It's hard to predict what life will be like this summer. And, if you have summer vacation plans, you're probably wondering if you should cancel because of the coronavirus.
But you may want to hold off on canceling right now.
Mike Lorenz and his family were planning a big gathering in June to celebrate his parents' 50th wedding anniversary. They rented a house through Airbnb on Lake Michigan.
"We booked it back in February," Lorenz said.
But they ended up canceling the reservation because of concerns about COVID-19.
"We had a family discussion," said Lorenz. "My parents are old, they have some underlying health issues and we just didn't want to risk it."
The rental was for the weekend of June 19, and Mike thought canceling as early as possible was the right thing to do.
"We reached out to the hosts," he said, "and the hosts were wonderful. They said our cancellation policy is to cancel within 48 hours of when you book, but this is a ridiculous circumstance, so yeah, no problem."
The hosts put aside their strict cancellation policy and refunded Mike more than $1,500.
But Airbnb wouldn't return his $225 service fee, so he reached out to NBC10 Boston Responds for help.
The company has been providing coverage for COVID-19 under its "extenuating circumstances policy," which has been updated a couple of times as this situation has unfolded.
Currently, reservations made on or before March 14, with a check-in date between March 14 and May 31, are covered and may be canceled for a full refund or travel credit.
Mike's June booking was outside that window. Had he waited a little longer, it's possible that the company would have extended the travel window for reservations eligible for the refund or credit.
"I thought the company would be a little more forgiving than the host would be, to be honest," Lorenz said. "So we made a calculated risk and it burned us a little bit. I hope others know that and will pay attention because $225 goes a long way, especially right now, with people being out of jobs and losing income."
Airbnb tells NBC10 Boston that they "encourage guests who are looking to change future travel plans now to communicate with their host via our secure messaging tool to discuss cancellation or reservation alterations."
A company spokesperson added, "We appreciate and are committed to supporting hosts who are willing and able to offer refunds on cancellations that would have otherwise been subject to charges."
Before you cancel summer travel plans, take a close look at the specifics of your booking company's cancellation policy. Policies will likely change as the summer nears and waiting to cancel may make a difference in how much money you can get back.