The disruption of the last couple of months has left many people trying to keep their heads above water both personally and professionally. With the arrival of May, how about this: new month, new mindset! Let's set new intentions and embrace new possibilities. Whether or not things will ever be the same isn't as important as adapting to and accepting whatever comes next. This is week is National Travel and Tourism Week, from May 3-9, and May 6 is National Travel Advisor Day. Woohoo! The timing is perfect - as we turn the corner on 'the plague', do you know what I see? It's time to gear up for planning travel again!
'The heck!' you say. Sounds like you're wondering how and where and why anyone would travel now. Notice I said, travel planning is not traveling; it has to be done and now is a great time. Why? Because your calendar is bored; it has nothing inits future. Your schedules for the last months were decimated, your plans thwarted, canceled, and postponed into oblivion. You need something to look forward to, and that something is a refreshing, cleansing, boredom lifting, fog-clearing breather from being indoors, home-schooling, and social media computer screen overload. Winter threw many of into seasonal lockdown; spring came and the joy was tempered by the misery of Mr. 19.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the time soon to come where we'd venture out. The article contained ideas for places you might go to explore, relax, and enjoy each other's company. The travel industry has not been asleep during the disruption, by the way. It has been forced to adapt, respond, flex, and improve in ways that serve you, the traveler. The results of the shakeup have yet to shake out, and because the industry is so broad, all the changes won't be visible at once. But what does this mean for you? What can you take advantage of now?
Late summer, fall, and moving into winter of this year will definitely show the signs of an awakening. Already, bookings for family and group reunions have picked up, and solo travelers (typically the more intrepid of the traveler demographic) are starting to schedule their first journey out of their home-bound cocoons.
Vacationers who have had to cancel/postpone their overseas summer trips are taking advantage of new liberal re-scheduling policies to set 2021 dates for their long-awaited trips. And between now and then, they can start stepping out on smaller adventures in nearby destinations to get their feet wet. The larger family destinations like theme parks and mega-ships, might not be ready for guests right off the bat, as the logistics of crowd management have to be re-designed. However, all-inclusive resorts, and smaller luxe-level hotels are expected to be ready not long after the go-ahead is given in their respective regions.
Oh the possibilities! As I've mentioned before, domestic (US) destinations will be VERY popular, and not just the ones you expect; many lesser-known and unexpected locations are stepping up their games to draw travelers to their history, scenery, cuisine, home-spun charm or big-city vibe, all within the confines of physical distancing, mask wearing or other public safety requirements. The idea is to get your vacation on safely, while still making new memories with loved ones.
Overseas is not out of the question, by the way. The tulips are blooming in Holland this year, but with no Tulip Festival the usual crowd of half a million people are not enjoying the acres of rainbow colors, and neither are you. By this time next year, the river cruise lines expect to be up and running, and a tulip-time treat on a river cruise will be just the ticket. If not in Holland, there are over a dozen tulip festivals in the U.S. You should go.
If you can't wait that long, Christmas Market river cruise itineraries are booking now for Germany, Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic, and six other countries. Christmas markets are the place to get a your fix of all things traditionally Christmas. I still have a vivid memory of store windows in Germany decorated for the season: a stunningly beautiful Christmas overload. If you're cruise-wary, know that a river cruise has usually less than 200 passengers (a much smaller complement than an ocean cruise) and food, ambiance, tours and excursions that are just as luxurious as the best ocean liners. Bonus - cultural immersion in several countries on a single trip. Remember: the major European cities were built on rivers out of geographic necessity, and we can now take advantage of that thanks to river cruising.
What's in it for you? Peace of mind from start to finish. If your goal is to put a vacation on your calendar for this year (something to stare at with hope and longing, while stimulating your imagination), whether it's a small getaway or a major blowout, pleeeeease don't wait to start the planning process. And please don't leave that trip to chance, by winging it or booking online on your own - there is too much at stake. Even if you're not ready to book, planning a seamless, stress-free vacation takes care and possibly quite a bit of time, depending on the itinerary. And I've got tons of both.
'til next week.