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Travel Tip: Cancellation Vouchers

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On your next vacation or cruise, you may be given the option to purchase a policy that promises a free travel voucher if you cancel. Don’t confuse this with travel insurance, and buyer beware.

Cancellation waivers are not the same thing as travel insurance. These are so-called guarantees from travel providers that you can cancel your trip and get your money back. Sort of.

In most cases, the way it works is they refund your deposit and other payments in the form of a travel voucher, which you can redeem for travel with the same company in the future.

Now here’s the fine print: In many cases, there’s a cutoff date to the policy, so no last-minute cancellations allowed.

The vouchers usually have a time limit of one year from the date of issue. If you don’t redeem it, you’re out of luck. And if the only upcoming trips in that time period are more expensive, guess who’s paying the difference?

You’re better off protecting your trip with traditional travel insurance, but read the fine print there as well. And never purchase a policy from your travel provider; get it from a third party instead.

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