How to Avoid the Zika Virus (and avoid change fees!)
On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a travel alert for Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, due to the outbreak of mosquito-borne Zika virus and its association with birth defects. Before last week the Zika virus wasn’t well known. Well that all changed over the weekend. I personally know of several pregnant couples who had to change their spring break plans since then and here are some lessons learned. Don’t stress out, you can likely change your plans!
- If you are planning to travel to any of the countries listed above I would immediately call your airline and plead your case. Be reasonable, respectful, and patient. It is likely they will allow you to change your trip to another location not impacted by the disease. If your phone agent won’t allow you to change your ticket then I’d recommend hanging up or calling back. It’s worth it to avoid the $175 to $200 change fee.
- Book future trips with Southwest. They have no change fees or bag fees, and they cover most of Mexico and the Caribbean. If you frequently travel with a significant other, don’t forget about the Companion Pass!
- Don’t panic. The media is going to drum this up to be much worse than it is. Keep an eye on the CDC website as they are best source for additional information.