The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything about our way of life, and travel is no exception. It was at a standstill for most of 2020 but with the emergence of new vaccines, many of us are hopeful that 2021 can include a bit more movement.
If you are planning a trip this year (for later in 2021 or beyond), there are a few things you should know.
1. Choose flexible fares and booking options
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that more than ever before, flexibility needs to be a key consideration. Travel guidelines and restrictions, and even if your plans appear to be set in stone, a positive COVID test or outbreak in your destination (or the region you live) can turn things upside down pretty quickly.
Fortunately, many airlines have dropped change fees, making it easier and cheaper to simply reschedule your flight if needed. Flight Centre’s savvy Travel Experts can walk you through your best options while planning your trip.
Also, we’ll be sure to help you check cancellation policies for things like accommodation, day tours, and activities.
2. Stay up to date on travel guidelines
As we learned last March, travel guidelines and restrictions can change quickly, so it’s more important than ever to stay aware of ongoing developments in both your destination and country of origin. Luckily, you don’t have to do this alone!
Check out Flight Centre’s regularly updated Traveller Resources Hub for travel tips and the latest health & safety protocols in your destination. As always, our Travel Experts are always just a phone call, email, or chat away. Just ask!
3. Travel insurance is essential
As travel agents, we have always considered travel insurance to be an important way to protect your trip. But it’s now more important than ever to make sure you have insurance to cover you for cancellations and the like as well as any medical reasons.
Because the pandemic is now a (well) known risk, most standard travel insurance plans won’t cover cancellations due to COVID-19. This is why we highly recommend choosing a “Cancel For Any Reason” plan for the best coverage and planning flexibility.
4. Book now to take advantage of flexibility and waivers
Many airlines, cruise lines, hotels, resorts, and tour operators have extended their COVID-19 waivers and extended flexible policies into the first few months of 2021, so it’s worth taking advantage while you can. As the world starts to open up again, this kind of flexibility we’re currently seeing likely won’t last, so make the most of it!
5. Understand the policies of your ticket
To help you navigate the changing world of travel, Flight Centre has committed to being beside you every step of the way – and that includes translating the fine print into regular-human-words!
Our Travel Experts can help you understand your rights as a consumer as well as which situations your waived change fees apply. Every travel company is a little bit different, so it pays to have an Expert by your side.
6. If you have travel credit, find out when it expires
The clock is ticking on your travel credits – make the most of them by booking with an Expert! At Flight Centre, we’ll help you put your travel credits to good use, even if you didn’t make your original travel booking with us. For better insight, value, service, and peace of mind, plan your next getaway with a Travel Expert beside you every step of the way.
7. Think local
One of the things we’ve noticed during the last year or so is that Canadians have found a fresh love for exploring more of the Great North.
Our Travel Experts can help you plan a homegrown holiday worth looking forward to, with inspirational tips and up-to-date information on your destination’s health & safety policies. Whether you’re looking for a cozy cabin in the woods, a whale watching tour, wine-tasting trip, or a last-minute Canadian flight, you’ll find more than you bargained for with Flight Centre.
8. Or dream big
Another trend we’ve noticed is that people are more ready than ever to book their bucket-list trip. Our Experts have been busy designing luxury vacations and epic adventures all over the world (even a few round-the-world odysseys)!
Our advice? Seize the day and seize the day’s prices, because they’ll soon be going up with the increasing demand.
9. Book early to get a great deal
Once the world officially opens back up with the international rollouts of the vaccines, EVERYONE is going to travel somewhere. In fact, we’re already seeing the availability for flights, resorts, and hotels get smaller and smaller for later in the year.
We can’t emphasize enough that today’s prices aren’t going to last much longer. So even if you’re not planning on travelling until 2022, use today’s deals to get the best value.
10. Get practical and admin-y stuff sorted now
Right now is a perfect time to do all that boring (but essential) stuff, so when you’re able to travel again, you pretty much just have to book your ticket. Check the expiry date on your passport – if it needs renewing, get it done. Update your luggage, if it’s seen better days. Consider getting an international driver’s license – packed trains and buses might not seem so appealing these days.