Whatever the reason might be, having to postpone a vacation, or cancel it completely, is no easy decision to make! After cancelling a vacation, you might begin to feel lost in what to do next, between your finances, bookings, and your emotions! This guide will help you with how to recover from a cancelled vacation, and provide a list of things to do if you can’t go on your trip
Vacations get cancelled for a variety of reasons from hurricanes and other natural disasters, to financial situations, to illnesses, and beyond. Of course, you try not to cancel a vacation to the best of your ability, but sometimes it becomes inevitable.
You may have heard of the post-vacation slump (or blues), but what if you never got to on on your trip in the first place? This can lead to a whole lot of confusion, panic, and sadness over the loss of your long awaited vacation.
While rebooking your trip is a bit of a headache, what hurts the most is not being able to take your trip to Hawaii, see the Northern Lights, or see the Eiffel Tower light up at night. We will walk you through dealing with the rebooking process, as well as how to feel better emotionally after a cancelled vacation.
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Things to do if you can't go on your trip: The practical side
When your vacation is cancelled due to the airline or personal reasons, there are going to be many steps you need to take. This part can be stressful, on top of the sadness you are already feeling! Take it step by step, and everything will end up ok!
Review Cancellation Policies
Before you cancel your own trip, be sure to review the cancellation policies. Cancellation might be different if you cancel due to personal reasons, rather than if cancelled by the airline itself. If your vacation gets cancelled due to other factors like weather, the first thing you should do is take a look at the cancellation policies.
First and foremost, review your airline’s cancellation policies, as they are typically the biggest cost in your vacation. These are typically easily found on the airline (or 3rd party’s) website. Find out what next steps you should take, and if you are able to get a refund or credit.
Next, review the cancellation policies for your hotel, car rental, and any other reservations you have made. Again, see what next steps you should take, and if you are able to get a refund or credit.
If might seem like a lot to do at first, but it will all work out in the end! Of course, cancel your trip as soon as possible (if you know you won’t be able to go). If it is cancelled out of your control, you might have more time.
Take it one day at a time: contact each part of your trip (airline, hotel, car) one a day, so you don’t lose your mind!
Re-book if possible
While reviewing the cancellation policies, make any re-bookings if possible. You may be able to re-book the same flights/hotels the following week or month! However, you might have to wait until next year if you do not have any more time off of work, school etc.
If may be helpful to call the airline, as they often have access to different flights that you may not see as an option when re-booking online. If you needed to reschedule due to personal reasons, there is sometimes a re-booking fee (usually under $100 per person).
Typically, you will have some time to re-book your vacation, especially if you were given a voucher- make sure you book within the time limits so you don’t lose your money!
If your flight gets cancelled while you are at the airport, you have a couple of options: You can talk to the airline employees at the desk, but this often gets busy especially with a whole flights worth of people trying to figure out what to do! If this happens, consider calling the airline’s support line, as you can usually get everything you need much quicker this way!
What to do if you can't get a refund
If you needed to cancel your vacation due to personal reasons, you unfortunately might not be able to get a refund, depending on the airline, hotel, etc. If you are reviewing the cancellation policies and see this could be the case, don’t give up! You still have options.
At this point, it will be best to talk to a representative on the phone to discuss your situation. A real person might be able to do more than an automated algorithm on the website for cancellations.
Typically, don’t expect to get a cash refund. You will most likely end up getting a voucher or credit towards that airline, hotel, etc to use at a later date! Not so bad!
If you booked through a 3rd part website (Expedia, Hotwire, Priceline, etc.), you might have some more difficulties. First, check the websites refund policies. If there is nothing they can do, then call the airline or hotel. Sometimes they will offer you a credit to come back in the future!
If nothing can be done and you are left with no refund or voucher, still don’t give up. Call back every day and explain your situation. Sometimes different staff members might be more lenient, or have different information regarding cancellations! Be nice, be patient, and cross your fingers!
Things to do if you can't go on your trip: The Emotional Side
Lets face it: cancelling a vacation is SAD. It can really take a lot out of you, especially if you have been planning and looking forward to this trip for many months- or even years! Here are some things you can do to try and ease your pain, even just a little bit, until you can travel again!
Re-enact your trip
If you need to re-schedule a vacation, chances are you are going to be very disappointed. Although you won’t be able to go on your long awaited trip, you can still try to re-enact your vacation at home!
There are plenty of ways to re-enact your trip at home, or take a vacation without leaving your house! Here are some examples of how you can re-enact your vacation from home:
- Cook a meal inspired from your vacation. For example, make some home made pasta if you were going to Italy, or make some pad Thai if you were going to Thailand. Although it won’t be exactly the same, it could be a fun experiment! If you aren’t the best chef (or the meal ends up burned!), maybe opt for some takeout! You can also get a bottle of wine from the country or state you were going to for the full effect!
- Listen to culturally inspired music. To set the mood, find a good playlist of traditional music that is listened to at your cancelled vacation destination. Spotify has plenty of top playlists from different countries, so search and enjoy! Maybe even dance your sadness away! Youtube some dance lessons and learn something new!
- Get some sun! Chances are, wherever your vacation was supposed to be, it was going to be sunny and warm! Just because you are at home now, doesn’t mean you can’t catch some rays. If it is warm enough at home, spend some time outside, as the sun can help make you happier! Maybe even take a trip to the beach, or go hiking!
- Go on an adventure. Just because you are stuck at home, that doesn’t mean you can’t scratch that adventure itch! Go somewhere new in your home town, explore a new park, or try a new restaurant!
Vacation at home or in your home town
Sometimes if you have a cancelled trip, you are now left with a week or weekend with no plans whatsoever. If you plan to stay home, you can still have some fun! There are plenty of ways you can go on vacation without leaving your home, or even become a tourist in your hometown!
Here are some examples of ways you can vacation at home or in your hometown:
- Try something new. If you are anything like me, there are TONS of things in my hometown that I have still yet to do, even after living there for years! Go to a local museum, try a new restaurant, or take a river cruise. Try to find the most touristy thing in your town, and do it!
- Pitch a tent. Who says you can’t go camping in your back yard- or your living room! Create your own adventure, and go camping in the comfort of your own home. Don’t forget the bonfire and marshmallows!
- Research local events. Many cities and towns nowadays have websites dedicated to providing visitors and locals with the latest events, festivals, concerts, etc. Check out anything exciting that is happening in your area! Facebook events is another great source for finding local happenings!
- Have a spa day. Take some time to relax after these stressful days of re-booking! Get some bubble bath, a nice face mask, or even book yourself a massage! Do your nails, practice yoga, or just take a nap! You deserve it!
Plan a mini-getaway
Instead of hopping on a plane and going somewhere far away, use your pre-planned time off to take a mini-getaway! This will help take your mind off your cancelled trip, while still getting you out there and traveling.
Take a road trip somewhere in your state (or farther!), or go camping and enjoy some peace and quiet. Maybe book a cute bed and breakfast or Airbnb! It doesn’t have to be too far away- even the next town over could be a fun adventure. Or, go all out and take a long trip!
If you cannot go right away, plan a mini-getaway sometime in the near future- you need something to look forward to after these unfortunate events! Having something to look forward to will help keep you motivated and will help keep your mind off your unfortunate cancelled trip.
Take a virtual vacation
While taking a virtual vacation is not exactly like being there, it could help a little bit! There are tons of live cams around the world, so search your destination, and pretend you are there!
This is awesome especially if your home town is cold or snowy, you can pretend you are on the beach! While you’re at it, listen to a live recorded concert, or take a trip around the world via webcams! Hey- its better than nothing!
There are also many websites that give you access to free virtual tours of attractions and museums, so see if those are available. You can always search on Youtube for virtual tours as well.
Save your refund
If you were lucky enough to get a refund or voucher, consider saving it for next year. Maybe this year your vacation plans were ruined, but think about the epic vacation you can plan for next year!
Act as though this money was already spent, and save it for planning a double vacation next time! Who knows, you might be able to go for longer next year, and see more of the world! It might be hard to save it, but try to keep the end goal in mind: an epic vacation to make up for your cancelled one!
Thank you for reading things to do if you can’t go on your trip. Hopefully this never happens to you, but if it does, we hope you have gotten the information you need! What have you done that has been successful when your vacation has been cancelled? Have any comments or question? Leave a comment below- we would love to hear from you.