It goes without saying that travel has been one of the most impacted industries (if not the most) by the current Covid-19 situation. However, travel most definitely will return and a lot of people will be very anxious to get out and explore our beautiful world once again! Below are five tips for booking travel during this time of uncertainty.
Book Now, Travel Later
Although it might not be the best time to travel right now, it’s actually a great time to be booking travel! A lot of companies are offering incentives to book future travel, and one of the most compelling incentives is increased flexibility. Even “basic economy” fares with airlines which have notoriously strict change/cancellation policies can be be booked and changed under quite a few circumstances. There are also some great deals available at the moment, and another advantage of the increased flexibility means that if you book a trip and the price goes down, you can most likely rebook it at the lower price in the future and receive a credit (this wasn’t previously possible with airlines!).
Travel Where Social Distancing is Easy
“Social Distancing” is the phrase of the year (and decade thus far!) and we all know what it means. When traveling, some destinations and tours are more conducive to social distancing than others. Luckily all of our Slow Travel Tours partners place an emphasis on small group tours and often times visit more off the beaten path locations than your typical tour- both of these factors make it easier to maintain social distancing while traveling. Iceland is a great destination for this- the population density is only 6 people per square mile (and in reality it’s much lower in the majority of the country when you consider that nearly ? of the ~330,000 people live in the Reykjavik area!). Both our Iceland Highlights and Laugavegur Hiking tours take place in the countryside.
I have always recommended travel insurance (I personally have a yearly plan) and the current Coronavirus situation is a perfect example of why everyone should have travel insurance, even if you don’t anticipate any personal health issues! When booking your trip, ask if there are any policies the company you are booking with would recommend (there are two companies that we recommend to our customers, with pros and cons to both). Whenever purchasing a travel protection plan, be sure you’re aware of the terms & conditions and know when and why you will be covered. One of the biggest reasons why people are reluctant to buy travel insurance is because of the restrictions that can be imposed- consider a “cancel for any reason” policy if you have concerns.
Book Airfare with your Tour Company or Travel Advisor
When booking airfare, it can be very advantageous to book through your tour company or to ask them if there is a travel advisor they would recommend. It usually saves time and frustration, but even more so it’s extremely beneficial to you if there are any schedule changes or cancellations (we have quite a few clients who just needed to take a couple of minutes to tell us via phone or email that they need to change or cancel flights, and then we are the ones that spent hours on hold with the airlines!). In addition to it saving you time (and sometimes money), airlines are sometimes more willing to make exceptions to rules when the request comes from a tour company or travel advisor as they recognize they provide a lot more business than just a single traveler.
Read the Small Print
This is something that you should be doing already, but now it’s even more important to be aware of the terms and conditions that you are agreeing to. Policies change from company to company, and you always want to have (in writing) what the policy is when you book. United Airlines has been especially bad with changing their policies recently (sometimes in the customer’s favor, and often times not). Furthermore, in the rare event that you encounter an issue in the future and need to dispute the charge with a credit card company, having proof of the policies at time of booking will be very beneficial to you. On that note, I would recommend booking travel using a credit card instead of a check or debit card as this will add an extra layer of protection for you as a consumer.
Stay safe, plan your dream trip, and we hope to see you on a future tour!