As a travel advisor with Destinations With Character Travel Services, the question of when families can travel again is at the top of my mind every day. My family and I had our own summer vacation planned for my 10-year-old daughter’s birthday (a cruise leaving from Puerto Rico, which has been cancelled). If it is safe to do so, we still plan to take a summer vacation, but it won’t be the international cruise that we had planned many months ago. While new guidelines to keep all of us safe during the ongoing pandemic may limit your travel options, they do not mean that you and your family can’t travel at all or that your travel plans need to be any less memorable.
So what will travel look like for my family and yours once the country starts opening up?
It’s time to explore the United States. It is likely that international travel will fall out of favor as people stay closer to the safety of their home. This will probably hold true for my family as we think about a possible summer vacation within a few hours driving distance of our home in Massachusetts (how far will my husband drive and still consider it a vacation?!). I believe that “staycations” and road trips will be favored over flying or cruising. This will probably hold true for the rest of 2020, or until a vaccine or treatment has been approved. The destinations of choice will be those that can be reached within a day’s drive and planned at the last minute. One I would recommend is a US road trip to a nearby national park. In the Northeast, Acadia, Cape Cod, the Adirondack Mountains and Niagara Falls all offer unique landscapes. Also, historic Philadelphia, Gettysburg, and Colonial Williamsburg are all bucket list destinations.
No harm in making it quick. A softer economy will mean the traditional two-week summer vacation could turn into a long weekend, but that is no reason not to take one. With the right attitude and approach, lasting memories don’t take two weeks to make, and time away with family (with phones and laptops put aside) should always be taken when you can.
Consider travel insurance. Trips will need to be subject to cancellation for the foreseeable future, as federal and state regulations can shift, especially if an unwanted resurgence of COVID-19 occurs as restrictions ease. A reputable insurance policy that includes the "Cancel For Any Reason" add-on will protect you if an operator goes out of business or if you ultimately decide you are not able (or don’t want) to travel.
Leverage existing airfare credits. One other question that I get asked a lot is what if I have an airfare credit for flights that were cancelled? If you have an idea of when and how you’d like to use the airfare credit (even if it’s for a trip several months away), I would recommend booking sooner rather than later. The deals are great right now, unlike any that have been seen in recent years. Plus, you should be able to take advantage of the airlines current flexible cancellation policies that essentially allow you to book “risk-free.”
One of the great things about living in the United States is that there is plenty of space for exploring, while allowing travelers to abide by social distancing protocols to keep everyone safe. Recent data suggests that Americans are warming up to traveling this summer and that many are thinking about hitting the road. That’s our plan and I hope that all of you can get back to exploring very soon!
Maryanne Walsh is a travel advisor with Destinations With Character Travel. She offers FREE travel planning services to all destinations including within the United States, Disney, Cruises, and International travel. She is a graduate of the College of Disney Knowledge along with other industry certifications. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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