Coronavirus: Should I Cancel My Holiday?

Is it safe to travel as coronavirus continues to spread? And will you get your money back if you cancel?

Coronavirus (Covid-19) airport and travel

by Grazia Contributor |
Published on

Since Monday, 2 March, several UK airlines led by British Airways, Ryanair and easyJet have cancelled flights to several destinations in Europe – especially Northern Italy – in response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak and the subsequent slump in demand. Expect further cancellations and consolidations to be announced as the virus spreads. In light of the airlines’ action, should travellers be thinking of postponing holidays until the situation calms down? The Foreign Office is not advising people to cancel trips. Here travel expert Frank Barrett gives his tips.


Holidays are an activity that tend to exclude cool logic. We book trips in a spirit of excitement so it shouldn’t be surprising that other emotions can persuade us to cancel: every year there are usually lots of sound reasons for nixing a holiday: at your proposed holiday place there may be floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, civil disturbance, strikes to name a few regular problems. Health scares are less frequent – but usually more worrying.

Don’t…lose perspective

When you’re thinking of potential difficulties abroad, bear in mind that the two most common causes of holiday deaths are road accidents and drowning. You don’t abandon your holiday just because you hear that someone has had a serious car accident. You respond by making sure that you’re careful how you drive or where you swim. It should be the same with Covid-19. You can minimise the risk by taking the appropriate precautions: washing your hands properly, for example, or avoiding crowds

Do…follow the latest advice

There’s plenty of advice on the internet about which destinations are less affected than others. It makes sense to leave your booking as late as possible in order to be sure of travelling to a ‘safer’ place.

Do…count the cost

Unless the government is specifically advising people not to travel to a particular destination, you will lose any money you’ve paid if you decide to cancel. The insurance company will judge your action as a ‘disinclination’ to travel and penalise you accordingly. Bookings are already right down so it makes sense anyway to delay your booking – prices are certain to fall dramatically for trips this summer. It’s an ill wind, after all, that blows nobody any good.

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