One of my goals for the year was to book an international trip. How excited we were to head to Cairo this coming April. . .until the last week that is.
With the news growing bleaker in just the last two days after what seemed like a step in the right direction, we face the decision of keeping our trip as is or changing our itinerary to perhaps spend the entire 12 days in Italy instead of a half and half trip as we had planned. Not the worse thing in the world to spend extra time in Italy. Of course, with that comes the challenge of cancelled flights/updated itineraries that could result in fees. Cue my frowny face.
In two months will the political realm improve enough for us to feel comfortable keeping our trip intact? Possibly, but the chance that there might be continuing strife eats away at us. Currently, EgyptAir is offering waived fees and refunds for flights booked through February 28. Will they extend the waiver to us if we cancel in the next few weeks and the situation continues? Alitalia, which is our carrier for most of the trip, does not show flexibilty policy currently on their website (in fact, they only show rescheduled flights to Cairo, not cancelled flights). I think I have a long line of phone calls to airlines ahead of me. . . and I may be perusing this website on how to get a refund! I have been google searching up a storm for FAQ articles. Here's one that gives me a phrase for what we'll probably be claiming, "Disinclination to Travel." I'm pretty much willing to accept that we wouldn't get a refund for the cancelled legs of the trip, but if we can avoid additional fees that would be amazing!
No, I did not purchase travel insurance. Zing. We bought tickets through Expedia so I also worry about receiving refunds because we booked through a discount site. In order to plan our trip successfully, in whatever capacity it ends up being, I would prefer we make the deicision by March 1 giving us a month to book hotels and trains for Italy. Luckily, we have procrastinated long enough that we aren't booked into certain days yet for that leg of the trip!
I try to stay optimistic, and understand that a country does not have to be a peaceful paradise to tour. I love the idea of visiting areas much different than the western world and experiencing their culture. To compare, I hope no one would forgo a trip to Chicago because of news reports focused on a recent shooting or two. However, when the news reports are focused on the exact area we would be staying and the "urban battle" does not seem to be coming to an end I have to consider we may have to amend our travel plans to our dissapointment.
Of course, this is all much bigger than me and my travel woes. I found this Q&A from MSN very helpful in understanding the conflict in Cairo better and why things have seemed to so suddenly turn.