After the Coronavirus crisis ends, we will all want to get back out and travel again. Here are some simple steps everyone can use to get back in the travel groove after the Coronavirus.
Step 1 – Choose Your Destination.
Sometimes this is the most difficult part of the planning process. I know it is in our family. Trying to get all of us to agree on where to go for even a day trip can be a challenge.
One of the techniques we use to help us agree on a destination is called bucketing. We put the names of places we want to go on strips of paper into little “buckets.” These buckets are divided into the lengths of time we have to travel: day trips, weekend trips, week-long trips, and long vacations.
When we need to plan a trip, we draw from the bucket that matches the time we have available and that starts the planning process.
Coming up with a realistic travel budget is an important part of planning any vacation. It lets you know if this is a trip you can afford. Hopefully, you will realize that your dream trip is actually within your reach. But if not, you will know how much you need to save. Budgeting also gives you an idea of where you can cut costs to make the trip less expensive. Start a spreadsheet or get out a calculator, add up the numbers and book that vacation!
Step 2 – Book Transportation For Your Trip.
It really does not matter how you travel. This step is all about making sure how you travel makes sense for your budget and the time you have available. If you only have a week of vacation, you might not want to spend four days driving to and from your destination.
Step 3 – Get Travel Insurance.
The basic purpose of a standard travel insurance policy (with trip cancellation coverage) is to reimburse travelers for their insured pre-paid and non-refundable trip costs if they have to cancel their trip due to a covered reason. Some covered reasons include accidental injury, sickness, or death of you, a traveling companion or a family member. Travel insurance saved lots of people money as trips had to be canceled because of this Coronavirus crisis.
When you look into travel insurance, one thing you need to consider before selecting a policy is the claims process. Some of the travel insurance companies have a process that is so complicated it is not worth the effort. For example, we had to cancel a trip because of a traffic accident. We bought insurance for the trip, but never got our money. Where we live, if no one is hurt in a motor vehicle collision, the police do not write up reports. The insurance company would not pay out without the report.
Step 4 – Book Accommodation.
We are bombarded by ads for the various sites to book accommodations. From Agoda to Priceline, there is an entire alphabet of sites saying they can get you the best deal on accommodations. Meanwhile, the national chains say they will match any price you find for their room. The idea here is to do your homework and know what you are getting. For example, I booked a trip through an internet site and got what I thought was a deal on a hotel and rental car package. When I picked up my rental car and asked about an upgrade from previous rentals, I was told that my rental was not eligible because I used that internet booking service. Similarly, at the hotel, my stay was not eligible for points or free breakfast. The point here is to read the fine print so you are not surprised.
I now do the extra leg work of checking the site of individual hotels I want to stay in and then comparing the prices by clicking back and forth.
Step 5 – How Will You Get Around?
You have several options if you do not bring your own vehicle. Uber and Lyft are options in most areas. Traditional taxis are also good but maybe more expensive. If it is available, public transportation may be the way to go. If you are renting a car, be sure you know what you are getting. Be sure the car you reserve will fit your needs. Will, it comfortably seat the number of passengers? Will the luggage all fit in the trunk?
Step 6 – Things to See & Do.
What are you going to do on your trip? If you can just fly by the seat of your pants, I envy you. I have to have some sort of plan. We always make a list of everything we might want to do at a destination. We work through that list until we have a plan that fits our time and budget.
Step 7 – Places to Eat & Drink.
Exploring options of where to eat are some of the most fun items on a trip. Although if you want a special meal or have dietary restrictions, you should plan ahead. You can look at Yelp or contact the local visitor’s bureau for help.
Other things to do if you are planning to travel internationally:
Check Your Passport.
Know the Visa Requirements
Make Copies of Important Documents
Check Phone & Internet Access
Research Accessing Your Money
Keep Up with Department of State Travel Advisories here
Need a Budget and Packing Checklist? Download ours for free.
Hopefully, planning for our trips when the Coronavirus crisis blows over will give us all something to do while we are all cooped up. Starting to travel again will be one of the most important things we can do to help the travel industry recover from this crisis. We are going to need to go to the beach, go to the races, go to theme parks and spend money. This is what will give those businesses the ability to survive and bring back the workers in the hospitality industry. Our travel dollars will be the best thing we can do to help those folks get back on their feet. The housekeepers, attraction operators, cooks, wait staff, bartenders, lifeguards, tour operators, etc. are all going to depend on us (the travelers) to get back to traveling so they can get back to work after the Coronavirus crisis ends.
You can read my take on the Coronavirus impacts on the travel industry here.