Last updated: March 17, 2020
COVID-19 has now touched every single aspect of our lives: the way we work, the way we socialize, the way we eat and, of course, the way we travel. Our team, like the rest of the world, is grappling with these huge life changes, and adjusting fast to what it means to live in this new reality.
We would like to give you an update on how we’re doing, how our clients are doing, and what our plans are when it comes to travel in a post-COVID-19 world.
We are all safe and healthy. Polly is back in Bulgaria after a long trip through Asia, Riana is currently traveling back home to Vancouver and Emma is back in Toronto, after cutting a trip to Mexico short. Irina is hunkered down in Brooklyn. As you may know, we’re already a fully remote team, so COVID-19 doesn’t affect the place where we work. We have all taken care to cancel upcoming travels, and plan to stay put (a rarity for us!) for the time being.
As luck would have it, we had quite a few trips to Italy in the plans for March and April, so the cancelling and rescheduling of those trips was already well underway by the time the world started shutting down for travel. For these clients, we were able to secure full refunds for almost every single element of their trips. We only had two sets of clients traveling at the time, one couple in Morocco and another one in Australia. Our team raced to get both rescheduled and on flights home ASAP as soon as it became very clear that it’s best for everyone to be safely home, practicing social distancing. Both sets of clients are now safely back, and at present, we have no clients traveling, nor do we advise traveling at the moment.
The state of travel now
For the time being, we advise our clients, our friends and family to please refrain from traveling. Domestically, internationally or to the neighboring State. Please, stay put and create social distance between yourself and others. Currently, heeding the latest updates from the collective health agencies from around the world, we do not believe it will be wise to travel until at least June 1, 2020.
Travel in a post COVID-19 world
Though it may be hard to imagine right now, this too shall pass. It really will! While we’re eternal optimists at heart, we’re also grounded realists. Yes, we will all travel again. There will be a day in the near future where we’ll board flights to our bucketlist destinations and enjoy awe-inspiring experiences on the other side of the world. When that day comes, we hope you think of us to be your partner in planning every aspect of your travels.
We are currently taking on clients for travel in late summer and fall of 2020, and into 2021. Even though we hope COVID-19 is a distant memory by that point, we believe it’s very important to have candid conversations about how COVID-19 is affecting our world and travel, and how to plan accordingly:
1. Your safety and health should be your first priority when thinking about and planning travel, and it will always be our first priority. We promise you that we will do everything we can, and then some, to keep you out of harm’s way. This means making tough calls prior to your trip or getting you home if needed while you’re on your trip.
2. Your financial investment in your travels should always be protected. Travel isn’t cheap, it’s a privilege and it requires the investment of your very hard earned money; we don’t take that lightly. Oftentimes, the most expensive elements of a trip are the flights and accommodations, and those elements have to be pre-paid, prior to travel. In the past, purchasing travel insurance was thought to be a good idea to protect these investments, but unfortunately, travel insurance has rendered itself useless in the world of epidemics and pandemics (read more here). So although we advocate for the purchase of travel insurance for other reasons, in this case, in order to protect your travel investment, we recommend our clients only commit to travel expenses that can be fully refunded prior to their travels if they choose to cancel or reschedule for any reason.
- Most airlines are currently offering the ability to book flights without any cancelation or change fees should your plans change. Please note that the “refund” comes in the form of an airline voucher, which you can use for any trip to any destination in the future (there is usually a deadline of about 6 months to 12 months).
- Almost every hotel in the world, and increasingly, more and more airbnbs, can be booked with a flexible cancelation policy, allowing you to cancel up until a few days prior to scheduled arrival without any financial penalty.
- Most experiences (think: cooking class, catamaran boat ride, street food tour, etc) offer flexible cancelation policies by default, making canceling and getting your money back easy. If that’s not the case, we recommend waiting until the last minute, or when the client knows they’ll definitely be going on the trip, to book and pre-pay.
The above is something that we have now worked into our standard processes. We have always been fierce advocates for our clients, and going forward, we will be doing our very best to ensure that every element of the trips that we plan is entirely financially flexible. You should never be on the hook for paying for a trip you can’t take due to health and safety concerns.
Should our clients need to reschedule their planned trips due to unforeseen forces of God and nature, such as pandemics like COVID-19, we will reschedule travels to a later date without any additional planning fees and charges from us.
Though the current state of the world saddens us, we look forward to a time in the future when we’ll all take to the skies again and hit the road exploring our vast and beautiful world. For now, we hope you stay healthy, wash your hands thoroughly and find joy in slowing down. As always, you can count on us for all things travel inspiration, and whenever you’re ready to start plotting your next adventure, or simply to daydream and talk travel, you know where to find us!