As the “next normal” begins to take shape around the world, many travelers are itching to plan their next adventure. Still, others aren’t quite ready yet, and that's ok. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, here are five things you need to know NOW.
1. Pick Your Destination Thoughtfully
Take some time to ask yourself and your family/travel companions where you MOST want to visit next. If these past few months have taught us anything, it’s that we have no idea what could happen in the future. Allow yourself to dream big and finally plan that trip that sits at the top of your wish list.
2. Carefully Review the Terms and Conditions
Many hotels, resorts, airlines, cruise lines and tour operators have made their current booking policies much more flexible to encourage people to start making reservations again. This means you can start planning now with significantly reduced risk.
This also means it’s more important than ever to carefully review all the terms and conditions—especially during this transition time—because the policies for cancellations, changes and refunds change frequently.
3. Take a Closer Look at Travel Protection
We have always recommended travel protection because it provides important coverage while you’re traveling … from medical expenses to emergency evacuations to missed connections to lost luggage and more.
Lately, though, travel protection has become a controversial topic, especially related to coverage for cancellations.
Before the pandemic, most travelers purchased standard insurance to protect their travel investments. Unfortunately, most standard policies exclude coverage for epidemics/pandemics, which has caused much confusion and frustration as insurance companies have denied claims related to COVID-19.
Travelers who purchased Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) coverage, however, have fared much better because their policies did not exclude epidemics/pandemics.
But before you rush out and purchase a CFAR policy, keep in mind that insurance companies are reevaluating their coverage inclusions and exclusions and making adjustments based on lessons learned from the pandemic.
Going forward, it will be especially important to review and compare coverage details and pricing before deciding which type of policy to purchase.
4. Consider Private or Small Group Guided Travel
With so many unknowns about the future of travel, both domestically and internationally, one thing is clear: Travelers want to feel safe.
Yet it can become overwhelming, trying to keep up with all the latest information.
Will you be allowed to enter your destination? Will your accommodations be clean AND properly sanitized? Will the sites you want to visit be open AND safe? The list goes on …
When you travel with a reputable tour operator, you can rest assured that all these issues have been resolved ahead of time, and if something unexpected happens during your trip, they will resolve those issues for you, too.
Another plus: Your guides can give you exclusive access to popular sites, as well as lead you off the beaten path to avoid crowds.
5. Start Planning Now
We’re not sure how travel will change in 2021 exactly, but you can expect demand to be high. (Remember, thousands and thousands of people had to cancel their 2020 travel plans.)
You can also expect capacity to be reduced, which means availability will be much more limited than in the past.
So the sooner you start planning, the better your chances of getting your preferred dates, destination and itinerary.
If you consider all the points above and make thoughtful decisions, there’s no reason to keep putting your travel dreams on hold. After all, the anticipation of a future trip is part of the fun!