Travelers who have trips booked to Puerto Rico shouldn’t be concerned, said Olga Ramudo, president and CEO of Miami-based Express Travel. She said any negative repercussions of the financial crisis likely will not be immediately apparent.
“I wouldn’t change (my plans) if I had something planned for two weeks from now,” she said.
She said she expects tourists will weigh their options more carefully as they plan future vacations, though — and will likely reroute to the Dominican Republic, St. Martin, Aruba and Miami.
“Miami may benefit from it,” agreed John Cook, president of QuoteWright, a travel insurance comparison website headquartered in Hartford, Connecticut. “I would suspect that if people are concerned about going to Puerto Rico, there are only two other warm places you can travel without a passport: That would be Miami and the Virgin Islands.”
For those still heading to Puerto Rico, Cook offered a few tips:
- Deal only with reputable tour companies and airlines.
- Pay with a credit card. The Fair Credit Billing Act allows consumers who pay with a credit card or charge card to dispute charges and receive refunds more easily.
- Buy travel insurance that offers “default coverage.” This option will cover a traveler if the tour operator, airline or cruise line goes bankrupt. Some of these policies are time sensitive, so look into them within a couple weeks of making the first deposit on a trip.