Like many of you recently, I had to cancel a trip I had planned to take this month to Europe. I was to go from Spain to Portugal, then to Greece. With a pitstop in London on the way home. Sadly, because of COVID-19, I have canceled this lovely three-week trip! It was to be my 30th birthday present to myself! However, I know that many, many others have worse situations due to coronavirus than canceling a wonderful trip to Europe. Now, if you’re like me and have needed to cancel, I can provide how I went about it without travel insurance as well as how I got around flight ticket cancellation charges and non-refundable airline tickets costs.
Should I Have Gotten Travel Insurance?
I did not purchase any travel insurance for this trip, nor have I for any trip before. I’m not against travel insurance; I’ve just never seen the need for it. From the other travelers I’ve talked to, COVID-19 wouldn’t have been covered under most travel insurance anyway as they have a pandemic clause. It would have only been helpful if I had gotten the “cancel for any reason” plan that is more costly than the average ones.
Canceling My Trip to Europe
As I had several flights, hotels, activities, tours, and such booked, I’m going to write it all out below to give you a better idea of the trip I had planned, who I booked with, and how I proceeded to cancel each section of my trip to Europe.
My trip was supposed to begin going from Los Angeles, CA, USA to Barcelona, Spain. I had gotten the flight for just over $300 due to an excellent airfare and getting almost $50 back because of a flight voucher tax exemption. I had only been to Madrid, Spain, before due to a layover from Los Angeles to Vienna on a previous trip, so I was super excited about this trip! This, of course, was a non-refundable airline ticket.
Canceling the flight with American Airlines was simple. I was able to get a voucher super easily through their online portal and incurred no flight ticket cancellation charges.
Hotels.com, which I’ve sung the praises about before due to their former deal with the Captial One credit card, was another one that made my life super easy! They emailed me asking about each hotel I had booked and seeing if I wanted to cancel. I was then either provided a refund or a voucher for a future stay.
When I sent Ticketbar an email to cancel my Gaudi Bundle tour, I received an automated email back nearly instantaneously. The email addressed COVID-19 concerns and said they would be providing refunds. I have yet to see this refund, but I’m assured they are working on it (thought their site seems to be down, which worries me a bit). It is the one outstanding item I’ve yet to cancel for my trip to Europe.
Ryanair was one of the pains in canceling this trip. At first, they did not allow for cancelations and were providing no vouchers or refunds. They told me just to move my flight, which would have incurred a charge for me. They have since changed their tune and are now allowing for flight changes without an additional charge. While I would rather a voucher at the least since no one knows when this will cease, it’s at least better than no additional cost will be incurred. However, I was able to change the flight; it was canceled. So we are receiving a refund even though this was a non-refundable airline ticket.
TAP Air Portugal
TAP Air Portugal was a breeze to cancel on their online portal and has since emailed me a voucher to use in the future. They also made it easy not to incur any flight ticket cancellation charges.
Outline of My Spain Trip
- Flight from LAX to Barcelona: American Airlines
- Hotel Booked in Barcelona: Hotels.com
- Gaudi Bundle Booked to Tour Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell: Ticketbar
- Flight from Barcelona to Seville: Ryanair
- Hotel Booked in Seville: Hotels.com
- Flight from Seville to Lisbon: Tap Air Portugal
As with above, Hotels.com made my life super easy in providing dedicated emails asking which of the many hotels I had booked I’d like to keep or get refunded or vouchers for.
I booked this Aegean Airlines flight through my Capital One rewards points. However, the Capital One site told me to contact the airline, so that’s what I did.
Aegean Airlines, like Ryanair, is not providing refunds or vouchers unless your trip is canceled. However, they have since allowed for changes to flights without additional costs. Their customer service, when I called, was very kind and helped me to move my flights to another month. Aegean Airlines’ bookings are allowing for any changes until the end of April currently. However, if the COVID-19 situation extends, they will allow for further changes. After the time frame (whatever it winds up to be), costs will be incurred or further changes.
Outline of My Portugal Trip
- Hotel Booked in Lisbon: Hotels.com
- Hotel Booked in Sintra: Hotels.com
- Flight from Lisbon to Athens: Aegean Airlines/Capital One Rewards
As mentioned, the Aegean Airlines booking agent allowed me to move all my flights to a future date without additional costs.
I didn’t receive emails about these bookings, so I reached out to Hotels.com directly. I seems that everything up to April 30th was easy to cancel; however, May was more on an as-needed basis for them. They did get resolved. But I had to reach out to their customer service. I wound up getting vouchers for all my hotels in Greece.
Get Your Guide
The Get Your Guide tour was straightforward to cancel! I just visited their website, canceled there, received an email, and the money-back within days. I was very impressed with how easy it was.
As Ryanair is not providing refunds or vouchers, I’m waiting on my flight to London because it is still over a month out. I will not be able to use this flight, but I am hoping they will just cancel it. I have tried to talk to them twice through their chatbox, and it took a long time to get someone. They weren’t accommodating, so that’s why I’m hoping it’ll just get canceled. If not, I’ll bump out the flights as I did with Aegean Airlines.
This flight has now been canceled, so I am receiving a refund.
Capital One Rewards
I was easily able to cancel the car online. However, when visiting their online portal, it told me I had to call to cancel the hotel. Upon calling, I was told they aren’t working on anything more than five days before your trip. Meaning I have to call five days before I would have checked in, so I called back in that timeframe.
I waited on the phone for an hour and a half and was redirected four times. Then hung up and tried again, waited two hours, and finally got a supervisor. I waited about ten minutes and got a full refund of my points. This was the most annoying one to cancel for my trip to Europe as I had to wait on hold for several hours. But I did get my desired result!
Outline of My Greece Trip
- Hotel Booked in Athens: Hotels.com
- Acropolis Tour: Get Your Guide
- Flight from Athens to Rhodes: Aegean Airlines
- Hotel Booked in Rhodes: Hotels.com
- Car Booked in Rhodes: Capital One Rewards
- Flight from Rhodes to Santorini: Aegean Airlines
- Hotel Booked in Santorini: Capital One Rewards
- Flight from Santorini to Athens: Aegean Airlines
- Hotel Booked in Athens: Hotels.com
- Flight from Athens to London: Ryanair
My hotel in London canceled on me, so I did not have to do anything for this booking.
My flight from London back to LAX was another one that was easy to cancel this time with Norweigan Air. The amount of the ticket has been converted to CashPoints on my Norwegian Rewards account that I can use as a voucher. I did not incur any flight ticket cancellation charges.
Outline of My England Trip
- Hotel Booked in London: Hotels.com
- Flight from London back to LAX: Norweigan Air
How Was Canceling a Trip to Europe?
All in all, canceling this trip wasn’t super hard due to COVID-19. The one I was most disappointed with was Ryanair. While almost all the other airlines were understanding and proactive, Ryanair was very stoic in their response. They only recently changed to no fees on flight changes. I understand they are a budget airline, but in these unprecedented times, I expected more.
Aegean Airlines booking at first wasn’t super helpful, but they made up for it by making it easy to change my flight and sending me emails and text messages letting me know I was able to. I felt as if they almost chased me down to let me know. I’d rather have that sort of communication than nearly nothing like Ryanair.
I was most impressed with Hotels.com and Get Your Guide, as both were very helpful in the cancellation process. Get Your Guide always has an easy cancellation process as I’ve had to cancel before. Hotels.com made my life super simple by taking the initiative to be very responsive to their customers. I even had to call to confirm something, and I didn’t wait at all! Wonderful customer service!
Through this process, even though I had booked non-refundable airline tickets, I did not incur any flight ticket cancellation charges or additional costs. I’m glad so many of these companies were understanding during this Coronavirus pandemic!
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