Are You Ready to Travel Again?
In the words of every child in every backseat on every road trip in America, “ARE WE THERE YET?” We all want to know when we can travel again. The U.S. Travel Association statistics from late November 2020 show 57% of Americans are in a ready to travel state of mind. Even better, nearly 80% have tentative plans for 2021 travel. So when will we feel comfortable exploring something other than our backyards?
The answer isn’t cut and dry. After sitting in on a virtual Family Travel Association Conference, I learned some interesting tidbits about what travelers are looking for right now. According to keynote speaker and host of CBS News Radio’s “Eye on Travel” Peter Greenberg, travelers want a security blanket. They want to
- Know that they won’t get stuck somewhere
- Be reassured that they won’t get sick
- Know that they can get a refund
- Feel confident that their travel insurance will protect them
It seems deceptively simple, right? Let’s dig a little deeper…
Will I Get Stuck?
We’ve made progress since the beginning of the pandemic. Case in point – we all remember the horror stories of cruise guests being forced to remain in their cabins for weeks on end. It was a little bit nightmarish for those of us quarantining comfortably in our homes to imagine. The thought of venturing out into the open sea and having it happen again sends shudders through us.
However, cruise lines are now working with the CDC to replace “no sail orders” with “conditional sail orders.” Clear procedures are in place for how cruise lines should resume operations and keep guests safe – and moving!
Will I Get Sick?
Let’s face it, even without a pandemic, people get sick when they travel. It’s unrealistic to think otherwise! Even with highly effective vaccines in the wings and 58% of Americans ready to get them, people still want to know measures are in place to keep them safe.
The travel industry worldwide has made HUGE strides in how they handle the health and well-being of guests. Consider the following:
The World Travel & Tourism Council has begun issuing the Safe Travels stamp to travel-related businesses that meet or exceed international safety standards. Kaleidoscope Adventures is the first U.S. based tour operator to receive this distinction as a result of its innovative response to the pandemic and safety initiatives moving forward.
New Standards for A New Normal
Hotels, airlines, restaurants, motorcoach companies, theme parks, and attractions have established rigorous cleaning and wellness standards, including masks, hand sanitizer, physical distancing, and extra disinfection in high touch or common areas. Programs like Hilton CleanStay are popping up everywhere for peace of mind.
Off the Beaten Path Travel
Several companies are addressing guest concerns by skipping the big cities and offering outdoor adventures or private tours and experiences. For example, industry giants like Marriott have upped their games with private homes and stays.
Student tour companies like Kaleidoscope Adventures offer low contact group experiences like dude ranch packages or luxury cabin retreats in the Smokies.
It’s all about finding amazing opportunities off the beaten path!
Will I Get My Money Back?
One of my favorite takeaways from Jeff Greenberg’s remarks was “get rid of the asterisk*” Travelers want to know what to expect upfront. What are the cancellation policies? How much of a refund can you expect if something goes wrong?
If you see an asterisk in the fine print, BEWARE! It’s how the company tells you to essentially disregard everything you’ve just read. Choose a travel partner with transparent business practices and clear messaging.
Will Travel Insurance Cover Me?
Travel protection to this point has been a quick click at the end of a registration page to opt-in or out. Naturally, most of us assume that once we click “yes,” we’re covered. But travel protection is a bit more complex than that.
Travel protection is definitely worth the investment, as long as you know what you’re investing in. Each company handles their coverage options differently. Do your homework.
Also, be extra cautious working with a travel provider that self-insures. If the company suddenly closes its doors (as we saw happen so often this past spring), your opportunity to recover your investment may go with it.
Ready to Travel?
So… are you ready to travel? It depends. We know the desire to travel again is there, but it’s up to you to decide when. The good news is that the security blanket is being stitched. The travel industry is taking unprecedented steps to keep you safe as you resume your journeys in 2021.
In the words of every dad in every front seat on every road trip in America, “just hold on- we’re almost there!”
Why Kaleidoscope Adventures?
As a leader in the student travel industry for 25+ years, Kaleidoscope Adventures exceeds expectations for student and performance group travel.
We'll work with you to plan an exceptional travel experience and provide impeccable customer service from start to finishLearn More