Times of crisis always make us realize what is most important. As we have endured weeks of “Stay Home” orders, it has become apparent that two things top many of our lists: family and travel. Beyond the most basic needs of food, safety, and shelter, relationships are essential to our happiness. Social distancing has kept us from visiting family and friends, and we are all missing the human connections that enrich our lives. Missing travel comes close behind. For decades, the American public has shown through purchasing power that travel is considered a need, not a luxury item. The question is not if but when can we start making travel plans again?
When Can We Go Again?
The truth is that it’s still too early to definitively say when we will be able to travel again. Some destinations will likely open up earlier than others. The nation’s premier immunologist, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that summer vacations could be “in the cards,” but at present many travel restrictions and self-quarantining protocols are still in place.
As travel professionals, we know our clients are missing travel and there is an enormous pent-up demand. Everyone who knows how travel feeds the soul is looking forward to feeling that giddy excitement the night before a trip when the experiences and lessons learned are still anticipated. We can’t wait until the all-clear is announced so we can start exploring again. But we can start making travel plans and dreaming about the next trip.
Hopefully, by late summer we’ll be able to get away from home on vacation and business travel can resume. We expect the first wave to be close-to-home driving trips, partially because the airlines have reduced flight schedules by up to 90 percent and they’ll need to reintroduce capacity as demand warrants. Another reason domestic travel will likely be popular is that this pandemic has changed our normal patterns of living. People will need to ease back into what they once considered routine, including work and travel. Each traveler should make their own decisions about when and where to go as they feel comfortable, whether that is a weekend in a National Park to hike or a culinary trip to France. And when you are ready, to start making travel plans, we’ll be here to help.
What Do We Do Until Then?
Until the world is safe for travel again, we need to responsibly do our part to flatten the curve by staying home. But that doesn’t mean we can’t dream about our next trip and start making travel plans! After all, planning is part of the joy of travel, too.
Now, while you have plenty of time on your hands is the perfect time to do some long-term planning. Look ahead and map out potential vacation dates and places for a year or two. If there are definitive dates for a family wedding or graduation next year, now is a good time to check air prices. As airlines’ flight frequency returns, expect very good airfare offers. Be ready to grab them, because as demand recovers, so will prices! Just be sure you understand the change and cancellation conditions when booking in advance.
Is there a big trip on your bucket list that requires a year or more of coordination? Now you have time to research and budget for that special trip. Start making travel plans to include all the special experiences that you’ve dreamed of. Think about destinations that usually have scarce availability when you want to go, like a Caribbean villa for the holidays or a Baltic cruise in the summer. Savvy travelers are already starting to hold space for 2021 while there is plenty of availability on the books.
Dreaming of visiting new destinations and discovering what you can do there can be just as exciting as the actual experiences. But don’t stop there. Let your Covington vacation advisor know what you’re thinking about so we can be on the lookout for great deals that are certain to appear. When you’re ready to go, we’ll be here to help you get there.