You had to cancel your plans, your long awaited trip, your special getaway?! All is not lost. Here are some recommendations for how to keep your passion for travel going strong while you plan for your “post-virus-trip.” Lord knows we will all need a bit of a break and a change of scenery when this is all over and behind us.
- Keep all/some of your travel cash in a future trip account. AND/OR leave it on hold with the companies you booked with. You saved long and hard for that money and in terms of your budget or planning it is already spoken for… so the best plan to prepare for a future trip when all of this settles down is to Let It Ride! You can put it in a special travel savings account, or a big cookie jar, or in a debit card that you will use when you travel, but the key thing is to keep your trip money ready for when you are set to go! Another option if you are the trusting and altruistic sort is to leave this on account with the agents, tour providers, ticket brokers that you booked with. The travel industry was hit early and hard by this crisis and the massive requests for sudden refunds is extrememly hard, especially for small businesses. Letting them know that you will postpone your trip but letting them keep the cash for now and apply it to future travel is a nice way to keep your plans in the works, keep your reservations for the future and help a small company through the crisis.
- Look for different seasonal options. Chances are you had some special things planned that were unique to spring travel; cherry blossoms in Japan or a special event for carnival in Spain or Italy? All is not lost. Every region in the world has special events, seasonal foods, and unique experiences throughout the year. Spend some of your virus-down-time researching the seasonal activities unique to summer or fall when travel will likely be in full swing again!
- Add something new! This is just a postponement, right? So why not take the extra planning time to find something new that you have never done before. Not so much of a foodie? Research a food tour to really try something new. Always had a secret desire to take a ghost tour? See if there is something offered that you missed in your initial planning. You have time now to revisit your itinerary and try something that you missed in your planning first time around. Go for it!
4. Check for discounts and special offers. Economic down turns trigger lots of new offers. Hotels, airlines, tour operators are currently trying to see what Q2–3–4 will offer them after we get out of this tourism crash. To get bookings that they can count on for the future months there are likely to be great offers for booking early. Roll over some of that saved money from step 1 and rebook now taking advantage of offers that companies will be posting in the coming weeks. Set google alerts for flights, discounts, and your favorite luxury hotels. Offer to change a booking rather than cancel if the hotel of your choice can offer an upgrade. This is a good time to negotiate. Don’t be too hard on those small businesses that are already struggling but for sure your huge international hotel chains will be ready to offer special deals too help show some good post-virus projections for their shareholders and investors. Savvy travelers know that this is a great time to save on your transportation and accommodation!
5. More time to daydream. Managing stress is one of the hardest parts of times like these. If you love travel, then use your future trip as a topic for some relaxing daydreaming. Go old school and print out some images from the destination you will visit to to make a mood board. Go on Amazon and purchase some travel essays or a real paper copy of a guide book to take more time and really dig deep. Read some history about the areas you will explore. Often when we travel, even you real hard core planner types, we wish we knew more or had more time to research before going. Write some emails to the companies you had booked with, they have some downtime now too. Ask for more recommendations. Ask them for their own local tips. Let them know how much you are looking forward to coming when things return to normal. Your email will keep others hopeful too. Read, research, dream. When your trip happens you will an even deeper experience because of this unexpected delay and extra prep time!
Travel is usually hit early and hard in these kinds of disasters, but it is also the industry that is first to bounce back because once the dust settles we all need and deserve a vacation. See you out there exploring the world soon! In the meantime don’t give up on your dreams of adventure. They are not really cancelled, just a bit delayed.