5 Budget-Friendly Tips for Traveling in the COVID-19 Era

There’s a lot of stress and anxiety cycling around the world right now, and you need a break. Sure, you don’t venture out much, and you take precautions to protect your family and others from the spread of coronavirus. But being cooped up in your home isn’t doing a lot of good for your well-being.

Sound about right? Well, the good news is that you can do something about it. You can go on a safe family vacation that won’t blow your budget. Lisa Walker, our guest blogger, has suggested five budget-friendly tips for traveling during the pandemic.

Take a car

Though flying is an option, you must ask yourself if you’re comfortable sitting in close quarters with a bunch of strangers for hours on end. The safer option may be to drive. You can still have an exciting and relaxing vacation by taking a road trip to a destination that’s closer to home. Not only is driving safer than flying right now, but it’s also the cheaper option, even with the cost of fuel included. Just remember to give your car a little TLC before the trip, such as changing the oil or brake pads before your journey.

Stay safe if you’re flying

If you’re fully vaccinated and you’ve had a booster, flying is reasonably safe, especially with mask-wearing and the precautions airlines are taking. And these days, there are many discounted flights available. Make sure you have a contingency plan in place if you travel abroad and hit a snag. There are low-cost ways to receive funds from the U.S. if you have your valuables stolen. For example, if you’re vacationing in the Dominican Republic, you can have money sent from home in a matter of minutes for as low as $4.99 if you use a service like Remitly.

It’s also a good idea to purchase international health insurance during your trip just in case you get sick or injured. For instance, if you’re traveling to Brazil, you can purchase this insurance through companies like American Visitor Insurance to ensure you’re safe.

Visit people you know

There are still a lot of unknowns about coronavirus, and it has many different effects on different people. Therefore, it’s safest to avoid catching it. And the best way to do that is to avoid large crowds. Instead of traveling to touristy destinations or other places with a high population, consider visiting loved ones such as friends and family.

Stay in a vacation rental

brown wooden house in daytime
Photo by Ahmed Abdelaziz on Pexels.com

For over a decade, vacation rentals have been a popular choice among travelers. Online marketplaces like Airbnb and VRBO make it easy to find various types of homes to rent out by the night, week, or even month. And because hosts rely on good reviews to stay in business, you can expect a clean and attractive environment when you book a rental.

Staying in a vacation rental, rather than a hotel, will provide you with more of a private and “homey” feel. You’ll get a full kitchen where you can cook meals, and you’ll be safer from the spread of coronavirus since you’ll be interacting less with strangers. Furthermore, it’s often more cost-effective than staying at a hotel with comparable amenities.

Go camping

Finally, you can always go camping. This is a perfect option for those who love a little bit of adventure in their travel. You can stay at a remote campground, save money by bringing your own food, and enjoy all kinds of activities like hiking, fishing, canoeing, etc.

There may be a global pandemic, but you can still take a relaxing and eventful vacation with your family. And it doesn’t have to compromise your safety or budget. Along with considering the tips above, keep researching ways that you can get the most out of your trip. And plan to have the time of your life!

What Every Traveler Needs to Know: Cancel and Interruption for Any Reason Coverage

A warm welcome to Jeremy Murchland, president of the global travel insurance company, Seven Corners, who has taken the time to explain two travel insurance options in the following guest post.

Cancel and Interruption for Any Reason Coverage: The Difference Between Two Flexible Travel Insurance Options

Whether it be for work or leisure, over the course of the past year, frequent travel has come to a standstill due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With the recent development of a long-awaited vaccine, many are eager for mobility and hopeful to begin making travel arrangements for the upcoming year as the world tries to return to a sense of normalcy.

However, as 2020 revealed the unpredictability of the pandemic, travelers may still be reluctant to book trips due to lingering uncertainty. Travelers need assurance that they and their wallets will be protected when booking their next trip. That’s why the travel insurance industry offers protection plans that allow for cancellation or interruption of travel plans for any reason. As the world is becoming more restless to get back on our feet, Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR), and a newer benefit, Interruption for Any Reason (IFAR), are great additions to coverage plans that can provide customers with the confidence they need to book their next trip during these trying times.

Located on the gorgeous Adriatic Sea, Albania is open. Seven Corners’ Facebook page keeps travelers updated on countries opening up to travelers and what the requirements are for going there.

Seven Corners, an award-winning international travel medical and trip protection insurance company dedicated to protecting the safety, security, and health of our customers, has experienced an increase in calls from customers asking how CFAR and IFAR could be of benefit. Our team put together frequently asked questions and answers regarding what CFAR and IFAR are, what they cover and how they can be useful when preparing for a trip.

What is CFAR?
CFAR is an optional benefit offered on certain trip protection plans that allows travelers to cancel trips for any reason not otherwise covered. Customers will be reimbursed up to the maximum benefit amount shown in the schedule of benefits for the unused, forfeited, prepaid non-refundable payments or deposits for the travel arrangements you purchased for your trip, when you cancel your trip 48 hours or more before your scheduled departure date for any reason not otherwise covered by the policy.

Croatia welcomes visitors back.

When is CFAR beneficial?
CFAR can help travelers if they must cancel trips due to change of mind, financial hardships or reluctance to travel due to lingering concerns over COVID-19. Most especially, since the onset of COVID-19, travelers want the option to cancel their trip if they become fearful about traveling. Fear is not a covered reason for trip cancellation, so CFAR is the only way to ensure you can cancel if you’re afraid to travel. Additionally, if travelers are nervous about planning international trips such as honeymoons, spring break plans or destination weddings due to COVID-19 concerns, CFAR may be a good option.

What is IFAR?
IFAR, Interruption for Any Reason, is an important option for coverage plans in today’s travel climate that gives travelers the option to interrupt their trip once it has already begun. IFAR is being added to plan designs in response to the large increase in travelers purchasing CFAR during the COVID-19 outbreak of 2020.

Seven Corners offers tips on what to see when traveling in such destinations as Canada

When is IFAR Beneficial?
IFAR could be beneficial to travelers for a variety of reasons. Here are a few examples:  

  • Three days into the first leg of your trip you have a disagreement with your host and want to leave, so you decide to go to your next destination early.
  • You are traveling and learn your dog at home is ill, and you wish to return home early.  
  • You have a falling out with a friend with whom you are traveling and want to come home early. 
  • You have an unexpected financial crisis and want to go home early.  
  • You receive a call while traveling and learn your house was destroyed by a fire or tornado, and you want to return home immediately to see what remains and take appropriate next steps.  
  • You are not comfortable with the steps your resort is taking regarding COVID-19, so you decide to return home early.  
Jeremy Murchland, President of Seven Corners

With IFAR coverage, if one must interrupt their trip, travelers will be reimbursed up to the maximum benefit amount shown in the schedule of benefits for the additional transportation cost to either:

  • Join your trip if you must depart after your scheduled departure date or travel via alternate travel arrangements; or
  • Rejoin your trip from the point where you interrupted your trip to the next scheduled destination; or
  • Transport you to your originally scheduled return or final destination of your trip.

What is the difference between IFAR and CFAR?
You should add CFAR to travel plans if you could potentially cancel your trip before you’ve departed, and CFAR typically requires you to cancel 48 hours or more before your scheduled departure date. IFAR comes into play after you’ve already departed on your trip but no sooner than 48 hours after departure.  

Both CFAR and IFAR reimburse you for 75% of your nonrefundable and insured trip costs if you cancel or interrupt for a reason not otherwise covered.

What is the cost of CFAR and IFAR?
Travelers can expect most CFAR benefits to increase trip insurance costs by 40% to 50% because the plan now includes much wider coverage for trip cancellation. IFAR is a much less expensive option. With CFAR and IFAR, travelers can cancel or interrupt their travel plans for any reason they wish. The increase in price occurs because the insurance company now bears an increased risk

How do I know if I qualify for CFAR or IFAR?
To qualify for CFAR and IFAR travelers must:

  • Purchase the benefit within the time sensitive period. This is typically 20 days after you make your initial trip deposit or payment.
  • Insure the full cost of any subsequent arrangements added to your trip within 15 days of the date of your payment for them.
  • For CFAR, you must cancel your trip two or more days prior to the scheduled departure date of your trip. For IFAR, you must interrupt your trip 48 or more hours after the actual scheduled departure date.

It is important to note these benefits do not cover penalties associated with travel arrangements not provided by the travel supplier for the trip.

Effective March 1, Seven Corners is updating their RoundTrip plans to include optional IFAR. The new RoundTrip Choice plan will also include primary medical coverage for accidents and illnesses that occur on your trip and an increased amount of trip delay coverage. Both Choice and Basic have increased emergency accident and sickness medical coverage and additional covered reasons for trip cancellation and interruption.

CFAR and IFAR are beneficial travel insurance options for travelers eager to return to normalcy. With these flexible travel insurance benefits, travelers have a way to expand coverage for unforeseen cancellations or interruptions that could affect travel plans.