re departing on or after January 1, 2022, you can cancel a basic economy ticket and the value will be issued as credit toward a future ticket on Delta.
Delta has also updated its basic economy change waiver for travelers starting from Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and India if you purchased your ticket before April 30, 2021.
It will be interesting to see if other airlines follow suit.
The US Department of Transportation mandates that air carriers allow customers who purchase tickets at least seven days before the flight is scheduled to depart to cancel their reservations for a full refund with zero penalty within 24 hours of booking.
That means you can book your tickets and keep checking for a better price without penalty.
And finally, here’s a link to the latest info on European travel restrictions.
Australia is open to travelers again – vaccinated tourists are welcome back after almost two years of the strictest border controls throughout the pandemic.
Sunflower lanyards help travelers with hidden disabilities avoid stigma and safely navigate the world.
Safest places to travel – taking into account hazards like terrorism, weather, health, and identities, Berkshire Hathaway offers it’s list of safest places to travel.
A new no-fly list – Delta Air Lines requests government help setting up a nationwide no-fly list for unruly, disruptive, and violent passengers.
Snowed in – the massive winter storm left lots of people stranded with more than 1,300 flight cancellations.
Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and he believes travel insurance should be easier to understand. He started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.