It has been almost 10 months since the coronavirus entered the US and during this time the travel industry has taken a huge hit as borders closed, plans were canceled or postponed, people just stayed home. Compared to a year ago, the industry is a shadow of its former self.
But now there is a vaccine solution, and it brings hope. Hope that we can resume some of our normal lives. Hope that we can see loved ones again in person. And yes, hope that we can travel again. Travel will likely make a comeback in 2021 and bookings for 2022 now show great promise of a continued rise. Which is wonderful news for my beloved industry but comes with a sense of urgency for the traveler. Increased hope means you should be looking at your options now rather than adopting a wait-and-see stance.
Here are the reasons planning and even booking now could be the better choice than holding off until later this year.
#1 Most flights FOR NOW can be changed for free.
One of the silver linings of 2020 was the lobbying effort done by the travel industry to get major airlines to drop their change fees on all domestic and most international itineraries departing from the US. (but if you are booking a basic economy lowest fare ticket, this may not apply). Remember, this is for changes, not cancellation refund. For a refund, either the airline has had to have cancelled the flight or you paid a higher fare for the ticket to include refunds. I can help you decide. NOTE: While the change fee is waived, you’ll still have to pay the difference if the fare is higher when you rebook. If the fare is lower, some airlines offer a credit for the difference, others don’t, so I can help you figure out the best solution for you.
Benefit to you: FLEXIBILITY and no risk of losing your money if you are not comfortable to make the trip at the planned time. It could be worth locking in a great deal for the future- even if you have to pay more in air fare should you postpone, at least this portion can be considered a substantial down payment and is a smart investment.
#2 Great deals are happening now
I don’t usually suggest shopping by best deal for travel – often it cheapens the whole experience. But airlines are doing everything they can to get people to book. You and I can watch for flash sales this month that can apply to travel later in the year. And here’s cool news: award availability for frequent flyer miles and point is more open now than it has been, and most airlines aren’t charging a fee to cancel and award ticket and get your miles back. Worth the search, no?
Benefit to you: saving on airfare gives you more money to invest in really great travel experiences.
#3 Travel cards and travel insurance can protect you if you get sick
Now, most insurances or card policies won’t allow for you canceling your trip because of a pandemic. But if you want that assurance, there are policies that include Cancel Any Time if purchased at the right time in your booking process. Again, I can help. But if you get sick from the virus BEFORE you travel, your credit card insurance or your travel insurance can help you recoup the nonrefundable portion of your trip. If you get sick while traveling, the right policy coverage can help with the necessary medical costs, extra accommodation costs should you have to quarantine. There is even an insurance company I always have every year for my travels called Medjet that assists with getting you out of the country so you can get the help of your own health care provider. NOTE: Not ALL cards provide the necessary insurance, so do check the fine print in the one you use- and know I can always help with the right travel insurance coverage.
Benefit to you: having insurance on your investment is a good idea for any trip. While pandemics (and a few other things) were never covered, you do need assurance should you or a family member become ill before or during travel.
#4 More people are going to travel as the year progresses.
People ARE traveling, though not in the numbers they were a year ago. As the vaccine begins to roll out and as more is made available to greater sectors of the population, borders are going to open quickly. The economies need it. As travel restrictions lift, it seems highly likely that travel will ramp up in the second half of 2021.
And, more easily predictable, demand for travel will increase as more planes take to the skies. After being so cooped up, the demand for delayed travel is expected to explode. This means increased prices on air fares and fewer options for the traveler as availability of accommodations and best guides and experiences decreases with demand.
Benefit to you: It is better to plan and book now while demand is still depressed.
#5 The Value of Having Something to Look Forward to Cannot be Overstated
Quite frankly, mental health is just as important to maintain as physical wellness. It has been a tough year and with our determination and precautions needed, this crisis is not over yet. The planning and anticipation of a trip are just as positive endorphin-inducing as the actual experience itself, studies show. I can help make that experiential journey an easy and happy one for you!
Benefit to you: By working with me to plan and book your trip now, you’ll have something to look forward to at the end of (or as a deserved break from) the daily diligence you are experiencing this past 10 months and into the near future. An upcoming trip can be a mood lifter!
I am offering a special on my planning services for travel in 2021 and 2022 for a limited time. I plan exquisite private travel experiences for you and your “bubble” so that you are not only health-safe to the greatest extent, but also immersed in the best curated experiences just for you. I can only take on a certain number of clients per month for best service to each, so availability is limited and it is best to reserve your space now.
Last note: Even if you don’t feel comfortable traveling right now, or don’t have the flexibility to book speculative travel, don’t feel bad about that. A great use of this time is to build up points on your credit cards for later use. You can ask me how, and what cards can yield the best return for you!
Special thanks to CNN Underscored