We are ALL devastated now that travel has suddenly screeched to a halt. Whether you are a passionate traveler or a homebody, most of us have the need to travel at some point...it might be for a family special occasion, holiday celebration, business travel or a much needed vacation. Don't wait! Now is the time to start planning future travel.
With the appearance of COVID-19/Coronavirus, it's going to bring different elements to traveling and you have to be ahead of it in order to stay safe and still have fun. If you've had a trip cancelled or just need to get away, now is the time to get your spirits up and start planning a new adventure. But you need to be smart about it and be prepared for unexpected situations.
My Solid 13 Tips To Consider When Planning Future Travel:
1. Consider A Different Type Of Vacation Experience
It's no secret that I am passionate about cruising. There is something about gazing at the ocean from my veranda, enjoying fine dining, unpacking once while being swept away to a new destination every day. BUT we've all seen on the news how this experience can also harbor the unexpected and that might make you uncomfortable to get back out to sea right away.
In the meantime, consider a tropical all-inclusive resort. Choose the one place you've enjoyed the most on past cruises and find a luxurious resort to relax beachfront. You'll still enjoy water excursions, various activities, amazing dining venues, and first-class service. Or take a road trip to a beautiful mountain resort where you can indulge in spa treatments and winter sports.
I mention resorts because they are not usually quite as crowded as a cruise ship and there is a lot more space to spread out. For example, Baha Mar in the Bahamas is easy to get to and has packages with dining credits and activities the whole family will love (I've been looking into this one myself!)
2. Travel Insurance
Here's the deal. Now that COVID-19/Coronavirus is considered a pandemic, insurance companies will not cover trip cancellations or expenses for that reason. The only way that you can slightly get ahead of it is to put purchase "cancel for no reason" insurance immediately after making first payment on your cruise or vacation. I say "immediately" but typically you have 21 days after first payment. By doing this, if you have to cancel at the last minute because of a diagnosis of COVID-19/Coronavirus, you will still be entitled to a portion of your prepaid vacation back.
Recently Updated: Many cruise, flights, and hotels are now being extremely lenient with their cancellation guidelines. For example, Celebrity Cruises has Celebrity Cruises Cruise With Confidence that offer flexibility of rebooking or cancelling up to 48 hours before you sail. Princess Cruises offers a similar Princess Cruises Cruise With Confidence plan also. Many airlines are not charging a change fee. Also, hotel chains have a shorter term cancellation policy before you must forfeit your deposit and also they are generously extending their customer loyalty programs, knowing that you may want to postpone your travel.
Carefully look at cancellation policies when booking your next vacation to ensure you have the flexibility to easily change or cancel. Although I still always advise to purchase travel insurance so when you start your vacation, you are covered for any unexpected situations along the way.
3. Supercharge Your First-Aid Kit
I never travel without a first aid kit. It contains the usual bandages, antibiotic ointment, seasickness medicine, antihistamines, and pain reliever. Double up and then bring more.
4. Pack Extra Clothes
I've always been an over-packer but if you've tried in the past to get away with bringing 3 outfits for a 7-day trip, you might want to reconsider. If you are detained in your travels for any reason, most likely you won't have access to laundry facilities or shopping. Fold up a few extra pieces of lightweight clothing in a side pocket of your suitcase just in case.
5. Take The Time To Disinfect YOU
Many resorts and cruises offer laundry service. Even if there is a small fee, it's worth it to send your traveling clothes to the laundry as soon as you arrive to your destination. Once you unpack, take a long hot shower and put on your vacation-wear. Tuck your traveling outfit in a laundry bag (typically found in the closet) and have sent to the cleaners. Not only will you wash away all of the germs and dirt from traveling, but you'll start your vacation feeling refreshed and ready to go.
6. Bring Supplies
If you've learned anything while social distancing and self-quarantining, you should know to pack disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, gloves and a mask. Carry these items with you so that you can have available to clean your personal space while on an airplane, and cruise or hotel room. When you first arrive, pull out your disposable gloves and disinfecting wipes, then start cleaning. These are the areas you’ll want to hit:
ROOM (HOTEL or CRUISE SHIP)
Don’t forget to remove the gloves from the furthest edge and flip inside out, then wash your hands thoroughly. YES, it sounds exhausting. but abiding by this routine should give you piece of mind when settling in to vacation mode.
7. Travel Straws
It’s a win-win! Bring your own straw. Eco-friendly and metal travel straws allow you to drink your beverage without touching the glass.
BONUS: A copper straw keeps your cold drink perfectly COLD (especially in my favorite Royal Caribbean souvenir cocktail glasses!)
8. Bring Up To A Month Of Extra Prescription Medicines
A month might sound excessive, unless it's a life-saving medicine that you need to survive. If you can't get the actual medicine filled ahead of time, ask your doctor to future date a prescription to carry with you.
9. Know Your Escape Route
While you are away, unexpected things happen. There could be a pandemic (COVID-19/Coronavirus - who would have thought?!) or you get sick or need to get back to a family member at home. Always know your surroundings when visiting a new destination. For example before you cruise, research beforehand if there is an airport at each of your port stops and how often flights leave for your home airport.
10. Change Up Your Seating
When you fly in an airplane or ride on a train, keep in mind the window seat is less susceptible to germs. You are further away from others walking up and down the aisles. I know giving up that highly coveted aisle seat might be difficult, but sit next to the window and you are guaranteed to have the best aerial photos on Facebook.
Recently Updated: Many airlines are not using the middle seats for social distancing during COVID-19. For example, Southwest Airlines doesn't block them off so that families may sit together, but if it's empty, the flight attendants will not push for travelers to use them. Keep in mind, during the COVID-19 situation, face masks are required on most airlines. Don't forget to bring (not pack) a facemask, disposable gloves (bathroom!), gel hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes.
11. Avoid Buffets
This will be changing on it’s own in due time, but if a buffet doesn’t have a person serving at each station, order a sit down meal at your table. Never hesitate to call ahead to ask about the type of meal service available. The more a restaurant learns what is important to it’s customers, they’ll start making adjustments.
12. Where To Put Your Card Key?
Some cruise ships and resorts still use a card key system for room entry, identification, or scan for purchases, including food and beverages. Get a lanyard! I know...it’s not the most fashionable look. But with your card key on the end of a lanyard encased in a plastic sleeve, you can easily show it as it hangs from your neck. Even if someone has to scan it, they don’t touch the card and you can easily wipe down the plastic pouch at the end of the day.
13. Be Comfortable
Be comfortable in planning where you want to go. Use this time of insecurity to explore local resorts or take shorter flights. If you've given up seeing your family for momentous occasions because of circumstances, make a vacation out of visiting them.
Be comfortable in what you spend on vacation if your financial conditions have unexpectedly changed. I am a believer in regularly taking a holiday or vacation to remove yourself from the everyday routine and stress. Cut back on the number of nights away or find hotels in your desired destination that include complimentary food options or free nights with a minimum stay.
Be comfortable that restaurants, resorts, or cruise ships have the health-safety and medical needs you may require. Many times, this will be listed on their website, but be comfortable inquiring by phone or email beforehand.
Click on each name below for favorite cruise websites. Before you book, see if they have any additional requirements at this time before cruising:
Do NOT give up traveling! By following my solid tips to consider for future travel, you are doing all you can to prepare. Travel WILL come back, although it may look a bit different for a while. See what Travel and Leisure recently had to say about this. If you are ready to go, my travel guidelines should help you plan well, pack accordingly, and break a few bad habits while adding a few good ones. By being well armored, travel can become fun again and something you'll look forward to planning.
My Virtual Vacations Blog
About the Author
Thanks for cruising by! Along with creating this website and blog, I work in an office full-time and as a mom to two energetic teenage boys. With our family's busy work and school schedule, we look forward to traveling during holidays. Although it seems that our family can never agree on anything, we do when it comes to vacations. We typically travel on cruises or stay at luxury hotels. We enjoy upscale dining, beautiful decor, excellent service, and spacious accommodations. However, we still need family friendly and comfortable. When we are not traveling, I enjoy dining out locally, as well as cooking and baking in my own kitchen.
Virtually escape and start planning your next luxurious cruise vacation on land or sea with My Virtual Vacations. Contact me for any specific questions or recommendations. And don't forget to keep checking back for the latest blog posts and information. There are always more family vacations in our future!
You'll also find me on Cruise Critic boards as SunnyAJ. Let's connect!
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Our beautiful photographs are creatively captured by my talented freelance husband/photographer located in Baltimore, MD. Click here to explore more of his work.
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There is no stopping us! Even though travel has come to a halt, I'm rescheduling, planning, and preparing for the next phase of cruise and travel. Plus, I'm working on my website to add even more cruise and travel resources.
Meanwhile, we are anxiously awaiting our cruise to the ABC (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) islands with Celebrity Cruises over the holidays in 2021. As many of you, this is our 3rd reschedule and really hoping it's the last!
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