Is it in poor taste to be planning your next great vacation now? The short answer is no. The travel industry has been devastated because of this pandemic. This includes the people working in the industry. Therefore, the sooner we get back to vacationing, the faster the industry will recover.
But before we go any further, I’m certain you regard, with respect, the millions of people directly or indirectly affected by this health crisis. I, like you, am grateful for the men and women fighting on the front lines of this pandemic. But this article is looking beyond the horizon to a brighter vacation future ahead. The vaccines are here. But what percentage of the population will get vaccinated? Will you take one? When? And furthermore, will the vaccines work to stop the spread? These are the key questions in determining exactly how and when consumer confidence in travel is restored. In the meantime, let’s get planning and take advantage of deals being offered for future travel.
Planning and booking a vacation these days has a couple of extra steps and a few additional considerations. Obviously, please take a vacation as soon as YOU (and your party) feel comfortable and please follow the CDC and local government guidance and travel responsibly.
So where do you want to go? “Place” evaluation is important now more than ever. Start your dreaming by asking yourself what you want to see, how you want to feel and where you want to be on your next great escape. Once you have a general idea in mind, begin seeking destinations that may be a good fit. Consider how you’re going to get there, where you’re going to stay and what amenities, services and activities are available. Once you narrow down to a few options, pick up your smartphone and talk to expert residents in those places.
Call Or Email The Place
Wouldn’t it be great if you could simply call (or email) that place and get specific answers for free? YOU CAN! But, before you do, have some answers ready to provide whoever’s on the other end of the conversation.
Have Your Information Ready
Essentially, have your specifics ready to provide. These are the “5 w’s”. Here’s my short list with a few example answers...
Have Your Specific Questions Ready
Obviously, every place you visit has plenty of things to see and do for most vacation goers, but I suggest you garner answers specific coronavirus questions such as the following:
How To Contact A Place
Most “places” in the United States (and others) have official tourism bureaus. These are called Convention & Visitors Bureaus or Chambers of Commerce. They can be found online by typing the name of the place you’re considering plus the word official plus the letters C-V-B.
They all have options for contacting them. I suggest you call them during regular business hours. Remember, they too are dealing with staffing issues during this pandemic so give them a few hours (or up to one business day) to respond. In most cases, they will honestly answer your questions based on real-time, on-the-ground knowledge. In addition, they can point you in the right direction for additional information.
I have always been a big fan of these organizations and they’ve been around for a long time. They are usually funded by the taxes collected from visitors such as “hotel tax”. They may also be funded by membership by local businesses. Doing a little recon in advance will go a long way to saving you and your family time and money!
Save travels and stay vacated!
A quality vacation doesn’t have to be expensive to be a great time. You don’t need to book a pricey flight to appreciate all that America offers. Road trips are a great way to see the country up close and personal. To help inspire you to hit the road, I’ve compiled a few of my favorite road trips in all corners of the country. For this first trip we’re loading up the car and heading north along Route 95 for a tour of Southern New England.
Right now, many of us are self-quarantined. We're glued to our devices binge-watching Beyond Your Backyard on Amazon Prime (Did you watch Season Two yet?). While I still want to be informed, I’m limiting my intake of current events/news, and in its place I’ve tried finding more uplifting ways to spend my time. Which led me back to my number one passion… travel. To me, the joy of planning a vacation is almost as exciting as the trip itself. I find that researching new places to visit can be a really fun and rewarding way for families to spend time together. In time, we’ll be able to freely travel the states again. When that moment comes, where will you want to go? Researching and planning new trips is a great way to pass the time. Here are five tips on ways that you will be able to bring domestic travel BACK into your home, and get you excited about exploring Beyond Your Backyard again...
The Coronavirus. It’s everywhere - literally and figuratively. It’s continuing to show up in more places worldwide. It’s on our televisions. It’s in our newspapers, on the radio and podcasts. It’s discussed at the office water cooler. The virus has now been detected in 56 different countries, and as the worldwide numbers continue to rise, the media continues to keep us in a mild panic with 24-hour coverage. Now, I am somewhat apprehensive writing about this particular subject and how it pertains to you and your travel plans. I, like most of you, am certainly concerned and somewhat fearful of the unknown. Like any virus of this kind, this too shall pass over time, but at what cost? My heart aches for anyone who has been directly impacted physically, emotionally or financially by this virus. That being said, we all have to continue living our day-to-day lives and for many of us, that includes traveling. Whether it’s for business or leisure, many of us continue to travel during this time of uncertainty concerning the virus. Hopefully, this article will provide some much-needed clarity and help you feel a little more at ease about any upcoming travel.
Ahhh, Spring. One of my favorite seasons. Now, you may be saying, Erik, what are you talking about, it’s still the dead of winter! Well, to you I say, “correct.” HOWEVER! One of my favorite things about spring being just around the corner is the return of Major League Baseball! Which brings us to the real reason I'm mentioning spring… MLB SPRING TRAINING!! Pitchers and Catchers have all reported, and teams are in full swing (pun intended), gearing up for the first season of the new decade. What better way for a baseball fan to enjoy his or her spring than to travel to spring training to soak up a little sun and enjoy America’s Pastime.
Estimating the cost of a vacation can be daunting especially if you’re looking for cheap places to travel. Embarking on a vacation on a budget can be stressful, difficult to plan and budget properly, and lead to more frustration than excitement. You worked hard to plan this vacation, and the planning should be a fun first step to a fun adventure to someplace new. So let’s all just cool our jets, breathe, and get ready to be realistic with our expectations (and our wallet)
Since the early days of recreational travel, travel agents who worked in a travel agency have been helping the public plan and book amazing vacations worldwide. They were Disney travel agents, Marriott travel agents and others. In the “good old days,” your travel agent or travel consultant was a trusted ally in your circle who most-likely worked in a tour agency - much like your family attorney, doctor or accountant. Your travel agent sent you a card on holidays and your birthday, and always kept you alert to new specials and emerging destinations to visit. They would throw get togethers and invite you to view slides from one of their client’s recent vacations. In short, they were your personal inspirational motivator of exploration. (I like the sound of that!)
In previous articles, we discussed the creation of a “Vacation Dream Calendar”, scheduling your holiday travel and Spring Break. If you missed any of those, you can read them here.
If you have followed my counsel and created your calendar and scheduled your holiday season travel and Spring Break travel, then CONGRATULATIONS! Your vacation calendar looks amazing! Now let’s discuss summer travel.
In previous articles, we discussed the creation of a “Vacation Dream Calendar” and the importance of scheduling your holiday travel now. If you missed either of those, then you can read them here.
If you have followed my counsel and created your calendar and scheduled your holiday season travel, then CONGRATULATIONS! I am so proud of you. Now let’s discuss Spring Break travel which is of course, all about spring breakers.
In a previous article, we discussed the creation of a “vacation dream calendar”. If you missed part one of this series, you can read it here.
I thought now would a good time to discuss MAJOR holiday travel planning. If this applies to you, then you’re in luck! If not, go ahead and pass it along to that friend who every October bemoans the “airline tickets for Christmas are so expensive”.
Scheduling for holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years can be tricky, because it oftentimes involves extended family members who aren’t as prepared as you are! Be that as it may, do your best to book these travel plans as early as possible to potentially save yourself a lot of money and headache at a very stressful time of year.
I am on a mission to get you traveling more often. As the host of the Emmy award- winning, nationally syndicated television television for PBS and the Create channel, "Beyond Your Backyard," I travel (on average) 25 weeks per year. I am very grateful for the opportunity to meet cool people, experience new places, eat delicious food and work with the best production crew in the world. Hopefully, through this blog, you will join me on my travels and be reminded just how exciting it is to be alive!