Welcome back to Philip James Travel!
I missed you last week! But I was kind of glad I did because the time I spent not-working and writing a newsletter was time spent with my family. You see we were blessed with the opportunity and the available time and the perfect destination in which to be together. Where were we? Waynesville, NC (I’ve written before about our place there called, “Trails End”). Gratefully for 10-days we had all 3 of our boys (ages 13-23) and our 4-year old lab, Daisy together under one roof and sky, seated at one table, hiking as one pack in the Pisgah National Forest, and kayaking on the Tukasegee in one zig-zaggy fleet. The unity was as refreshing as the environment – and the good craft beers and food weren’t too bad either! You see, travel unites, and it needn’t be all that far off or exotic to achieve the special and memorable feelings of unity.
As the title of this week’s newsletter alludes, in addition to "One" (Unity) as described above, the other focus is a bit more hodgepodgy, with a few items worthy of sharing.
Flying It’s not ideal to travel during a pandemic. But, if you’ve really got to go somewhere now, there are ways to decrease your risks while taking a trip. Here are some expert-approved best practices—including tips for navigating airports, hotels, and restaurants—for travelers moving about the U.S. this summer. The best seat on a plane? A window seat as far from the restroom as possible (the harder part is keeping six feet from others in airport lines). Hotel tips? Confirm your hotel’s cleaning protocols in advance, avoid packed elevators, crowded reception areas, and give high-touch surfaces a wipe-down when you arrive. At restaurants, avoid peak times, eat on a patio six feet from other diners, don’t linger, and tip well (the last bit is kindness advice, not health advice). And remember if possible to quarantine for two weeks on each side of a trip to limit exposing others to pathogens.
Cruising As pleaded last week by the President and CEO of the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), Zane Kirby implored the world (and the CDC in particular) to stop demonizing the cruise industry. Cruise ships have been furloughed since March. COVID-19’s rising infection and death rate (in late July) suggests that cruising is not to blame. Instead of criticizing the Cruise Industry for trying to resume operations (when it’s safe), the CDC should be focusing on solutions. The CDC should also partner with the private sector to develop a reliable rapid response test for cruising (and other forms of travel). That is the problem that needs solving. Hey, I get it, not everyone is inclined to cruise, and especially not in the near term, but the general population needs to consider that the cruise lines (and the airlines too) have not and are not outsized players in the spread of COVID-19, and should not have an overly large spotlight demonizing them. Pausing The travel industry as a whole is struggling at this time, and we as travel professionals have a very delicate balance to maintain. We depend on all types of travel to take place to earn our livelihood, so we naturally want to book vacations for our clients, but at the same time, we have to act responsibly and know when to withdraw from the active promotion of travel until a safer time. We trust based on history that when the time is right the eager, the intrepid, and the casual travelers will return with gusto. Until that time, we will continue preparing for that eventuality.
Dreaming One way to engage in travel without hitting the road or sky or sea right now is to think about travel well into the future. Quite a few travel suppliers are instituting “book now, pay later” options that allow you to begin the process of conceptualizing your plans, and safeguarding availability with only minimal upfront deposits. This is attractive because the longer we remain in pause mode, the more the demand grows for travel when the world does eventually (and it WILL) allow us to get back out there. One active/adventure tour operator partner, National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures, has trips open for booking through 2022 – with only a small deposit due upfront, but final payment is not required until 60-days before travel takes place! And many other suppliers within the industry are flexing their policies as well, allowing travelers to be nimbler, in their plans.
Tooling Once again, I commend to you the tools I’ve shared with you in recent weeks to help you consider trips (just dreaming or actually booking) into the future. Click on either or both links below to explore.
Thanks as always for taking a moment to visit us here at Philip James Travel. Contact us with any questions or items of interest you might like to share. Please join us in thinking about and caring for others, and stay safe and well, and be kind to the world!
Inspiration: National Geographic Journeys with G Adventures (See if one of the more than 80 trips appeals to you!)