How to plan a holiday during a pandemic
2020 was, well, we all know how it was. For many of us, a vacation was the last thing on our minds, an idea shattered by reality. But it's 2021, everyone, and it's time to start fresh.
Maybe you are afraid of planning your holiday so soon, it makes you nervous, or you're just waiting for the borders to open to go. In all of these cases, we compiled a few tips to get you started.
In case you already had a booked holiday for 2020 and had to cancel/postpone contacting your host/hotel/camp would be the place to start. Check the availability calendar and ask about the current situation in the destination. Check to see if your reservation is still active or if there is anything you need to do. It's crucial to stay in touch.
If you are planning for a completely new trip, here are a few steps that you can follow to make the organization as easy as possible.
- Where do I want to go?
Aaah, the number one question. Where do I want to go? It seems so simple, but it still requires planning. After the 2020 experience of borders closing and countries putting other countries on red lists, it would be a good idea to choose several destinations. We recommend picking a few favorites in and out of your country of origin. It's always a good idea to have a few options opened. Talk to your friends and family, google or spin the globe and put your finger on your next adventure. It will give you a chance to research your options, and who knows, maybe open your eyes to new destinations.
- I know where I want to go. Now what?
Once you found your preferred destination/s, it's time to investigate. Check for all the things that are important to you.
- How will you be traveling (car, plane, train)?
- What type of accommodation do you prefer?
Are you a solo traveler, or are you traveling with family and friends? Are you bringing your pet with you? What is the most crucial part of your holiday experience (culture, food, sea and sand, or maybe snow)? Do crowds make you nervous? I can't tell you how many people I've met during my career who had a poor holiday experience just because they skipped on this question list. Remember, just because your neighbor enjoyed a relaxing holiday on a desert island doesn't mean you will too.
- When should I book my holiday?
Well, that depends. If you are planning on a holiday at the peak of the season, do it as soon as possible. Even last year, it was hard to find accommodation in the high season. Our advice is to always travel during the low season – it's cheaper, quieter and, with good prep, you can have a good travel experience.
- What about covid?
- Will I lose money if I book too soon?
Once you found your preferred destination or even landed at the accommodation you like, write to your potential host. Ask all of the things you usually would (price and what it includes, distance to shops, town or the beach, parking). Include questions about their covid policy and current health situation in the region. Ask if it is necessary to book immediately. Is there a return policy if you do book right away? Will it be possible to change the dates or reschedule for next year, if you need to cancel? In my experience, lots of hosts are very flexible and open to negotiation. You only need to ask. We are all well aware that, despite best intentions, our governments are the ones that will have the final say.
- Don't forget
Be vigilant and check your government's list of countries that are safe for travel. Prepare in advance for the possibility that you will have to take a test when arriving/going home. Some countries are mentioning obligatory vaccination, or you'll have to quarantine. Talk to your host as often as you need to to feel safe – this is a new situation for us all, and good communication is crucial.
And finally, relax. Don't worry if things don't go as planned. It's a learning curve.