TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Lori Judd knows a lot about planning vacations.
She’s been planning trips and getaways for nearly three decades. The longtime, licensed agent with Prestige Travel Vacations says now, more than ever, people should purchase travel insurance when planning a vacation, as too many things can go wrong.
Over the weekend, thousands of Southwest Airlines flights were canceled, and the disruptions continued Monday, when cancellations amounted to 10% of Southwest’s schedule, and at least 1,400 other flights, or roughly 40%, were delayed, according to the FlightAware tracking service.
Many passengers were stuck in airports, scrambling to find a way to get home. One couple at the Tampa International Airport told WFLA they paid as much as $1,000 in additional costs. The airline has blamed everything from air traffic control issues, to disruptive weather, to staffing shortages.
With the holidays fast approaching, experts are predicting travel this season to reach pre-pandemic levels.
“It’s time we have to get back to life, and you need to cover those trip costs,” Judd said.
Passengers can protect themselves during the upcoming travel season by purchasing travel insurance ahead of time, experts say.
“I say that it’s highly recommended, and I give you the price upfront with trip insurance included because it is so important,” Judd told WFLA.
The question of whether to get travel insurance is top of mind for many right now as travel troubles continue to plague the country. Judd said purchasing travel insurance is absolutely worth it.
“I don’t believe it should be an add-on anymore in this day and age,” Judd explained. “It’s just too many things that can happen.”
She said she not only recommends insurance, but she also buys it herself for every trip she takes, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s a huge savings. So if you purchase it upfront and if you purchase it within seven to 14 days, it covers preexisting. You can get ‘cancel-for-any-reason’ for an extra benefit. Cancel for work reasons. There’s a lot of people who can’t go because, you know, last-minute, their boss says, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, but you have to do ‘this.’ I know you have a trip, but sorry,'” Judd remarked.
With frequent delays and cancellations, along with the possibility of passengers testing positive for COVID-19, Judd advises not to take any chances.
“You have to test negative coming into the country if you fly out of the country. So, a lot of people don’t think about that extra cost they’re going to incur. And, the travel trip insurance will then help cover some of those extra amenities,” Judd said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.