Travel

Vacation: What you should do if you have booked a trip in summer

The beaches, like here in Egypt's Hurghada, are currently empty.

The beaches, like here in Egypt’s Hurghada, are currently empty.

Marcel Lauck / picture alliance via Getty Images

Because of the corona virus, a normal vacation season will not take place this year.

If there is a travel warning in the country you want to travel to, you can cancel the holiday free of charge.

If your trip is further in the future, you sometimes need strong nerves because you would have to run after your money if you cancel prematurely.

The consequences of the novel corona virus also have an impact on the vacation of Germans. Anyone who has already booked a package holiday for the summer is likely to fluctuate whether they want to leave or fly at all under these circumstances. Even if you are convinced that you want to start your journey, the question remains whether it can take place at all.

Because: The federal government extends the worldwide travel warning for tourists because of the coronavirus pandemic until at least June 14, 2020. This affects Pentecost holidays in individual states, but not yet the summer school holidays, which only start on June 22.

The Federal Foreign Office justified the extension in the cabinet proposal that “severe and drastic restrictions in international air and travel traffic and worldwide entry restrictions, quarantine measures and restrictions on public life in many countries can still be expected”.

How the vacation will continue in the summer is not yet clear. In the cabinet submission of the Federal Foreign Office states: “The decision to extend the travel warning must be seen in connection with the EU entry restrictions at the external borders, quarantine regulations in Germany on return travel and the EU internal border controls.” These measures should be valid for each other be coordinated. The Federal Foreign Office is in discussion with the European partners.

With travel warnings, consumers get their money back

It is precisely this uncertainty that ensures that those who have booked a vacation in summer need strong nerves. “During a worldwide travel warning, consumers can cancel their trip free of charge and reclaim their money from the organizer,” Mathias Hufländer, travel law expert at the Bremen Consumer Center, told NewsABC.net.

If this travel warning is no longer available in summer, the circumstances in the target country matter. For example, if there are restrictions on outdoor exercise, that could be a reason to approach your travel agent. “For example, you could suggest rebooking the trip to an appointment next year,” advises Hufländer.

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According to the consumer advocate, it is important not to lose your nerve. “Basically, the prices for customers rise, the shorter they cancel their booking before the start of the trip,” explains Hufländer, “but a withdrawal from the trip is free of charge if you are not allowed to travel.”

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If you cancel a trip further in the future, you could initially remain seated on the down payment already made, which is usually between 25 and 30 percent of the travel price. Should the travel warning actually be extended later, his money would have to run after it.

Vacation: Consumers do not have to accept voucher solutions from providers

There is another point that consumers urgently need to know about vacation, says Mathias Hufländer. “Organizers often only offer vouchers to consumers when a trip is canceled. However, they have the right to a refund of the price within two weeks, ”says the travel law expert.

In fact, the federal government is planning an amendment to the law that would allow a voucher solution. The plan is for customers who booked a trip before March 8, 2020 to receive a voucher for the trip price. This should be secured against bankruptcy of the respective provider and be valid until December 31, 2021. If it is not redeemed by then, consumers will get their money back. So these vouchers would be a kind of bridging loan for the providers. However, the EU Commission has to agree to this initiative because travel law applies according to EU guidelines.

Federal government wants to change travel law

“Suppliers already rely on this solution today and therefore only want to reimburse consumers with vouchers. Customers should therefore know that they can object to this proposal, ”says Hufländer. Basically, he sees the planned change in the law as a disadvantage for consumers, since they are currently getting their money back for a vacation in a short period of time.

In summary, the best case for consumers is when the organizer has to cancel a trip. “However, the organizers sometimes wait until the last day,” says Mathias Hufländer. Therefore, the strong nerves regarding the 2020 vacation are necessary in some cases.

Transparency notice: The original article dates from April 21, 2020. It was updated on April 29, 2020 due to the extended travel warning.

With material from the DPA.

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