Sometimes travel is hindered by dangerous situations largely out of our control. Such has been the case this winter with the Zika virus, which the World Health Organization this week deemed a pretty serious threat. When situations like this arise, it’s critical to know what your options are and how to best be prepared. Here are five tips to help you better manage the situation.
1. The single best sources of information about health risks aren’t media outlets, but instead the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. We urge all travelers to review the information these organizations share prior to making any travel decisions to areas in question.
2. Often cancellations, refunds, and other policies are maintained by suppliers (that’s what we call hotels, airline carriers, activity outfitters, and rental car companies). This is true not simply in the case of an emergency, but for all bookings. If your travel plans are impacted for any reason, contact Expedia immediately to explore your options. Another key point: Expedia doesn’t charge change and/or cancellation fees of our own and we will always communicate to you when a supplier will impose a fee of any sort.
3. We work with suppliers around the clock to find out the latest policy information during times of duress. We always post detailed information about threats on our travel alerts page, and we update that information as frequently as possible. In fact, if you go there now, there’s a ton of information about the Zika virus, including links to advisories from six different air carriers. And remember, you can always reach Expedia on our customer service page.
4. If you have medical concerns prior to traveling to an area in question, it’s best to consult with your physician before making travel plans of any kind. If the concerns arise after you’ve booked a trip, consult your physician as well. Should you need to change or cancel your itinerary, always request documentation from your doctor. This sort of official paperwork helps Expedia when we are speaking on your behalf with the supplier.
5. Finally, read the fine print prior to booking, as each supplier has different change and/or cancellation policies. Familiarize yourself with these policies before booking. Expedia always presents the policies before finalizing the purchase.
The bottom line: Booking travel with Expedia not only saves money but also connects you with customer service representatives who will advocate on your behalf when unexpected issues arise on the road. Managing travel in a time of international health emergency doesn’t have to be difficult. Just make sure you’ve got the right teammates.