2020 is slowly marching towards the finish line and it can’t come soon enough! As we head toward the end of the year, it’s time to start thinking about traveling in 2021 and where you want to go on your next vacation. After all, the only thing better than being on vacation is planning it! But, travel is looking different and there are several things to take into consideration. Here are some of the top things you need to keep in mind when planning your next trip.
This is actually a great time to plan
Travel suppliers – airlines, resorts, tour operators – have been adjusting their cancellation and change policies to accommodate the ever-fluctuating COVID-19 situation. As a result, booking now will give you more generous flexibility in your planning. You may be covered under policies that may not exist in a few months.
Not all rules are created equal
Every component of your trip, the flights, resort transfers, hotel excursions, etc. have their own set of rules and regulations, and it’s important to know them. Some may offer refunds in the event of cancellation, some may offer future credits, some may charge a cancellation fee, some may not. Never assume that because one hotel fully refunded your non-refundable, pre-paid booking canceled due to the pandemic that they all will. Your travel advisor is there to keep track. At One World Family Travel, I love the fine print. That’s my thing, and I will make sure you are fully informed and nothing is missed.
You may not be able to travel everywhere
At this time you need to be realistic about where you want to go. Right now as of this writing, there are about 48 countries that are allowing Americans in, including most of the Caribbean. We are not allowed into most of Europe (there are some exceptions, such as Croatia) nor into our neighbor to the north, Canada. There is no indication when these restrictions will be lifted, especially since parts of Europe are re-instating many curfews and lockdowns. That does not mean you cannot plan a trip to these places. Just be aware that there still is the possibility you may need to reschedule.
For example, I have 2 large vacations planned for 2021 – a trip to London and Munich that was rescheduled from this year and includes tickets to the Euros at Wembley which was rescheduled from this year, and a transpacific cruise from Honolulu to Sydney. I have no idea if we will be able to take those trips – Australia has a very strict ban on foreign travelers entering the country and absolutely no cruises to or from there until the end of the year. It’s very possible that can be extended into 2021. But I will just move forward with our plans until I am told otherwise.
Be aware of the entry requirements
You may have new entry requirements, depending on where you want to go. Many Caribbean islands are requiring a negative test taken within a certain period of time before travel. The Bahamas requires you to upload your test and request an online health visa. Aruba requires guests from certain states to undergo additional testing upon arrival. Turkey, however, has no restrictions for US citizens visiting, except that you should be prepared to get checked for coronavirus symptoms. For domestic travel, Hawaii has opened up to tourists and lifted quarantine requirements but requires test results from trusted testing and travel partners.
Again, this goes back to the “fine print.” Your travel advisor will help you navigate the requirements and update you on any changes so you can focus on enjoying the trip.
Travel insurance is a must
Travel protection is always recommended, and it is more important now than ever. Now, most travel insurance companies will not cover cancellation due to COVID, particularly if you cancel out of concern or fear. It has been that way ever since it was named a pandemic. But they will cover you if you get sick from it while away. If you need to delay your trip or return home early, you can recoup your costs and your fees. Furthermore, many countries are requiring travelers to purchase insurance before being admitted. Aruba and Dubai are two such countries (Aruba requires specific Aruba visitors insurance). Your trip is an investment – protect it.
Enjoy the trip
I realize all of this sounds daunting and a bit scary, and I don’t mean for it to be. It isn’t. The key is flexibility. Plan your trip. Get caught up in the excitement of it. My role as a travel advisor is to help determine the best place for you to travel and to relieve the stress and burden of the planning so you can have something awesome to look forward to. Together, we can create a beautiful, dream vacation!
Note: This information is accurate as of October 16, 2020. Travelers should consult country-specific travel advisories via the State Department website or consult the CDC’s latest guidance. Canadian travelers should visit the government website.
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