Life is full of unexpected roadblocks and sometimes those roadblocks require you to cancel your Spring Break trip. If this happens to you, can you get your money back?
Depending on your hotel and/or airline's policies, you may be able to get a refund if you cancel weeks in advance. However, if you need to cancel at the last minute, you may be out of luck unless you have travel insurance or are willing to reschedule.
Hotel Cancellation Policies
Whether you can get your money back after you cancel your hotel reservation depends on the hotel or travel agency's policies. Some hotels will allow you to get a full refund if you cancel up to 24 hours in advance. However, some online travel agencies may require you to pay the entire cost of your stay even if you don't show up. Be sure to read your hotel's cancellation policy very carefully, so you know exactly what will happen in the event of a cancellation and how you can get your money back.
Your best bet to getting your money back is if you cancel several weeks in advance. If you purchased trip insurance when planning your vacation, you may be reimbursed for your hotel costs if you need to cancel last minute. However, travel insurance policies usually only cover unforeseen circumstances, so you may be prevented from recovering due to chronic illnesses or pregnancy. Some policies also exclude political unrest and terrorism. Others may cover your hotel cancellation due to natural disasters or a sudden death in the family.
Airline Cancellation Policies
Like hotel contracts, you sign a contract with an airline when you purchase your ticket. So the terms of the contract will tell you how they handle cancellations and if you can get your money back.
The farther in advance you cancel your flight, the better chances you have of getting a refund. But what happens if your flight is cancelled due to weather? Airlines don't guarantee the time or date you're entitled to fly, but they should make every effort to rebook or reroute you as soon as possible.
If you get sick right before your flight, airlines may not give you your money back, but will likely allow you to reschedule. In extenuating circumstances, like a terrorist attack or jury duty, airlines will likely provide a refund, though you may need to provide proof of those circumstances, according to USA Today.
While some Spring Break cancellations are non-refundable, you might be able to get some of your money back or receive a travel voucher if you choose to reschedule your trip rather than cancel it all together.
- Avoid Hotel Cancellation Fees by Changing Your Stay Dates Before Canceling the Reservation (Lifehacker)
- 5 Reasons to Get Flight Insurance (FindLaw's Common Law)
- How to Resolve Travel Disputes (FindLaw)
- Passenger Bill of Rights Doesn't Allow You to Sue Airlines (FindLaw's Common Law)