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How to Survive the 2021 Holiday Travel Season

Christopher Elliott | Oct 6, 2021

It isn’t too soon to start thinking about the upcoming holiday travel season.

That’s what Iahn Gonsenhauser is doing. He’s the chief quality and patient safety officer at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, and he’s charged with developing coronavirus procedures for the hospital.

And when he thinks of Thanksgiving and Christmas, he thinks of covid. “Unfortunately, we’re still talking about traveling with it,” he says. He’s urging anyone who will listen to repeat what they did last year: Avoid travel if you’re symptomatic, stay away from destinations with high coronavirus transmission rates, wear a mask and practice social distancing.

It’s no wonder people are feeling nervous about the upcoming travel season. I’ve heard from hundreds of readers with “what if?” questions, such as: “What if the delta variant worsens?” “What if the country I’m planning to visit closes to visitors?” “What if I get sick before my trip?”

So what strategies will help you survive the upcoming season? Let’s start with travel insurance, which is always worth considering, but is especially so now.

A lot of experts are recommending the more expensive “cancel for any reason” insurance policies. You have to buy one at least 48 hours before departure, and you can cancel for any reason. Jeremy Murchland, president of Seven Corners, a travel insurance company, says some policies reimburse you for up to 75 percent of your prepaid nonrefundable expenses, but many have lowered that percentage.

“Fear of travel is not a covered policy reason,” he says, “so being able to cancel a trip at the last minute if you decide you don’t feel safe traveling for the holidays or contract an illness that prevents you from going is worth the extra money.”

Read more to prepare for a healthy holiday season.


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