Uncertain about upcoming travel? As the world reopens, Virago Journeys shares recommendations and FAQs for post COVID-19 travel
Thinking about travel, but still uncertain? You are not alone; many people have questions with regards to traveling post COVID-19. Below I compiled a list of FAQs and my recommendations and thoughts on each. With the uncertainty in the world, no one has concrete answers, so here I base mine on experience, research, and opinion.
Should I be planning a vacation for 2020?
First, travel restrictions need to be lifted. And it is difficult to predict where and when it shall be safe to travel again this year. It’s also important to keep in mind that flying now and, in the future, may require passengers to wear face masks for the duration of the flight and many countries may also require face masks to be worn in public places.
Deciding to travel once restrictions are lifted really depends on your risk tolerance. Only you know what you will and will not risk, and your safety and precautions taken are, in the end, your responsibility. Continue to wash your hands, still a good defensive measure.
My opinion is, yes, I will travel later this year in 2020, though it may be more solo journeys or girl weekend getaways, or small group weekend getaways, and definitely more “internal” travel, staying a bit closer to home instead of going abroad.
I plan on staying abreast of the travel restrictions, hoping to share with you places that are safer to travel to later this year. Each country has its own “bubble” and are slowly lifting restrictions within their country.
If I book a vacation and can’t travel, will a travel insurance policy cover non-refundable costs?
Definitive no. A pandemic is not a covered reason under any travel insurance policy. You can’t rely on being reimbursed for non-refundable costs from an insurance policy if cancelling because of COVID-19.
With that said, I still believe travel insurance is needed, especially for medical coverage, and it is one of the services I offer to my clients. You never know when something will happen, like an injury, or someone back home gets sick. The current Coronavirus crises is a perfect example of why you need travel insurance, as it’s not the responsibility of the hotel, airline, or travel agent if something happens to you during your travels. When buying travel insurance, be sure to read all the fine print, and find out what the cancellation policy requires you to do.
What should I do if I have a vacation planned for late Summer or Fall 2020?
When it comes to myself, I am not known for patience, and these past months have surely led to restless feelings, which I’m sure you feel too. My thinking for this early summer, however, is that the best thing to do is wait! The main reason for this is if the airline cancels your flights, you’re more likely to receive a full refund. Although some airlines are only offering credit vouchers even if they are cancelling the flights—know that you can demand a refund and not accept the credit voucher (they cancelled the flight, not you, so they owe you a refund, it may just take a bit more persuasion on your part—another reason to have a travel advisor in your corner, let me do the legwork for you). As far as your other services (transportation, day excursions, hotels, etc.), my supplier partners are following local laws which require them to offer a credit in full to be applied to a future trip.
For fall 2020, I am hopeful. Many events and planned travels have not been cancelled and as I see hotels and restaurants opening with limited capacity, this bodes well for the future.
How early should I begin planning a trip for 2021?
My thought is that you need to start planning now. Flight schedules become available 11 months prior to travel dates. That is always a good time to start planning. Most travelers who cancelled their plans for this year have postponed to next year. Thus, I envision many early bookings and many dates being quickly sold out throughout next summer. Also, booking now allows a bit more freedom and security since hoteliers, resorts, and airlines have updated cancellation policies in place that are a bit more palatable to clients. They want your business, they need your business, and they also want you to feel safe in traveling with them.
I am forever optimistic and have travel plans for spring 2021 trip to Italy, perhaps you’ll join me?
Will it be safe to travel on ocean cruises or group tours?
I have kept abreast of many of the cruise lines and their sanitary procedures. I commend them for their quick thinking and updated protocols, for I was on a Carnival Cruise in the beginning of March 2020 when the virus numbers started climbing, and passenger safety was their utmost concern. So yes, I would feel comfortable on an ocean cruise with thousands of people, though I know that might not be the same for many of you. Perhaps a river cruise to start would be easier since many have less than 200 passengers. Knowing about all the mega cruise ships stuck at sea during this Pandemic I personally would not feel comfortable taking an ocean cruise and being on a ship with thousands of people. There are so many other ways to travel!
As far as group tours, again it’s based on your risk tolerance. Will you feel comfortable on a bus with a group of 30 or more passengers? As a solo traveler myself, I prefer being in a group, though my personal tours tend to only have a max of 16 guests. You also have the option of our private custom tours which are designed around your preferences and always include private transportation and private day excursions.
It would be my honor to brainstorm with you and match you to the best destination for your future vacation. Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today. We’re all going to need an amazing vacation to look forward in the coming year!
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W. Anne Jones
A curious explorer, learning and growing. Join me as I travel the world one day at a time.