Travelers rejoice! After three months of stay at home orders, the world is beginning to reopen, and travel is restarting. We all miss that heightened sense of expectation at the onset of a new trip – what new things will I see and do? We miss the privilege of seeing life through a different lens as we engage with people from cultures different than our own. We miss the tastes and the smells and the sounds of the whole travel experience. As travel restrictions begin to subside, we’re itching to get back on the road of discovery, spend quality time with loved ones, and make up for canceled trips.
The travel industry is just as thrilled to be going back to work. Since the travel industry generates seven out of ten jobs globally, the necessary travel restrictions seriously compromised economics for individuals, businesses, and countries worldwide. The return of travel is a necessity for the global economy.
When Can You Travel?
Travel is indeed restarting, although international travel still has restrictions. This interactive Travel Regulations Map shows current restrictions. At the time of writing, most European borders are only open to other Schengen Member countries and essential personnel from other countries. Australia and New Zealand only allow nationals and permanent residents to enter; some countries like the United Kingdom require a 14-day self-quarantine upon entry. The rules change rapidly, so potential travelers need to be up to date.
An additional factor is the available air lift to destinations. Airlines are restarting travel by ramping up flight schedules. Demand plays a large part in their progress, so capacity will likely increase as people start traveling again.
Many 2020 trips that were booked long ago could not operate because of the pandemic. Thankfully, travelers often chose to postpone instead of completely cancel their trip, so Covington advisors have been rebooking those vacations into 2021 and 2022.
Where Are People Going?
Travel Maestro polled Covington vacation advisors to share real-world examples of travel restarting. We won’t share travelers’ or advisors’ names in the interest of privacy. It’s generally expected that Americans will prefer staying in the U.S., with national parks and wide-open spaces being popular. Behaviorists predict that many people will travel with family and by car, because of reordered emotional priorities and wariness of mass transport due to the pandemic.
Supporting this theory, our advisors are finding mid-Atlantic drive vacations popular. One three-generation family is vacationing together at a luxury home on Kiawah Island this summer. Another one is getting away together at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Pennsylvania in August.
Another family of four will rent an RV for a cross-country trip to visit national parks in July. A couple has chosen “glamping” at the luxurious Resort at Paws Up in the unspoiled wilderness of the Montana Rockies for restarting their travel.
A multi-generational family of 11 had originally planned a Montana summer vacation with family travel tour specialist Tauck Bridges. When Tauck canceled the tour, the family decided to postpone to a 2021 Alaska tour with Tauck Bridges.
Alaska cruises continue to be popular, but the whole 2020 Alaska cruise season was canceled, so new reservations are for 2021. The same is true for European River cruises. Adding an extra season’s worth of demand onto future sailings, on top of the cruise lines reducing ship capacities by up to 50% to allow for social distancing makes availability even more scarce. As a result, Covington advisors are seeing reservations go much further out, by necessity.
Contrary to the drive/USA predictions, Covington travelers are also choosing to go overseas. Since March, our advisors have booked vacations to Greece in July, the United Kingdom in August, Ireland in September, and Paris for New Years. New trips for 2021 include Japan, Hawaii, and the Caribbean. Travel reservations are far from robust yet but make no mistake, people ARE traveling.
Why You Need an Advisor
Your travel advisor will ease your reentry into travel by using his or her connections, experience, and knowledge of the travel industry.
One extended family of seven had a summer trip planned. The grandfather was upset when it became obvious they could not go so he changed gears and wanted to take them to Jamaica for the 2020 holidays instead. The problem was that ‘festive’ travel always has minimum stay requirements that they could not meet. Even booking in April (and during a global pandemic!), availability was limited. The Covington advisor worked directly with the General Manager at Half Moon Jamaica. to negotiate reservation dates. Without his advisor’s personal connections with decision-makers, the traveler could not have made that happen.
Those who have credits for canceled trips need to be creative about how to use them. Your advisor knows all the tricks of the trade. For example, Viking Cruises offered guests 125% credits for canceled sailings. One couple was already booked in a suite for their European river cruise, so there was no room to upgrade their rebooking. Instead, their Covington advisor rebooked the same suite category for the new date and rolled the extra 25% credit onto the airfare. The clients upgraded to business class with no additional out of pocket cost. Another couple did upgrade their cabin; plus, at the suggestion of their advisor, added pre- and post-cruise hotel packages for a longer vacation with no extra cost. It would have been extremely difficult for these travelers to accomplish these feats without their advisor – if they even thought about it.
A third example sums up all the benefits of restarting travel. A couple booked a luxurious A&K Morocco vacation during travel restrictions and couldn’t go. They postponed it to April 2021 and had some credit left over. They had always wanted to go to Japan during cherry blossoms. Their advisor negotiated sold-out space on A&K’s Japan cherry blossom tour for March 2021 and apply the residual Morocco credit. The wife said, “We’ve worked hard all of our lives and there’s no point in waiting. Let’s do both!”
We’ve all missed travel. But the good news is travel is restarting! When you’re ready to get back out into the world, let us take you there.