The Coronavirus has temporarily taken away many things from our daily lives...visiting with friends, our kids going to school and going on vacation to name just a few. That said, it has not taken away our ability to dream about future travels with our family and friends. This experience should have everyone looking forward to those times and there are certain action items that you can do while we all shelter in place.
1) If you received a credit voucher during the pandemic, make sure to review and note the re-booking rules and expiration date. If it’s an airline voucher, continue to watch for updates as the policies are changing often. If it’s an accommodation or activity, make sure you have it in writing.
2) Check to see if any of your credit cards include travel insurance. Despite the fact that most travel insurance will not cover pandemics, this experience will have most travelers considering travel insurance for future trips. One lesson we can all take from this pandemic is be prepared for the unexpected!!
3) Check your passport expiration date. Many people don’t realize passports must be valid beyond your travel dates. Many countries require it to be valid as much as 6 months after your return date. If it expires before that 6 month time period you can be denied the boarding of your flight. Talk about a party foul! It’s best to go with the 6 month rule as I’ve seen countries change the required time period with zero warning.
4) Go on-line shopping for the perfect carry-on luggage. One has to wonder what the airport experience will be like when travel resumes. Will there be longer lines, new health screenings or less staff dealing with checked luggage? It’s too soon for any of us to know, but doing what we can to shorten our airport time could become important. Becoming a carry-on only traveler will save time. Take this opportunity to purchase or upgrade your carry-on bag. I personally switched to a hard-shell carry-on bag several years ago and it has transformed my packing and traveling experience. It doesn’t look like you could fit more into a hard-shell compared to a soft-sided carry-on, but the 50/50 split opening allows you to pack two sides equally. A hard-shell is also more protective if you are traveling with any breakable items. Regardless of whether you decide on a hard or soft-sided carry-on, the key reason to upgrade is to have a 4-wheeled bag. In my experience, the 4-wheeled bags of any size are so much easier to maneuver and manage...truly a game changer!
5) Start a travel bucket list if you don’t already have one. This is a great time to do some reading/researching on where you want to explore when all of this craziness is behind us. It will be a positive exercise as well, compared to the time we put into watching the negative news! If you are a family, turn this into a fun family activity! Tell each family member to do their own research on where they would like to go, write down the place and why you want to go there. This would make for some good discussion over dinner.
6) Start a travel fund for those hopeful future trips, especially if it is more of a bucket list type of trip (which tend to cost more). Many travel organizations are predicting bucket list trips instead of long weekend trips when we return to more normal travel (when the virus is completely behind us). Or maybe you have been financially affected in a negative way during the pandemic, but want to have something to look forward to in the future. Having a travel fund would be helpful.
7) Give the gift of a past vacation. This last item is not really a tip, but a great idea when you have extra time, love and miss travel and want to do something positive! Create a slideshow of your favorite trip or simply give your favorite photo from a memorable trip to one of your travel companions. Everyone can use something uplifting right now! After one of our family ski trips out west, my husband used iMovie to create a slideshow of his favorite photos to music including some funny texts. He sent it to everyone on that trip. Looking back I wish we had taken the time to do that for each one of our trips, as it made for a truly special memento that we have watched many times!