It is hard to think about booking travel when there are still so many restrictions in place. Slowly, but surely, they are lifting. If you have a specific trip you'd like to take or are bound by specific vacation dates it is time to get into planning mode.
Here are four reasons you should be booking sooner rather than later, and some perks that help you invest in that much-needed vacation with lower financial risk.
Pent up demand
We all know there is pent-up travel demand. We all want to escape. We all want to explore.
What you might not have considered, is how this relates to booking your next vacation. With millions of vacations cancelled throughout 2020 and 2021, many people (many of you) have credits on file with airlines, cruises or tour companies. Many have already secured their trips for 2022 and some even into 2023.
With all of the rebookings, plus people booking extra vacations and those who didn't have a vacation booked but are now planning one, space is limited on many of the most popular styles of travel, such as River Cruises.
Travellers from the US are already taking to the skies.
It's easy to say, "so what, they aren't us," ... but this directly affects your vacations. With the travel rebound already a couple of months into action south of the border, US clients are already securing their 2021 and 2022 All-Inclusive Resorts, River Cruises, Ocean Cruises and group trips. That means MANY of these services are selling out, or at low capacity. The longer you wait to reserve your spot, or rebook your credit, the harder it may be to get exactly what you want as space is limited.
Flexible Booking Policies
Many companies currently have flexible booking and book with confidence policies that range from reduced upfront deposits, to free date changes, to final payments not being due until 30 or 45 days prior to departure. Please note: None of these are refunds. They are simply lower-risk options so you can feel more comfortable booking in advance.
Some companies have lifetime deposits, so you can cancel your trip prior to final payment and your deposit stays on file until you use it. Other companies have deposit protection plans that are normally purchased, but may be available for free on promotion. A lot of companies have implemented a Covid-19 clause to allow you to reschedule your trip if you are confirmed positive with Covid within a certain number of days prior to departure and provide proof.
Every company's policy has different rules and needs to be reviewed carefully.
Most important to note is that these flexible booking policies are available NOW. They are in place to help you feel more comfortable booking your trips in advance with lower risk. However, these flexible booking policies and promotional offers will not be around forever. Regular deposit, change and cancellation rules will return over time.
We are already seeing flexible booking policies with expiry dates, meaning that if you book before a certain date you'll have the added protection of the flexible policy, but if you book after that date, normal change and cancellation rules will apply. Or the flexible policy may apply only to travel completed prior to a certain date, such as June 30, 2022.
If you want to take advantage of the most flexible and low-risk options available, this summer is the time. I strongly believe many of these policies and offers will expire as the second round of vaccines is rolled out and international travel opens up.
Excellent Travel Insurance Options
Travel insurance is not just important, it is essential. I can't tell you the number of clients I had during the first months of the pandemic who recovered thousands of dollars per person in unexpected costs and in missed services because their vacation was cut short. If you don't have insurance, you have to cover all of these costs and losses on your own, all the while being in a difficult situation in an unfamiliar country.
The GOOD NEWS is that there are excellent travel insurance options available. From Covid-19 Medical Insurance, covering you if you test positive in destination, to Cancel for Any Reason Insurance, just in case life circumstances change prior to departure and you wish to cancel.
There is no good reason to travel without insurance. Whether you purchase it through me, or you have a private plan, make sure you are adequately covered. Not all insurance policies are the same and not all of them are adequate!
I am always happy to discuss insurance with you and can provide you with a list of questions to ask your current company to help determine if you have appropriate coverage.
With flexible booking policies and reduced deposits on many vacations, your insurance investment to protect your trip prior to final payment will be much less costly than you think!
When to rebook your vacation is a very personal decision. Not everyone is ready at the same time. I've been working with clients who are booked and hoping to go away as early as September 2021 through to clients who are already booked for September 2022, and everything in between.
By no means has the travel boom hit here in Nova Scotia. To be honest, business for me, is still slow as molasses, but the inquiries have started. I have already had to tell clients their preferred date and itinerary for a 2022 river cruise was sold out. I've had to tell others that prices have gone up since promotional rates only last a limited time.
I have clients booked to visit Norway, New Zealand, Amsterdam to Basel on a Rhine River Cruise, Iceland, the Italian Alps, France, Alaska, Panama, Greece and Australia. Let me tell you, they are all very excited to have something to look forward to!