With summer vacation time upon us, the world as we know it has changed so much especially regarding travel. I am a travel writer and attend two travel conferences each year both which are postponed. The travel industry is decimated by this pandemic but there are signs of hope. The travel industry is eagerly awaiting the on switch and will be ready to go. Trending right now is “Road Trip Vacation” which would be my recommendation for summer travel.
My recommendation for summer travel is road trip only and I would really think it through. How bad is the pandemic in your area? How bad is the outbreak where you are going? I just returned from a trip via flight due to a family emergency and I would not recommend flying at this time unless for an emergency. Hotels are open and have really stepped up their cleaning and sanitizing. Restrictions are loosening up around the country but most restaurants and attractions such as amusement parks, museums and sporting events have not.
This is the year to plan that outdoor vacation. Rent a cabin or vacation rental at the beach and bring your food with you. I grew up traveling with a large family, so we often brought food on vacation. My mother would make large casseroles and freeze them. She would pack it all in a cooler with lots of newspapers on top to hold in the cold. You must judge what is safe for your family, but I think being in the outdoors with lots of social distancing is doable. Just be aware that a vacation rental or cabin may not have the higher cleaning and sanitation that major hotel chains have enacted. A can of Lysol goes a long way as well as disinfecting wipes for high contact points like doorknobs.
Book now! This is where military families can really benefit. Travel a year out is always a risk for us with the “mission” messing with the best laid plans. Usually a change involves costly fees but not currently. I recommend you book flights now for Thanksgiving or Christmas and start thinking about Summer 2021 vacation plans.
Airlines are offering no fee flight cancelations or changes if you book by a certain date. You will then have until a certain date to rebook in some cases six months to a year later. The dates are changing constantly. You won’t get a refund, but you will have flight credits. I had to cancel a trip in May and at the time if I booked by April 30 I could cancel and rebook up to February 2021. I lucked out as my new flight in November was much less expensive than my original flight, so I had left over money to book another one.
Cruise lines are also offering great change policies but like the airlines no refunds. Deals on future cruise travel are some of the best I’ve ever seen, and many are offering low or 2 for 1 deposits. We never felt comfortable booking so far out and went for the last-minute deals but then you get what is left for cabins and all the great tours and meal reservations are already booked. Now you can book ahead and get some great perks. Look for air credits as well. I really believe the cruise lines are going to learn from COVID-19 and up their cleaning protocols. In the past few years I have taken cruises and hand sanitizer is everyone for use before meals etc. and I think now people will be more consistent using it.
No one knows what the future of travel will be. On my recent flight the rules changed from the day I flew out to the day I flew back, and masks are now required on all flights and waiting areas in the airport. I am a member of a variety of Facebook travel groups and one thing people mentioned repeatedly was that their travel insurance did not cover pandemics. Travelers also had more difficulty making changes and getting refunds from third party bookings versus those booking directly with a hotel, airline, or cruise line.
I am planning a few weekend road trips but not venturing too far this summer. I have booked fall/winter flights for conferences and a big bucket list cruise for May, 2021.
Marguerite Cleveland is a freelance writer who specializes in human interest and travel stories. She is a military brat, a veteran and now a military spouse. Her military experience is vast as the daughter of a Navy man who served as an enlisted sailor and then Naval Officer. She served as an enlisted soldier in the reserves and on active duty, then as an Army Officer. She currently serves as a military spouse. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. Visit her website www.PeggyWhereShouldIGo.com