For those who are used to travelling or had travel plans disrupted due to COVID-19 might be hit with a particularly strong case of wanderlust. As you stay home, you might come across several travel promotions that you can book today and have validity as far ahead as 2021.
However, there are risks of booking your travel plans now that you need to be aware of before you make payment. So, despite the attractive offers available, here are 5 reasons why you might not want to book your future vacation right now.
#1 The Airlines You Book With May Not Be Around In The Future
COVID-19 has hit the tourism industry hard, with airlines slashing capacity and even going into administration. With the industry predicted to lose 75 million jobs and $2.1 trillion in revenue globally, it would not be a surprise if more airlines start declaring bankruptcy or continue to suspend operations in the following months.
This means that if you happen to book flights with a company that closes down afterwards, you may not be able to get a refund. Also, with the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, airlines may reschedule or cancel your flights on short notice.
As airlines constantly adapt to travel restrictions, the chances of having your travel plans disrupted by a flight delay or reschedule is highly possible.
#2 Travel Restrictions May Not Be Lifted By The Time You Wish To Travel
Countries across the world have imposed travel restrictions to reduce transmission of the virus. Even as some countries gradually ease travel restrictions, others may reimpose or continue them, such as China, Canada and the US. This means that we cannot be sure that the country that we wish to visit would lift its travel restrictions by then. It’s impossible to predict if there will be another epicenter of the outbreak, or if so, where it may be. Such uncertainty makes it hard to plan for a vacation.
Moreover, the Government has also announced that Singaporean residents or Long-Term Pass holders will be charged unsubsidised rates for COVID-19-related treatments if they travel overseas after 27 March. Additionally, you would not be able to claim from your MediShield Life or Private Integrated Shield plans for such treatments at public and private hospitals.
With such measures in place and no way of knowing for sure when these policies would be relaxed, planning your travel now would be a risky proposition.
#3 Travel Insurance May Not Cover You
Insurers now have extended their coverage of existing insurance schemes in the event of the epidemic. However, this extension does not cover those people who buy travel insurance after a certain date. Travel insurers only cover COVID-19 claims if you had bought their insurance policies before a specific date.
Booking your holiday right now while COVID-19 is still raging around the world might mean you risk not being covered when you eventually go on your holiday.
#4 Your Vacation Would Take Funds Away For Emergency Expenses
In such economic uncertainty, building an emergency fund should be a priority for yourself, whether you are safely in a job or have no cash flow problems. Even as the Government’s fiscal aid alleviates strain on businesses and households, it will be hard to prevent a recession in Singapore. Economists are predicting around 150,000 to 200,000 job losses this year, up from 10,690 retrenchments in 2019.
Such uncertainties suggest that it would be economically prudent to save and build up an emergency fund to tide you over unexpected scenarios such as a loss of income. Thus, instead of spending on a vacation, your money spent could be better used to strengthen financial security and cover emergencies during the pandemic.
#5 We Still Have School Or Work Responsibilities To Fulfil
Businesses and schools have been impacted severely by the COVID-19 outbreak, especially with the circuit breaker measures. As soon as it ends, most employees and students will be busy scrambling to make up the shortfall in this period. That makes it hard to be taking time off for a trip during this period.
Plus, it is likely that your colleagues have yet to deconflict holiday dates. Booking a vacation without clearing it from your team beforehand can easily cause tension. Plus, it would mean getting your colleagues to do extra work to cover for you too.
Lastly, with MOE’s decision to bring forward June holidays to May, it suggests that the ministry might still shift holiday periods to adjust to curriculum load. If you were to book a vacation for June next year, you might risk having to change or cancel your vacation if MOE adjusts the holiday periods again.
Stay Prudent And Safe
With more than two weeks of the circuit breaker passed, most of us are beginning to feel cabin fever set in. Such isolation might make us crave a holiday, as soon as this is all over.
No one can predict when the pandemic would stop, so even with the tempting travel promotions, it would be prudent to put off making firm holiday plans for the time being.