Here we are in mid Nov 2020, the year of the pandemic. Vacation travel has ground to a halt. Americans still are not allowed to fly to Europe. Cruise ships are still not allowed to sail from US ports without CDC approval, none of which has occurred. Most of the western world is seeing yet another surge of COVID 19 infections. Yet...maybe, just maybe there's a ray of hope. We've had good news on the vaccine front. The medical community has learned a lot about how to treat those that are infected and fatalities are way down. We've learned how the virus spreads and therefore what therapeutics and mitigation measures work best. Testing has become more widespread and effective. And the world is starting to learn how to live with the virus without the harsh shutdowns we all experienced early in 2020.
With that as a background, I'm happy to report that a few of my clients are actually starting to think about travel again. I'm starting to get some bookings for 2021 and especially 2022. We've written previously about the efforts the cruise lines are making to make travelers feel safer. Several travel suppliers will be bringing out their 2023 schedules shortly. People are starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel.
What this means for you
First, like many people, you can't wait to get out there and travel. As long as it's safe that is. Second it means that you're not the only one that keeps checking your favorite bucket list location. Plenty of others are doing so as well. And it means its OK to plan ahead. Here's one timetable: By summer of 2021, vaccines will be widely distributed, ships and travel destinations will have CDC approved protocols well established such that passengers will feel (and be) safe. Thus booking late 2021 or 2022 travel is a reasonable approach.
Virtually all travel suppliers I deal with have become very flexible with down payments, travel protection, cancellation terms and rebooking procedures. And I've generally stopped dealing with suppliers that are not flexible. Thus your risk becomes small by booking ahead. Some travel will be discounted to generate sales, but don't count on that. Inventory will be low, perhaps for years to come. So availability might be more difficult. And the suppliers costs will have increased due to COVID mitigation measures. Flights will be less plentiful and thus harder to get your prefered schedules. Booking early helps with both ensuring you get the right destination, the right cabin or category and the best schedules. And now with minimum risk.
Turning a corner
This is why people that are booking trips for 2021 and 2022. We all have our own risk - comfort level with travel right now. But we may be turning a corner if you're starting to think this. Don't get me wrong. Many of my clients are still apprehensious. Yet planning a trip in the future remains one of the things we can do now to help ourselves stay sane. Things will be different but travel will return. Egypt, Galapagos, European river cruises, Antarctic exploration, a trip to Japan or around South American...these things all will be there whenever we get COVID under control. After we've turned the corner.