As travel disruptions are beginning to mount, we wanted to reach out and share a few best practices on handling trip changes and cancellations related to the COVID-19 outbreak. To assure we all stay in coordination, following are a few recommendations we would like to offer at this time.
- If you have not already booked your grant funded travel, please refrain from doing so until further notice. We are in an unprecedented situation, and the cost savings of booking early do not seem worth the cost risks in the current environment.
- Stay in close coordination with the POC(s) for your grant-funded travel. Act proactively as soon as any of your grant-funded events are cancelled or postponed.
- Cancel HOTELS as soon as possible after an event cancellation or postponement. Please ask to have any fees waived. Even if you booked a non-refundable rate (never a good practice for grant-funded trips), in most cases you should be able to secure a refund, future credit, or a no-charge cancellation (given the current circumstances).
- Cancel AIRFARE whenever possible and obtain a refund (be sure to ask!). If a refund is not possible, please cancel your booked trip and obtain a full credit for future travel. IMPORTANT: When cancelling airline tickets, please do not re-book postponed trips at this time, until we have a better feel for how long travel disruptions will remain. Most airlines are currently allowing no fee credits for use through 2020 and beyond, but only allow one fee-free change.
- If there is a pressing need to have any travel costs reimbursed at this time, or to have changes made to subawards for future travel, please reach out to AFDO at (850) 583-4593 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you can wait until future event plans are more clear before reimbursement or subaward changes, even better!
- Last but not least, keep good records regarding any costs that you cannot get refunded. Dated emails and announcements for cancellations or jurisdictional travel bans, and dated documentation regarding cancellations and refunds (or problems getting refunds), will be an important part of the reimbursement process.
Best of luck. Stay safe, and reach out with any questions or needs.