Plan (Way) Ahead for Your Next Vacation

METAIRIE – From Travel Central:

In light of the uncertainties resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, planning for when — and where — we can safely and freely travel again is also a way of kindling hope. So, we say, take this time to dream about all the places you will experience when you’re able to travel again. And when you’re ready, do so with extra protection to back you up, just in case.

Here are some guidelines to give you some peace of mind, as you start designing your vacation.

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Lean on the experts: The benefits of working with an experienced travel advisor can’t be understated, especially now. “Our advisors have always shown incredible dedication to their clients, and in the midst of this outbreak they have stepped up in every way. Having a team that are advocates for clients is paramount in a situation like this, and we were all glad to be able to assist our clients who are also our friends.” says Melinda Bourgeois, Travel Central’s owner.

In addition, every advisor has some special travel gems in their portfolio that they love to match with the right client, and they’re not just useful for international trips. Whether by driving or a flight within the U.S., they can still connect you with extraordinary experiences.

Seasoned travel advisors also know where the special deals are and are better informed about the solvency of various suppliers and can steer you away from a bad investment, which is key during this tumultuous economic climate.

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Get the facts: In this climate, no one has a crystal ball to tell you when or where you’ll be able to travel. Travelers must make their own decisions and determine their own risk tolerance by staying informed. Filtering through the wave of sharing on social media, Travel Central advises travelers to stick to primary sources including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. State Department’s travel advisories and the Department of Homeland Security.

Protect your investment: “Travelers are trying to understand their options and make contingency plans for upcoming trips,” says Melinda Bourgeois of Travel Central. Comprehensive travel insurance is designed to protect your investment in case an unexpected event results in trip cancellation, interruption or requires a medical evacuation. Policies change by company, but they typically include an array of reasons, from medical issues to job losses.

Read the fine print carefully, and make sure you understand what is covered, and what isn’t. Travel insurance companies are updating their statements about coverage every day. As response to the pandemic is constantly evolving, so does the fine print of travel insurance. Your travel advisor will be apprised of the latest updates. 

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Ask the Questions:

What are travel vendors doing now to help reduce the risk of the spread of Coronavirus. Like everything, this is evolving but include: o Use of thermal cameras to steer away people with high temperatures.

  • Altered layouts to ensure social distancing.
  • Masks worn by all employees. Training on COVID-19 safety and sanitation protocols with more comprehensive training for teams with frequent guest contact, such as housekeeping and food and beverage.
  • Other changes made include suspending valet services, no longer having employees open the doors of cars or taxis and having an employee present on elevators to sanitize the button panels at regular intervals, at least once per hour.
  • Guests will receive an amenity bag during check-in containing masks, hand sanitizer and a COVID-19 awareness card, and a spray bottle of sanitizer or wipes will be provided in each room.

What is the cancellation/modification policies for each component of your vacation? This is probably the most evolving issue in the travel industry. Daily travel agencies are receiving updates, though time will tell, there should be a lot more leniency in the next 18 months as Americans return cautiously to travel.

Yes, we all are learning how to co-exist with COVID-19 until a vaccine is widely in use. But the world is still beckoning us to explore. With adjusted expectations, travel insurance and a trusted travel advisor, your next adventure awaits. 

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