Travel News January 2023
If you’d like to receive this and other news in your inbox, sign up to receive emails from us.
To get a quote on travel insurance for your next trip: Get a Quote or Contact Us, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Miss an edition of Trawick International Travel News? View it here.
Airline System Issues = Travel Delays & Cancellations
Earlier this month, an issue with the FAA's Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) system effectively shut down air travel for a short -- but costly -- period of time. Thousands of flights across the US were grounded, causing delays and cancelations, and millions of would-be airline passengers were affected. This came on the heels of a major Southwest Airlines meltdown, in which the perfect storm of severe weather, staff shortages, and an outdated system caused thousands of flight cancellations over the 2022 holiday season.
In both cases, hearings are being planned in the coming weeks to get to the root cause of the issues, and airlines are providing refunds to those whose flights were canceled. (Read more in this USA Today article and on the Southwest website.)
If you were affected by one of these issues and purchased a travel insurance policy before the cancellations or delays were announced, now is the time to check the policy and read through the coverages to see if you are eligible to file a claim. Keep in mind that you cannot get reimbursed twice -- if you receive a refund you cannot file a claim for that same cost -- but you may have coverage for other nonrefundable trip expenses, depending on what is covered by your specific policy.
If your flight was not canceled, but you were significantly delayed, you could be eligible for trip delay coverage, depending on how long the delay was and what plan you purchased. Delay coverage typically kicks in for delays of at least 6-12 hours. In terms of Trawick International policies, our most robust (and popular) plan, Safe Travels Voyager, covers 6 hour delays, while other plans like Safe Travels Explorer provide coverage for delays of 12 hours or more. Check your plan or contact our 24/7 customer support team to find out what your plan covers.
This month, China opened its borders as other countries increased requirements for travelers coming from China.
After three years of almost complete closure, China reopened its borders as of January 8, making it easier for those who are able, to travel to and from China. Visitors no longer need to quarantine upon arrival but must take a PCR test within 48 hours before departing and present proof of a negative test result to the airline when boarding. But not all types of travelers are welcome quite yet. Tourist visas are not being issued yet, and no date has been set for when that will change. Priority is being given to businesses and students. Read more about who can go to China.
The CDC has issued an “Alert - Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions” for travel to China, and recommends purchasing travel insurance in case you need healthcare, or your trip is interrupted.
For anyone traveling from China to the United States, a negative COVID-19 test, or documentation of recovery must be presented prior to departure for all air passengers two years of age and older. This applies regardless of a traveler’s nationality or vaccination status, and also applies to travelers from Hong Kong and Macau. According to the CDC website, the requirement does NOT apply “if you transited through an airport in China, Hong Kong, or Macau en route to the United States from another country, or if you spent less than 24 hours in China, Hong Kong, or Macau.” Read more on the CDC website.
Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, and Australia are taking a similar approach, requiring pre-departure testing for anyone traveling from China. For those heading to India or Japan, they will have to test upon arrival. Thailand requires travel insurance for travelers from China, and it must cover the duration of the stay in Thailand PLUS seven days.
Machu Picchu Closed Amid Protests in Peru
As the political protests that began in December 2022 in southern Peru continue to heat up and move across the South American country, the popular tourist site of Machu Picchu has been closed for an indeterminate amount of time “to protect the safety of tourists and the population in general,” according to the country’s Ministry of Culture.
If you were among half a million or more travelers hoping to visit the ancient Incan site this year, you will have to wait a little longer. And if you already have a trip booked and Machu Picchu tickets in hand, you will be able to use them “up to one month after peace is restored,” or can request a refund by contacting email@example.com. You can read more about the protests and closures in this article from Conde Nast Traveler.
The U.S. Department of State has a level 3 travel advisory in place for Peru due to crime, with a special note to "Exercise increased caution due to civil unrest."
2023 Travel Planning
2023 just started, and yet we are already looking ahead at trends for summer travel this year. Between the kids being out of school for a few months and the beautiful weather that summer typically brings, it makes it one of the busiest seasons for travel. According to this article from Travel Pulse, airfare pricing peaks during June, July, and August. Travelers are encouraged to book summer travel during the winter months to get the best deals, but, for domestic travel booking at least three months ahead of time is a good rule of thumb.
International summer travel is a bit different. Experts suggest booking international trips up to eight months out to get the best pricing options. It is also noted that traveling on Tuesdays will save you the most money.
If you are dreaming of your next vacation and looking for some travel inspiration, domestic or international, check out this list of Top 10 Travel Destinations for 2023 based on Booking.com global trends and booking activity. And if you do decide to take this advice and book a trip early this year, you should also consider your travel insurance options. For trip cancellation plans, buying a policy close to your trip deposit date is key, especially if you want Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) coverage that is offered on select plans. Trip cancellation helps cover any nonrefundable deposits for airfare, tours, or accommodations, and with CFAR, it doesn't matter if the reason you cancel isn't listed on the policy you purchase; you can still get up to 75% reimbursement, as long as your trip is canceled at least two days before you are set to depart. You've already started planning that trip -- might as well protect all that hard work! Planned, booked, protected. Now all that's left is counting down to vacation time!
You can't talk about 2023 travel planning without also mentioning wave season. 2023 is the year of the cruise, and what better time to book a cruise than during wave season, that time between January and March when you can get some of the absolute best cruise deals and incentives. We’re looking at you, up to 50% off Norwegian Cruise Line cruises, up to 35% off both Disney and Princess cruises, and 30% off AND kids cruise for free on Royal Caribbean cruises. Whether you are embarking on your first cruise or are already an avid cruiser, there is a wave season cruise deal with your name on it.
Not sure where to go? Get some cruise destination inspiration in our latest blog: Best Cruise Destinations for 2023.