10 things to keep in mind when planning your 2020 Vacation?
With a world that is on lockdown, there are people that need a ray of hope, and they create that ray by looking at vacation spots to visit for the next summer vacation or autumn break. Nothing wrong with that. it is good to dream and make plans when you are in quarantine.
Is it wise to book a vacation outside your country?
With the world on lockdown, not many tour operators offer travels you can choose from. Most deals are on hold, for nobody has any idea when this is all going to end. Still, it is nice to browse through websites and travel brochures and dream of being away from this all. And there is no harm in that. The spread of the COVID-19 will come to a halt someday, either because we can finally control the outbreak or mankind finds a vaccine. And by then you might be more ready to travel than ever after being stuck in your house for so long.
But you have to look beyond that travel brochure and amazing photo presentation on the internet. You have to look at where the country of your choice is at the moment.
The whole world needs some time to recuperate
When we look at China, they have been in lockdown for 4 months and starting to get back to normal life in phases. Slowly people are allowed outdoors, factories getting back to normal capacity and street life becomes normal again.
That will be the same all over the world.
And it will happen in different periods of time.
Not every country is at that spot where your country is now or will be on your set departure date.
The Coronavirus might peak in your country right now, the curve might be flattening pretty soon, but other countries are still in phase 1 or 2. Mexico, for example, is doing it’s utmost best to stop the virus from reaching phase 3, and if that doesn’t work the peek of the outbreak is expected around September.
Yet tourism is at it’s lowest at the moment. Hotels and restaurants in tourist zones are closed, the staff has been sent home and the beaches are empty.
So when your country is getting back to its feet, my country will still be struggling if they cannot contain this virus.
10 Things you have to consider when booking a vacation:
Will I be able to travel to and from my destination? Will the borders of both countries be open?
Will my travel insurance cover my hospitalisation when I do get sick due to COVID-19? I know many Canadians were told their insurance would not cover medical costs if they stayed in Mexico, so most of the returned.
Are you willing to take the risk of losing money due to cancellation or can you postpone your holiday trip? Please make sure that you know the cancellation policy for outbreaks and pandemics, for there might be some alterations. In the Netherlands for example, there are no refunds anymore, you get a voucher.
Are you willing to take the risk of exposing yourself and your family to second contamination? When your country is virus-free, your travel location might still be at its peak. Or vice versa. For example in Mexico tourists are arriving from countries that are now highly contagious and they enter a country that is struggling to prevent a nationwide outbreak.
General safety, countries change. I hear that in the Philippines the police and army are stricter, looters are trying to get the best out of the situation, the same happens in Mexico and people hoarding guns in the States is not a daily thing. So how safe will your destination be after you arrive? People in poor economical situations can do the craziest things to get out of misery financially. Are you sure your country is a safe place to travel to?
Do you know the plan of approach for the Coronavirus outbreak on your travel destination? It might be wise to know how the situation is handled. Is there martial law, like in Manila, or a state of emergency like in most countries in South America? And what are the follow-up plans? For example: in Mexico, restaurants are not ordered to close (yet) but they do close, for everyone is made aware of the necessity to stay home, most restaurants do take out or home delivery but there are no tables, no chairs. You probably miss that in the local news, since it is not an official announcement. It is a response to a rule, an indirect effect of the Sanitation State of Emergency.
Will the beaches be accessible? Most countries have shut down beaches, for it is difficult for people to obtain social distancing on beaches.
Is your hotel up and running by the time you arrive? I see some leftover people in empty hotels, entrances blocked, restaurants closed. Staff send home. A friend of mine guards an empty resort and says it will take a while before they are up and running again once tourist will get back to the area.
Prices and hidden price raises. Package deals are often made years in advance. Those years are gone, those deals might not withstand the economic disaster that landed upon the tourist industry. So will your travel agency come with an additional charge to make up for huge price differences? Make sure to check you’re fine print on that policy
Entry rules. There are no signs entry rules will change or good, but at the moment you have to answer questions, get a checkup and sign a waiver before you can board a plane. Cruise ships are big carriers of contamination, weeks after the outbreak cruise ships are still in quarantine out at open sea. Most likely that boarding vessels and planes will be more strict in the future and visa rules may require some proof of health. Are you still qualified to travel when that happens?
I give you a free bonus tip to keep in mind when booking a holiday:
Use your common sense! Look beyond the travel brochure and check how your destination is affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and do not expect them to make you an amazing holiday you pay thousands of dollars for when you know you are booking a risk. Calculate the total costs of travelling in 2020, including your personal costs.