STILL Planning During A Pandemic

Well, here I am again.

Not the easiest time to be a travel planner- especially one who specializes in family travel, located in the Northeast of the Unites States where basically if we travel to another area of the country we are required to quarantine for two weeks once we get there or upon returning, we have to quarantine for 2 weeks.

Good times.

Just to keep you up to speed, this is where I stood back in April:

The Global Travel Marketplace West conference in Tucson, AZ has already been postponed until September 2020. I am uncertain this will take place for me- if nothing else because of the quarantine rules effective around the country. AZ is a hotspot right now and if I travel there- I will have to quarantine for 2 weeks once I return home, unless something changes.

I have been selected as one of the exclusive Travel Agency Owner positions to attend the first annual Travel Agent Forum: Owner’s Edition, set to take place at Moon Palace Jamaica, Ocho Rios Jamaica in November. Which might get complicated too- Travel Authorization are required and can be applied for up to five (5) days prior to the intended date of departure to Jamaica. Travellers residing in high risk states – Arizona, Florida, New York and Texas are required to upload a negative COVID-19 PCR test result from a College of American Pathologists (CAP) accredited medical laboratory when applying for travel authorization. The test must be taken within 10 days of the travel date. The exceptions to this are business travellers and children under 12 years of age. All business travellers regardless of their origin will continue to be tested on arrival and must quarantine while waiting for their test result which may take up to 48 hours. Approved Travel Authorization for residents from high risk states will be valid for eleven (11) days from the test date. For regular travellers, the validity will remain at 7 days from the date the application was approved. High risk state applications will take up to two (2) days for completion of assessment for approval or denial. While all other applications will continue to receive an almost instant response. Travellers from high risk states, in addition to uploading negative test results are also required to bring along and present the original test result to the health officer on arrival as part of the risk assessment process

We chose to reschedule our cancelled Virgin Voyages cruise to January 2021. I am truly not sure how cruising will look then, if the sailing will be cancelled, or if we will be comfortable cruising on a brand new cruise line. I truly don’t know. The ship looks amazing, the itinerary is exactly what we are looking for, and by then- I will need an escape. Truth is, I need one now. 😉

We still have not rescheduled our Royal Caribbean Cruise Line vacation- still waiting on our Future Cruise Credit and then we can look at our options. Next summer we have a weeklong sailing booked on MSC- but we are still waiting on that Future Cruise Credit from our cancelled cruise from March as well. Cruise Lines are all backed up and I understand that, selfishly it is hard to plan when there is so much uncertainty on so many levels- especially with cruise vacations.

As it was before, our Walt Disney World vacation that we cancelled for May, then rescheduled for later this summer, that we just decided to reschedule for next May- is just the hardest for me to grasp right now. Walt Disney World vacations have been our family vacation staple, ol’reliable for lack of a better word. The quarantine rules are just too much for us to overcome. Kids heading back to college, younger kids not sure what their schooling will look like in the fall, and the Covid 19 cases are spiking all over the country higher now as they were in the Northeast this past Spring, truly helped aide in that decision. We are hoping to still celebrate birthdays then, attend the Flower and Garden Festival, enjoy being together and learn something new at the same time.

It is still so strange that we won’t be taking a family vacation this year. It is just something we always have done- even pregnant/with infants, which was hard- but the memories made we were worth it. I feel so selfish feeling the way I do about losing this time with my family. Not everyone is so fortunate to travel as often as we do, and I know that. I am grateful for the memories we have, our health, and that we do live close enough to local beaches and recreation that we certainly don’t have to be bored at home, in our house. Traveling was just something I took for granted we could always do- and I will never take that for granted again. So, we continue to plan and look forward to traveling again- where that might be we can only hope right now. I will continue to help other families plan and reschedule their trips as well.

It is an interesting time being a travel planner right now.

Our industry has been rocked, some of us can plan and travel immediately and some cannot. We would like to travel ahead of our travelers, experience the safety protocols, etc- but depending on where we live or our personal circumstances, we can’t. Some travelers can and will travel- and some will not and will cancel vs reschedule. Some travelers are like me and my family- we would like to travel, but the hurdles are just to big to overcome now- so we will reschedule and hope for the best. It will just take time- which is so easy to say and so very hard to live through.

Those of us with Wanderlust will travel again… we just have to be patient.

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