• Whitney Cross Simon

Planning Your Next Trip in a Post-COVID Era

Finding moments of excitement, appreciation and joy feel more important than ever as we all grapple with the effects of COVID-19. For many, these moments come in the form of wine-fueled zoom chats with friends and family, taking on that bread recipe you’ve been wanting to test for years or just continuing with the parts of our routines that make us feel whole--yoga, morning coffee, reading a good book or binging a new show. Personally, I find these moments in reminiscing about the trips I’ve taken and planning for those that are to come.

Many of us have had trips cancelled, some that marked important milestones or have been on our bucket list for years. If COVID-19 has taught me anything, it’s to appreciate every single day we have and our ability to experience things and places outside of the four walls we live in. As we continue to shelter in place and look to understand what our new normal will be once COVID-19 is in the rearview, dreaming up our next trip can give us something to look forward to and inspire us to do our part to ensure the return to normalcy comes sooner rather than later.

As a travel advisor, I want to do what I can to answer your travel-related questions, provide guidance and encourage your love of travel. This in mind, I want to share some tips on planning those post-COVID trips we’ve all been dreaming of.

1. Consider Local or Regional Travel

While it’s difficult to predict when travel might begin to resume, it’s safe to say that local or regional travel that can take place via car will likely be first to resurface. If you’re itching to get back on the road as soon as possible, pull up a map of all the places you can go within a few hour radius of you. Have you been wanting to visit the lake town nearby, check out the next closest city or even explore your own town with a staycation? These nearby, weekend trips could be a great way to ease back into travel once the shelter in place has been lifted.

2. Create a List of your top destinations

Not one for easing into things? Start your travel destination bucket list! What continents have you been wanting to check off your list? Are there cultures and foods you’ve always wanted to experience or cities you’ve dreamt of visiting for years now? While you might have to wait longer to dive back into international travel, you can spend this time thinking about exactly where you want to go and what you want to experience.

For me, this list has been one that I’ve been building on for most of my adult life, but some of my top destinations include Istanbul, Sarajevo, Viet Nam and Colombia.

3. Get organized

Take advantage of the downtime by ensuring you have everything you need to make your next trip both safe and seamless. If you had to cancel a trip, start by making a list of all of the items you had booked to ensure you're not missing anything and leaving spent money on the table. Most airlines, hotels and tour operators have adopted flexible cancellation policies that allow for full refunds or credits toward future travel.

Looking to plan a new trip once we have made it out the other side? Spend time creating a budget for your next trip and ensuring your paperwork and travel documents are in order. While the US State department is still processing passports, there is a significant delay and all travelers are being asked to wait to submit renewals or new applications if possible. Keep this in mind as you book future travel, as this could impact your ability to fly or cross borders once the pandemic is behind us.

4. Connect with a Travel Advisor

While we all love to dream, planning a trip takes a lot of time and energy. Your time is valuable, and you shouldn’t have to spend it pouring over Trip Advisor reviews that may or may not hold merit. Working with a travel advisor not only saves you time, but it ensures that if something goes wrong on your trip or leading up to your trip, you have someone to go to bat for you and to get your vacation back on track. Additionally, an advisor can ensure that all bookings are made with airlines, hotels and tour operators that have flexible cancellations and strong travel insurance policies to keep your investment safe.

Together, we can spin the globe to figure out the best destination for your next trip. While many travelers come with their next destination in mind, others don’t. Take advantage of this time to schedule a call with me to share more about your travel style and vision. We can begin developing a custom itinerary for your next trip, identifying the best local restaurants and experiences to support when there and pinpointing exactly what you want your trip to look like, so when the time is right, all we need to do is press “book.”

Want to add a tip I missed? Leave a comment below or share how you’re staying energized about what life has to offer post-COVID. Most importantly, stay healthy and safe!

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