Travel vouchers and credits: What to know if you want to still take your trip

Consumer Report

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Thousands of area residents were forced to cancel travel plans in the last year because of the pandemic. Many may not have received refunds and instead got a travel voucher or credit.

Now, many people want to cash in and take that trip.

But that voucher or credit is good for up to one year in many cases, and the deadline may have passed or may be approaching quickly.

Travel expert Tonya Fitzpatrick, who runs her own company, has been on airplanes more times than she could count and has some advice. Number one is to read the fine print in the original email that confirmed your travel plans.

“Look at your email because there is a lot of detail in an email confirmation,” Fitzpatrick said. “There’s detail about the voucher (and how it can be used). So don’t assume, because that’s where a lot of people are making a mistake.”

A new survey by Bankrate.com found that over 50 percent of consumers who paid out money for a trip that was canceled have now lost the money.

Fitzpatrick says most of us need to understand that normally, the clock starts ticking when you purchase the trip not when you planned to travel. Say you bought a ticket last year in February for travel in June. She says your year began in February.

She also says credit and refund policies vary from business to business and maybe even airline to airline.

However, she says some airlines are now offering tickets that can be used for up to two years — but also says there are conditions that apply, in terms of purchasing those tickets.

Fitzpatrick says she sees both sides, in that the travel industry has taken an “incredible hit.” However, she also says that consumers who have paid in advance certainly still want to get their money’s worth and fulfill their travel plans.

She does say she is a strong advocate for using travel agents because they can be a strong advocate for a consumer in terms of the “intricacies of fine print and booking/cancelation restrictions.”

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