Updated: Jun 22
Jamaica just opened its borders to international travelers on June 15. So why were there 30 people stranded at the Miami airport, denied boarding for their ticketed flight to Montego Bay on June 16? Because they did not know that there is a new Travel Authorization form, a medical clearance that you must apply for online prior to travel; it is collected by the airport staff before you can get on any plane bound for Jamaica. 'New normal' right? Why did I start off my article with that depressing story? Because it is yet another example of why using a professional travel advisor is even MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER as travel reopens in our post-COVID world. If those 30 sad and angry folks who were left behind at the airport had booked through their trusted advisor, they would have been informed of the new restrictions and given the link to apply for and print the new authorization form well before departure. It’s simply what we do! I could go on with more stories of quarantine nightmares and denied entries, stranded passengers and disappointed vacationers, but I think I’ve made my point. So, here are my top five reasons why you need a professional travel advisor as a trusted partner in this new travel climate:
1. Just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD. I am referring to winging your vacation without professional guidance. Travel advisors have the resources to stay up to date on the ever-changing entry and quarantine requirements at every destination. Policies are literally changing moment-by-moment and it is important to know the risks of finding yourself in an unexpected situation or being left behind in an airport terminal. Also, just because a resort or island is 'open', doesn't mean things are back to 'normal' as you may have known them. You' ll need to know what your actual experience is going to be like. Are masks required? Are all the facilities and amenities available for use? Will the kid’s clubs and waterparks be operational? Without buffets, what are the food & beverage options? I can get that info for you so you avoid expensive disappointments!
2. I have the current intel on which travel partners are trustworthy and fiscally sound. No travel advisor can guarantee that a company won’t default or declare bankruptcy in this crazy environment, but I have connections that flag the companies that seem to be in trouble, and I add them to my “do not sell” list. If the worst does happens, I can help you secure a refund or resolution to the best of my abilities. Most importantly, you won’t face it alone. I often mention to folks on the fence about using an advisor that there are MANY details of their vacation that they have not thought of; supplier default is one of those things.
3. I am part of a larger network of advisors, so I hear about which resorts, airlines and destinations are going above and beyond to adapt post-COVID wellness policies to protect your health and well-being, and which ones are not. You want to feel safe and secure wherever you may travel, and I want the same for you.
4. I have some great suggestions for amazing travel experiences that you can have RIGHT NOW. There are some totally mind-blowingly beautiful destinations and resorts right here in the USA that you might miss if you always take off for Mexico all-inclusive resorts every chance you get. And those are wonderful, but check out the US National Parks; visit Alaska on a small expedition cruise ship with fewer than 50 fellow passengers; imagine laying out in grassy field on an upscale ranch in Wyoming viewing more stars in the night time sky city-dwellers can imagine! There are some fabulous options that you might not have ever considered…and I would love to help you get out of your house and live again – safely!
5. Peace of mind before, during and after your travels…kind of like a personal backup system! If you run into any hiccups or need reassurance while away from home, you have my phone number! Delayed/cancelled flights? Text me while you wait in line at the airport and I'll try to get you rebooked before you even reach the desk. Is your “ocean view” suite actually overlooking the resort’s plumbing facilities? Let me work out a relocation with the front desk if they don’t respond to your complaint. Try getting that kind of service from one of the big-box store travel departments, or online booking engines! I'm always your best advocate because I'm invested in your travel experiences, and I truly care about your vacation memories.
If you found this helpful, you probably know someone else who will. Share this with them (in the menu, go to the main 'Blog' page and you'll see three little buttons in the top right of this post - that's the 'Share'.) Perhaps you could share this on your Facebook page - there is a 'SHARE' button down below in the footer of this page. They'll thank you and may even take you on their next trip. I'll even suggest it to them.
'til next week,