Chances are you’ve had to cancel or postpone your spring and summer travel plans due to the restrictions and risks associated with coronavirus. You’re no doubt, disappointed. And you’re also far from alone. So many of us are struggling with the uncertainties surrounding the current situation.
We wonder when our lives will again approach something normal. And we ponder what that new “normal” will look like, especially when it comes to seeing the world. Now, as we move into the next chapter of the pandemic, you may have questions about a reasonable timeframe for booking future travel.
Although it might surprise you, now’s the perfect moment to plan your family vacation for 2021. Here are five reasons why you should consider starting now.
1. Travel Anticipation Is the Antidote to Travel Disappointment
Imagining your family’s next dream vacation makes it easier to accept this year’s dashed hopes. You’ll feel a sense of new expectation moving forward and have something to set your sights on. Remember, too, that just because you start planning doesn’t mean you have to know precisely when you’ll go.
Nonetheless, you can research various destinations on your family’s bucket list, and you can reach out to a family travel specialist for inspiration and ideas. Then, when you’re ready to book, you’ll have a sense of who you want to work with and where your family wants to go. While we’ve paused this year’s international travel plans, consider it a chance to reset priorities and use this time wisely to craft incredible future journeys.
2. Immersing Yourself in a Destination’s Culture Heightens Enjoyment
You may not feel ready to make reservations at the moment, but that doesn’t mean you can’t begin to plan your next trip by exploring where you want to go as a family. Planning and anticipation are critical steps in the travel process, and you can get your kids involved in the research, too. From exploring destinations online to cutting out pictures from magazines and gluing them to vision boards, use this time to generate excitement about your next getaway.
Watch family-friendly documentaries and read great children’s books about the places you’d like to visit. Plan a destination night where you listen to music from your next adventure spot. Try your hand at cooking a meal using recipes from that region, and let your kids get involved in the process. Since we’re all homeschooling, consider it a fantastic way to work a little math (in the form of measurements) and home economics into your children’s daily schedule. Consider studying the language of the country you and your family have decided to visit. You’ve got time to make this a trip like none other, and your enjoyment will increase as you immerse yourself in the history, culture, and language of your 2021 destination.
3. More Resources Translate into a Better Vacation
What’s more, consider putting the vacation money you may have been refunded this year into your next getaway’s savings. These additional dollars could help your family visit exotic destinations you once thought fell outside of your travel budget, like Thailand and Cambodia. Or, they could translate into a longer vacation, like a trip to Peru’s Sacred Valley with additional days spent in the Amazon rainforest.
Delaying your vacation by a year also gives you more time to accrue enough points or miles to reduce your out-of-pocket costs for flights. You may find that award availability is better for your travel dates, too. Of course, there’s a caveat you need to keep in mind. Once travel restrictions get lifted, some destinations will likely see demand surges around specific dates as rebooking begins.
4. Booking Policies Remain More Flexible Than Ever
Airlines, cruise lines, and hotels have come to terms with the fact that committing to a trip is more difficult in the age of COVID-19. Even as countries move towards phased reopening, there are still many unknown variables. As a result, booking policies have never been more consumer-friendly or flexible.
Multiple airlines have shifted to temporary policies. They’re now allowing passengers to book flights through specified dates with the expectation of a full refund later. Many companies are even permitting changes into 2021. Combined with the fact that some of these companies are also offering fantastic deals, it’s a boon for travelers.
5. Incorporate the Travel Lessons You’ve Learned This Year into 2021
Although you may have missed out on the joyful parts of travel this year, you likely have newfound knowledge about cancellation policies, the importance of travel insurance, and more. Use this to your advantage when booking for next year.
For example, opting for trip insurance that comes with the “cancel for any reason” (CFAR) add-on coverage will cost you more. But it also comes with peace of mind you won’t get with most insurance policies. (Check out the list of exclusions with standard travel insurance companies to see what we mean.)
You should also use miles (if possible) when booking flights for easier cancelations. Keep in mind that many airlines also allow inexpensive or free change fees for top elite members. By removing the difficulties associated with canceling flights from the picture, you won’t feel as nervous when you speculatively book future travel.
Plan Your Family Vacation for 2021
If you’ve put your upcoming travel plans on hold and are taking a wait-and-see approach before locking in future reservations and bookings, you’re not alone. However, we’ve reached a stage in the game where there’s enormous value in planning your 2021 travels, especially when done carefully and with sensitivity.
Not only will it give you and your family something to dream about, but it will also show much needed solidarity with the small businesses and local communities that have been impacted by the pandemic. So, think of the time that you’re spending at home now as an opportunity to plan your family vacation and know that we’ll be here to help you make those dreams a reality when you’re ready.
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