After COVID-19 brought travel across the world to a shattering halt in early spring, many travellers were left disappointed by postponed trip plans. Today, it’s hard for many people to know whether it’s still okay to book or re-book a trip for the fall or winter of 2020. So, we asked Rachela Pollock of Flight Centre Okanagan to weigh in with her expertise.
Many of my clients are asking me if people are still booking for the future and the short answer is yes! Some are still looking forward to getting away this year, while others have decided to focus on planning a great trip in 2021 or even 2022.
There are a few new factors to take into consideration these days before you book a trip. After 10 years in the travel industry, here is my take on the top 4 considerations I think will help the most when planning your future travels (especially if you’re not sure which timeline makes the most sense for you).
Tip #1: Be honest about your comfort levels.
This is number one on the list and not to be put any lower!
Booking a trip is supposed to be enjoyable and exciting; from the starting stages of finally saying yes, to researching the best spots and then booking your seat on the plane. Once the trip is booked, the last thing you want to do is stress over it, so if you are comfortable booking the trip now and waiting to see what will happen then absolutely go for it!
But if you feel like you’ll be checking the news and travel advisories every day while constantly worrying that the trip might not happen as planned – then I suggest you think about travelling at a later time. Everyone is different so be sure to ask yourself this first and foremost!
Remember, Flight Centre’s travel agents are beside you every step of the way. If you need a professional to talk to about your concerns and guide you through your options with complete transparency, don’t hesitate to give us a call.
Tip #2. You might have to swap your dates.
Okay, I know it’s hard to think about, but I’m going to give it to you straight because sugar coating is for doughnuts. There is a possibility that if you book a trip now you may have to postpone closer to your departure date. I have my own trips booked in October & December and I’m not changing them unless I am told that I 100% have to. BUT I have come to the realization that the trip may not happen on the original dates and I am comfortable with waiting to see how things play out (that’s why #1 is so important).
Of course, your choice of destination will be a huge factor in the likelihood of a last-minute change coming up. We’ve been keeping a close eye on all the international destinations that have opened to travellers from Canada. You can use our COVID-19 travel map to keep track of the health and safety policies in place, entry requirements, and even changes to the coronavirus rate. As always, feel free to ask Flight Centre’s Travel Experts to help you find the right travel destination.
Tip #3. Know the terms and conditions of what you’re booking.
This is key to lowering your stress levels! Knowing exactly what you’re booking, when payments are due and what is or isn’t refundable ensures you will not be surprised later. The more information you have in advance, the easier it will be to handle any travel advisories that may affect your trip.
Your Travel Expert is a great resource to help you understand what will happen if you postpone your trip. We can help walk you through how flexible your travel insurance coverage is, whether you can re-book without a fee, plus everything else you need to know about flights, accommodations and trip details.
Tip #4. Cash refunds are not always an option. But…
Travel suppliers are offering more flexibility than ever before, but each airline, hotel, tour company or cruise line will have different terms in case of cancellation.
If you don’t like the idea of paying up-front and then potentially getting a future travel credit rather than a cash refund, ask your Travel Expert about deposit options. Most all-inclusive packages can be purchased with a $250CAD deposit per person or less and the remainder isn’t due until 60 days or so prior to departure (depending on the product).
This can secure your price and give you plenty of time to not worry about what changes are happening. Although deposits are typically non-refundable, right now most of Flight Centre’s industry partners are offering future travel credits for people that cannot travel due to COVID-19. Booking now with a deposit secures your spot on a future trip with more flexibility.
These are a few things to keep top of mind when planning your travels for the future. People are booking for later in the year and there are policies in place to give you a sigh of relief with credit options and travel insurance coverage specific for cancellations.
As a person who loves to travel, I am the first to admit how challenging this feeling of uncertainty has been. But dreams of travelling again are coming true. Stay well and don’t stop dreaming!