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Social Spacing/Social Distancing and Travel: Oh, What to Do? Keep Perspective, Think Positive, & Look Forward. The Travel Industry is NOT Going Anywhere!

While you are engaged in Social Spacing/Social Distancing:
Keep Yourself Dreaming!
(Yes, I took this photo on a Safari in Kenya – A Travel Idea?)

The past three weeks have been chaotic to say the least. And with those having travel plans, it has been – for many – nothing short of an emotional and logistical ordeal. For those with travel plans now through mid-April 2020, at least there is some finality (other than possibly whether to take a Future Cruise or Travel Credit with a bonus of 25% or more or a refund and canceling air and hotels).

By the way, you are going to need some patience to get those confirmation and revised Invoices confirming your cancellations and Future Travel Credits because your travel agent/advisor/designer/professional must wait for the travel or cruise company to send them out…and they are now faced not only with unprecedented numbers to deal with, they must also cope with working remotely (if they are able to), their own social spacing, child care, etc.)  It will all get sorted out, but perspective and understanding are not only appreciated, but truly needed.

But what about all those travel plans after mid-April? Well, they fall into three basic categories:

1. Those that for logistical reasons aren’t going to happen.
2. Those that for logistical reasons probably aren’t going to happen.
3. Those that could happen, but are contingent on what exigent circumstances happen between now and then. 

Over the next week those in Category 1 will become crystallized.
Over the next week those in Category 2 will have a higher probability
Over the next two weeks those in Category 3 will have more clarity.

All of the cruise and travel companies are aware of this, and of the ever changing circumstances, so cancellation and change fee deadlines are not something most need to worry about in the short term. Remember, they want you. They need you. They are, frankly, in some instances desperate not to lose you. So there is no reason to panic. 

I have said often over these past weeks, something I said often when I was really practicing law and the tensions and emotions were seemingly always at a crescendo: Don’t make a decision until you have to. There is no benefit is making an unnecessary decision or making one before all the facts are in and the consequences understood. 

Hence, you have a chance to Breathe.

Now that you might have taken a breath, I’m going to be somewhat unfair and posit one thought I feel I must get off my chest:

Is shutting down everything from cruise ships, to cross-border travel, to bars, theaters, ski resorts, etc. worth it?

On the one hand, there is a real and legitimate concern that COVID-19 may overwhelm medical facilities and thousands of people will die that might otherwise have been saved if we “flattened the curve”.

On the other hand, to date, there is a not really spoken real and legitimate concern that the shutting down of so many industries and businesses, and the follow-on loss of jobs, effects of social isolation, effects of financial problems, the loss of regularity in our lives, and the emotional toll of what has become a rudderless ship with no leader taking charge (so cities, states, and countries are acting in an ad hoc, rather than coordinated basis) can be devastating on an individual and group basis.  We are going to have to deal with mental illness and suicides, thousands of businesses that will never reopen, businesses that will never be the same, job losses, foreclosures, evictions, medical bills, and more.   I am truly concerned that we may seriously adversely affect and/or lose more, lives to these things than to COVID-19.

So what can we do to keep perspective, to look forward, to realize the sun is going to shine, the birds are going to sing and we will be socializing and otherwise living our lives in a somewhat normal fashion in a “relatively” short period of time?

I am not being a mental health professional (and I did not stay at a Holiday Inn Express either!) but I have found that for myself, and I see it in some of my clients, looking six months, ten months even a year down the road helps. I mean I could focus on all the chaos and stresses of the ordeals of the past weeks and what will, for sure, be another round of issues OR I could focus on the light at the end of the tunnel; knowing that travel will continue.

WHAT?: Travel is going to continue? The Cruise & Travel Industry isn’t going to die?

This is where realizing history is a great teacher comes into play. I will set out some words or phrases and you let me know what comes to mind when you think of them with regard to cruising and international travel:

  • The Plague
  • The Telephone
  • World War I
  • The Depression
  • World War II
  • Transcontinental Air Travel
  • Video Conferencing
  • The Crash of 1987
  • 9/11
  • The Internet
  • Ebola/SARS/MERS/H1N1/Swine Flu
  • The Crash of 2008

OK, you don’t have to tell me, because I know:

The Travel Industry Survived and Came Back Stronger Than Ever!

While you are social spacing (I think a far more positive and appropriate term than social distancing) and waiting for the stock market to rebound (or, for those not of weak heart, pouncing on those great buying opportunities) consider where you want to go when you are able to do so. And, while I am most certainly looking at this concept from a business perspective, I am more so looking at it from a mental health perspective. (You see I want my clients and potential clients to actually live and be happy. Heck it is better for business too!)

So head online, visit GoldringTravel.com and Makingwavesblog.com  for ideas, videos and reviews. Check out Seabourn, Silversea, Lindblad, Tauck, Abercrombie & Kent, AmaWaterways, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara, Crystal, and so many more. You have the time and the need to dream and look forward.

I would not recommend you get your heart set on a new journey beginning before June 2020, but keep it in mind…just in case the social spacing things is abandoned and the infection rate drops. (Dr. Sanja Gupta says that shortly it may not make any difference…which is why the effort will be re-evaluated in 15 days.)

I would also urge you to consider your own health (physical and mental) and abilities to travel safely. Moving forward if you are 70 or older you may (that is “may”) need a doctor’s certificate that you are fit to travel. Presently it is a proposal based upon the US government’s concern not only for your safety but so that you are not communicable to others if you are ill (though age is not yet shown to be a factor in carrying the virus).

Remember that if you have a cruise or land tour booked for September or December 2020 or even 2021 you are still counting (or even just hoping) that it will be going and thus you are not canceling it. So, while some may think that there are going to be awesome deals – which may be the case in some instances – the more upscale and luxury ones may have less capacity. So if you see something of interest, see when the cancellation penalties kick in and then book it knowing you can cancel it with no or little penalty (Goldring Travel never charges a change or cancellation fee).

I know there are lots of questions and, unfortunately, not enough great answers. But we will get through this and will do it better if we do it together.  Along those lines, I know you take comfort in my usually having definitive answers. However, right now I have many, but not all.  But I am here to answer your questions to the best of my ability and, to be sure, I have no fear of saying, “I don’t know”.

Oh, yeah, and if you are interested in booking a new journey, give me a call, drop me an email or send me a Facebook message!

US: (877) 2GO-LUXURY (877-246-5898)
UK: 020 8133 3450
AUS: (07) 3102 4685
Everywhere Else: +1 530 562 9232

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