Senior’s Guide to Dealing with Canceled Travel Plans

Senior Finance Advisor
3 min readJul 8, 2020


Updated on Jul 08 2020

It’s distressing that travel plans are being canceled for the foreseeable future during the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is possible to manage cancellations and changes. While companies are dealing with unprecedented losses, it’s still necessary for you to stand your ground when dealing with refunds and fees. Don’t let businesses take advantage of your hard-earned money.

Air travel, cruises, and hotels

Currently, most airlines in the US are offering refunds and suspending cancellation and change fees. You can see a list of what popular airlines are doing and what to expect and be sure to check your airline’s website and contact their customer service if you still have questions.

Many cruises have been canceled, full stop. Cruise ships were at the forefront of the US outbreak back in March and April. Close quarters with no way to leave the ship once sailing made for a situation where infection was common. Many ports in different states and countries turned away cruise ships from docking for fear of more virus spread.

Some cruise lines, like Princess, are offering full refunds. Others are offering the chance to reschedule cruises for a future date, without the option of a full refund. As with the airlines, check with your cruise lines policy. It doesn’t hurt to push for a full refund, even if they say they are not offering it. It’s impossible to know what the next cruise season will look like, so having that money back in your pocket is important.

Many hotels are struggling to survive under the economic downturn that coronavirus has caused. Without Americans traveling to different destinations, the need for hotels has shifted and dropped. Like airlines and cruises, the refund and cancellation policy depends on the hotel chain, as some are offering refunds and others offer the chance to reschedule.

Know that this is the time to be pushy. Your health is a priority, so don’t be shy speaking with customer service representatives on the phone, and, if needed, asking to speak with their managers or higher-ups.

Should I still travel?

Seniors are more likely to suffer from serious complications from COVID-19, including death. Experts say it is possible to travel safely, but precautions must be taken.

While it’s not recommended, if you have to travel by plane, wear a mask and gloves, use hand sanitizer and other disinfectants often, wash your hands, and social distance as much as possible in an airport. Some airlines are not booking the middle seat, allowing for more distance between travelers.

The safest way to travel at the moment in regard to mitigating COVID-19 exposure is driving to a remote location close to home. Camping, secluded lake houses or cabins, and private beaches have all been deemed relatively safe.

For many seniors, canceling vacations is a hard pill to swallow. While we are going through this pandemic, it’s important to make the right choices for your health and safety. Push for full refunds from airlines, cruises, hotels, and other vacation costs. Remember, you will go on vacation again, so right now it’s best to stay home and stay safe when possible.

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