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Spring Break Travelers Eye Mexico Sun, Though Covid Remains Top Concern – Forbes Advisor

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Many Americans are looking forward to getting away this spring after two years of Covid restrictions. And most of those spring break pleasure seekers are looking beyond the US borders.

More than 80% of travel insurance purchases for trips in March and April are for international trips. That makes up 77% of travelers, according to Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison provider.

The percentage of those traveling internationally is a massive jump from 2021, though slightly less than in other past years.

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Domestic vs. international spring break travel trends

Where Is Everyone Headed?

Mexico is the top international destination for spring break travelers this year. South of the border has been the leading global spring travel location over the past few years.

Italy and the Philippines round out the top three international travel destination spots. Italy has surged back into the Top 10 after dropping out completely in 2021. (It held the No. 3 spring break spot in 2020 and 2019.)

The Philippines jumped into the top 10 for spring break for the first time in recent years.

Note that the US State Department currently has “do not travel” advisories due to Covid for all the destinations below.

Top spring break 2022 destinations vs. 2021

Trip Spending on the Rise

The cost of spring break trips is at a high point compared to recent years. The average trip is costing slightly over $5,000 this year.

Wanting to protect that investment, travelers are also spending more than $300 on average for travel insurance.

A travel insurance policy can help if you have to cancel a trip, you get ill while traveling, your luggage gets lost or multiple other travel-related problems.

Here’s how this year’s spring break trips compare to recent years.

Average spring break trip costs, length and travel insurance

Covid Remains Top of Mind for Travelers

Finding a travel insurance plan that includes coverage for Covid remains a top priority for travelers. Thirty-eight percent of travelers (nearly the same percentage as last year) searched for Covid-related coverage before making their travel insurance purchases, according to Squaremouth.

Related: Best Pandemic Travel Insurance

“Cancel for any reason” travel insurance plans have become more popular in recent years as the world faces Covid-related travel impacts. “Cancel for any reason” is the second most popular search filter used by travel insurance shoppers, but those searches are down compared to last year.

Travelers also are showing more interest in travel delay insurance than in previous years.

Top search terms by travel insurance buyers

How to Buy Travel Insurance for Spring Break Trips

A comprehensive travel plan includes a range of valuable coverage that safeguards your trip investment and helps with travel problems. Whether you’re traveling during spring break or any other time of year, the best travel insurance plans will include the following.

Trip cancellation insurance

You can be reimbursed 100% by trip cancellation insurance for prepaid, non-refundable money you lose. To make a claim you must cancel the trip for a reason listed in your policy. Make sure your travel insurance plan covers Covid-related trip cancellation.

“Cancel for any reason” coverage

This type of coverage is an optional upgrade that allows you to make a trip cancellation claim regardless of the reason. “Cancel for any reason” coverage typically reimburses 50% or 75% of your lost trip costs. It adds an average of 50% to the cost of a travel insurance plan. You usually have to purchase this coverage within a couple of weeks of paying your first trip deposit.

Travel medical insurance

If you get ill or are injured during your trip, travel medical insurance can pay for emergency medical expenses, up to the limits in your plan. These expenses can include doctor and hospital bills, X-rays, medicine and lab work.

For instance, if you’re visiting Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula, and while walking along the rugged shoreline of the Amalfi Coast you trip and break your ankle, you can file a travel medical insurance claim.

Be sure to verify that your plan also covers Covid-related medical issues.

Emergency medical evacuation travel insurance

Emergency medical evacuation insurance can pay for a medevac to get you to the closest medical facility that can treat your condition. In addition, the emergency assistance team at your travel insurance company can arrange for the transportation.

Travel delay insurance

If your trip is delayed due to a reason covered in your plan, travel delay insurance reimburses for extra costs—such as a hotel room for an overnight delay—up to the amount specified in your policy. Benefits usually kick in after a specified amount of time, which varies by insurance plan, but can be six or 12 hours. Coverage will have a per day and a total maximum benefit limit per person.

Travel delay benefits can also compensate you for unused accommodations and prepaid activities you miss because you arrive late to your destination. For example, if you forfeit a guided tour of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River on the Philippine island of Palawan, your travel delay insurance can compensate you for the money lost.

Travel insurance interruption

If an unforeseen event listed in your policy forces you to go home early, trip interruption travel insurance can help. It can pay for a last-minute flight home in an emergency and money that you lose by cutting a short trip, such as non-refundable activities and hotel stays. That means you can file a claim if you paid in advance to explore the Zapotec temples outside of Oaxaca after a guided tour of cantinas, mariachi clubs and lucha libre wrestling matches in Mexico City.

You might also consider “interruption for any reason” coverage, which is an optional upgrade that allows you to shorten a trip for any reason and be partially compensated for trip costs. For example, if you don’t have Covid but are forced into quarantine while traveling and miss out on part of your trip, you can file an “interruption for any reason” claim.

There is generally a waiting period of 72 hours or more from when your trip starts before “interruption for any reason” coverage goes into effect. Reimbursement is 75% of your additional costs after cutting your trip short, plus the money you lose on unused and non-refundable parts of your trip.

Baggage travel insurance and personal items

Baggage travel insurance can compensate you up to your policy limits if your luggage is lost, damaged or stolen. It reimburses the depreciated value of your suitcases and your belongings. Not all personal possessions are covered, so be sure to check your policy for exclusions such as jewelry.

If your bags are delayed, baggage delay insurance can reimburse you for the cost of necessities you buy during an unexpected layover. There is usually a waiting period before this coverage goes into effect—for example, six or 12 hours.

Related: Understanding Travel Insurance Coverage For Covid Test Problems, Border Closures, Travel Advisories And Quarantines

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