Mark Crossey, US Traveler Expert at Skyscanner provides advice for vacationers looking to make the most of the current prices and flexibility on offer for 2021 travel.
How much cheaper than normal is it to book now for 2021?
“There are some seriously attractive prices on offer for next year, as providers continue to use them coupled with flexible fare policies to encourage bookings.
Taking August as an example, the average price for travel from the US to Mexico is $333, but there are return flights available for next year for as little as $198, the average price to Dominican Republic is $402, but there are flights available for $236, and there are return flights to Barbados for $276, less than half the $580 August average.
“On top of this attractive pricing, providers are taking steps to ensure that travelers can book with confidence. The introduction of flexible bookings, and one-off deals on things like extra baggage mean that you could book your summer holiday or dream trip at a fraction of the cost.”
How can I make sure my booking is safe?
“There are a few ways to protect your booking. Purchasing a ‘flexible’ ticket could mean that you’re entitled to a free date or destination change if you should need it. Look out for flexible tickets when searching for flights on Skyscanner or if you can afford to be flexible with your destination or dates, you could bag a great deal and miss the crowds using Skyscanner’s “Everywhere” search or monthly view for dates.
“As we see the travel landscape changing rapidly due to the impact of coronavirus, we expect travelers will consider travel insurance more critical than ever before. Since there’s still some uncertainty about what lies ahead, the peace of mind that an insurance policy offers might seem more important than it did pre-COVID-19. However, travelers will need to read the fine print before they purchase to make sure that the peace of mind they have is based on the policy and not just their expectations.”
What should I be looking for when buying insurance?
“As well as the usual things a policy should cover, like missed and cancelled flights, lost luggage and emergency medical care, it’s important to consider how the policy you’re considering would respond where your claim is a result of coronavirus, or associated restrictions.
For example, if you decide you don’t want to go on your trip, but your flight isn’t actually cancelled, this might be classified as a voluntary cancellation under some policies and not be covered. However, some insurance policies will cover your claim where you cancel for any reason and, though they’re often a little more expensive, this might be advisable if it’s one of the main expectations you have from your policy. With this in place alongside bookings of flights and hotels with flexible cancellation policies, it should be easier to adjust travel plans if necessary.”
When is the best time to book?
“The traditional events of the year in travel are simply not happening, so there isn’t the same ‘best time to book’ that we would normally see. Looking out for reductions on flexible ticket options is a good option for switched-on travelers looking for a last-minute bargain.
If you’re set on a destination, you can set up price alerts so you’re shown when there is a deal available on your chosen route. However, if you can afford to be flexible with your destination or dates, you could bag an even better deal.”