Spring break plans are changing by the moment for many of us–even Disneyland announced this afternoon it will close its theme parks in California due to coronavirus (and now Disneyworld, too). And as I just updated this before hitting publish, I got a district email that my kids will be on “spring break” early–and for three weeks. SO! I want to make sure you all know about these online resources for travelers, which you may find helpful as questions come up before travels you’ve already planned–and travels you hope to plan later this year. Stay well, my friends!
1. Elliott Advocacy
Elliott.org – This nonprofit consumer advocacy organization founded by Christopher Elliott “empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can’t.” Their website has expert advice, public forums, and a database of customer service contacts spanning all sorts of industries–not just travel.
But when it comes to travel, this site can help guide you toward resolution in any number of sticky situations. Whether you have issues with a cruise line, rental car agency, hotel, airline, or mileage program, you’re likely to find a similar story–and advice–on this site. And if you don’t, they have an easy form to fill out to request assistance.
They also have an excellent article out this week covering vacation cancellation issues and coronavirus.
TravelInsurance.com (affiliate link – thanks for supporting this site!) – While many new travel insurance policies will not cover claims related to Covid-19 (for policies purchased after March 11, 2020, the date of the WHO’s “pandemic” announcement), there are still a number of things you may want to make sure are covered.
For example, if you don’t want to get stuck with your higher out-of-network rates if anyone in your family needs medical care on holiday (which can be very high for high-deductible plans), compare medical and emergency care benefits. Also, emergency medical evacuation coverage could be invaluable if you’d rather see a family member sent to your home hospital instead of one at your destination, or if your destination experiences a widespread problem and local hospitals are overwhelmed.
I like TravelInsurance.com because it makes it easy to compare different policies side by side–by side so you can see exactly what you’ll be getting for your money, including travel delays, missed connections, pre-existing conditions, etc.–and whether or not your kids are included for free (Yes! some plans will cover kids under 18 years free!).
CDC.gov – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website has a dedicated section for Traveler’s Health, where you can look up the latest health information or advisories (food, water safety, insect-born illness, viruses, etc.) for your destination.
You’ll also find specific information about recommended vaccines and medications to pack for the area you’ll be visiting, as well as any advice specific to travel with children, pregnant women, and other types of travelers. They also have a page dedicated to the latest coronavirus updates and advice for families at home and abroad.
Travel.State.gov – The official site of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs includes current travel advisories for American travelers to regions around the globe. It’s always wise to look up your international destination on their site to check for any news updates or safety and health warnings for travelers to the area (you can enter the name of the country or region in their search box–easy!).
They are also posting current global travel advisories including today’s coronavirus / COVID-19 information for travelers returning from Europe, China, cruise ship passengers, and students returning from studying abroad.
5. The Man in Seat 61
Seat61.com – This is the ultimate website for information about train travel around the globe (in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas, and more). If you are planning train travel with your family in Europe, Canada, or anywhere else this year, be sure to check this site for extra information you might not find on most other travel-related sites. In addition to routes, passes and fare information, and tips, it includes a page with rail travel news updates, including a current coronavirus update regarding rail changes and cancellations in Europe and Russia.
You might also like:
Practical travel tips for young families
Helpful things to bring
Or not to bring?! Worldwide Directory of Baby Gear Rentals
“Need to Know” Airlines Information
Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning Travels with Baby guidebooks
What?! Your kids aren’t babies anymore? Head over to Family Travel 411