Let’s face it- 2020 has pretty much been everyone’s least favorite year. The world was turned upside-down by COVID-19. Most of our dreams (travel related or not) were put on hold. It looks like we still have an uphill road ahead of us. But, I personally feel there is faint light at the end of the tunnel. Talks of a vaccine in the near future and with our upgraded level of understanding and preparedness for this terrible virus, something should happen soon.
With that said, I think it’s important to our travelers to have a clear understanding of how we managed our 2020 trips and how we plan to manage trips in 2021.
It’s been a while since I last gave an update, mostly because we were all in a holding pattern. As we look toward a new year (63 days and counting), I would like to take this opportunity to let you know what we have in store for 2021. Here you will find answers some of the most frequently asked questions we have been posed during the pandemic.
How did Bella Vita Travels handle cancellations and postponements for the trips you had planned for 2020?
I’ll be honest, it was far from easy and very, very complex and stressful. Like most, we were blindsided by COVID-19. We had to improvise on a daily basis what we could do that would be fair for our clients and the BVT team. This meant taking our terms & conditions and bending them when possible to provide the best possible outcome for everyone. It meant re-negotiating with all our suppliers and their booking and cancellation policies. It meant requesting non-refundable deposits to be applied toward a rebooked trip in 2021. I want to once again thank those clients directly for their patience and understanding during this difficult situation.
When will it be safe to travel to Europe/Morocco again?
The million dollar question, isn’t it. Here’s the thing, until the travel ban is lifted, I believe in avoiding non-essential travel. You might think this goes against the very nature of my business, but it goes hand in hand with my personal beliefs. I want us healthy and ready for the next big adventure when the time is right. Until the travel ban is lifted, I do not feel it is a responsible decision to risk yourself or the people around you. With that said, I will be first in line to spread my wings when the moment arrives.
How will BVT will handling trip planning for 2021 (and beyond)?
As many of you know, our trips are planned from scratch, taking your travel wishes and combining them with our expertise to create a truly “one of a kind” experience. That also means that for each unique trip, we assess different options for maximum flexibility and in some cases have several trip scenarios in place. That, of course, will not change.
Our partners are also fully aware of the way we operate. Thankfully, due to the long-standing relationships with have with them, we are currently creating a whole new platform for your travel arrangements based on the current situation. This will take into account situations like our current one with COVID-19, where neither we nor our supplier can be 100% confident that things will go as planned.
Is it ok to start planning my 2021 travel now?
The answer is YES but keeping several important things in mind. It is never too early to start planning! Yet, but we would not be doing our job responsibly by telling you everything will be in place by, let’s say, summer 2021. It’s better to have a “balance between opportunity and outcome”. What does that mean exactly? If you plan travel for 2021 and the pandemic continues to fester, that trip can be adjusted or postponed. However, if you don’t plan until we are given the green light to travel again, you may find that many of the travel options (i.e., hotels) are no longer available. Bottom line, we believe in being prepared with benefits. Because when the day comes, there will be a sea of clipped wings ready to take flight.
What about 2022?
The idea of taking a bit longer to design a dream trip is quite appealing. Planning on a 2022 to France, why not take a French language course in the meantime? Or read up on the local history of each destination you want to visit? We can help you with that, as we are happy to provide our clients a list of books and online resources.
The fact is these amazing places you want to visit are not going anywhere. If you are more comfortable waiting it out an extra year, more power to you. Travel is a luxury, not a check list. Do it the right way, from the first spark of an idea to seeing your dream adventure come to fruition.
We can start creating your itinerary anytime you want. But, we will also make sure your money will be well spent when it is the right moment to travel.
Should I take out trip insurance?
Before 2020, I would have said without a doubt that insurance was an excellent investment for your trip security. COVID-19 led to a dramatic change in travel insurance policies. Unfortunately there were no longer secure plans in place. There was too much grey area led to a firm “no” in recuperating travel funds due to the virus. In all fairness, these companies were also blindsided by the pandemic and my guess is there will be more clear cut information and solutions for travel insurance moving forward. With that said, there are non-COVID related reasons to take out insurance and in that case, we highly recommend doing so. But we leave the decision up to you.
So what’s next?
Due to the unprecedented and ever changing affects of the pandemic, we are creating COVID-19 specific travel assistance, terms & conditions. We understand how challenging this has been and we are doing everything in our power to offer the best possible solutions to our clients in these difficult times. For more information, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be more than happy to provide you with a bit more details.
Heck, I would love to hear from you in any case!
Stay safe, everyone!
For up to the minute information on COVID-19, please visit the World Health Organization website.