There is so much uncertainty about traveling after we move past our Covid-19 quarantine and I have been fielding a lot of questions from clients. I decided to compile a list of the frequently asked questions as well as my thoughts and what I am recommending on each. We may not have concrete answers right now to many of them, but I base my answers and recommendations on my personal opinion and experience.
Should I be planning a vacation for 2020?
Well, the first thing that needs to happen is travel restrictions need to be lifted. It is very difficult to predict where and when people will feel safe to travel again this year. Another thing to consider will be where you wish to travel and how you want to get there. It is important to keep in mind that flying will require you to wear a face mask for the duration of the flight. You may also find that you have to wear a face mask while out and about in your destination of choice.
Deciding to travel once restrictions are lifted really depends on your risk tolerance. For me, I am planning to travel in July with my family to the Grand Canyon. I also feel comfortable planning vacations for other families who wish to travel in the US. Until we know more and travel restrictions are lifted however, I am just not comfortable in planning new trips to Europe for the remainder of 2020. I will say that for 2021, I am very comfortable and actually believe NOW is the time. People who have had their vacations changed from 2020 to 2021 already have a head start in planning their European vacations causing space to be more limited.
Will it be safe to travel on ocean cruises or as a group on a guided tour?
I personally think the cruise industry will be changed for quite some time. Seeing the news day in and day out with cruise ships not allowed to enter ports of call or seeing the number of sick people on board gives me pause in recommending the mega-ships that are very popular. I’m talking about the ships that have 4000+ vacationers on them, I am just not comfortable sending my clients back to those ships anytime soon. So much thought needs to go into how to keep that many people safe from any illness let allow one that is so contagious as Covid-19. With that said, I would feel comfortable arranging for my clients to be on much smaller ships like an expedition, boutique, yacht, or river cruises. These ships typically have less than 2500 people on the high end down to 39 on the lower end of the people spectrum.
As far as guided tours, it really depends on your comfort level. Will you be comfortable being on a bus with 30 or more people? There are other options. A small group tour, or a custom tour that is designed around your preferences and always includes private transportation and private excursions.
If I book a vacation and can’t travel, will a travel insurance policy cover non-refundable costs?
Well, the short answer is it depends. The bottom line is that a pandemic is not a covered reason under any travel insurance policy. So you shouldn’t rely on being reimbursed for non-refundable cost from an insurance policy if you are canceling because you are fearful of Covid-19. If you get sick from Covid-19 and can’t travel, you would be covered. So the question really depends on the answer to why you can’t travel.
How early should I begin planning a trip for 2021?
Flight schedules become available 11 months prior to travel dates. Depending on the vacation I suggest starting planning 18 to 12 months prior to the date you would like to start your vacation. Please keep in mind that most travelers who canceled their plans or had their vacations canceled have moved their plans to 2021 so dates in the spring and summer of 2021 may be filled quickly.
How will travel change post-COVID? What can I do to safeguard my family while we travel? Are my travel funds protected?
I thought you might want to know specifically what my preferred supplier partners were doing to protect you when you travel, so I reached out to them. They were excited to share their answers in a short interview.
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