Our lives changed dramatically in March of 2020. What can we learn from it? These are travel-related takeaways from the coronavirus pandemic.
After all the work I put into starting this podcast, I considered scratching the whole project. I wondered if it was appropriate given what’s going on. I realized I was spending too much time following the story. Although I think we should take the pandemic seriously, that we should do what we can to avoid social activity, I also know that we will get through it eventually.
Before I was laid off from my job and all my colleagues were worried about losing their jobs, I gave them what I thought was sage advice. I still think the advice is wise and that it applies to this pandemic as well as it did potential job loss. What I recommended to them then and what I recommend to us all now is that we start doing now what we’ll do when this is over. As much as we can while complying with Shelter in Place, that is. It took me about 48 seconds to get tired of the phrase social distancing. I prefer “shelter in place.”
We’ll get through this, hopefully with all of our family, friends, sanity, and dignity. So I got back to work on the show. You’re welcome.
Since it seemed insensitive to not acknowledge the situation, I offer to you a few takeaways from the situation. Although I’d love to was philosophic for a few hours, I’ll stick mostly with how it relates to travel. This is, after all, the Travel Wizard Show.
Here are the three takeaways from the pandemic.
- People will always react to things differently
- There will be deals
- Always book with a Travel Advisor
- Don’t Procrastinate
People Will React to Things Differently
Some Will Overreact
We saw the ones buying up truckloads of toilet paper and emptying the shelves of cleaning products. Were they overreacting and panic-buying or were they being opportunistic? Who knows?
Although that behavior was selfish and undignified, it was a coping mechanism (or opportunism). It’s how they coped. Or copped.
Either way, it doesn’t do us well to dwell on their actions.
Some Will Underreact
Many went on about their lives as if nothing was going on. The ignored the ….uh…Distancing suggestions and partied like it cost 19.95. I saw a lot of anger towards them. The impression was that they were making things worse by going out and spreading the virus.
The same applies it doesn’t serve us to dwell on what they did.
What Should I Do?
One way or another, w are going to get through this. In a few weeks or–more likely months–this will be something we look back on either wondering how we were so gullible falling for the hype so easily, regretting that we didn’t take it more seriously, or somewhere in between.
When you have an opportunity to do something, think ahead to that time. After this is all over, we want to look back on this time and be proud of what we did. We want to help others, contribute where we can, even if our contribution turns out to be staying at home and flattening the curve. We’ll want to look back and be proud that we behaved and acted with dignity.
Don’t do anything now that you’ll be ashamed of later, that you’ll lie about because it was selfish, rash, or undignified.
Try to find a way to start work on now what you’ll want to do when this is all over. Unless you think you can get a job as a movie critic, don’t spend too much time binging on Disney+ and Netflix.
What About “Social Distancing?”
I know many who aren’t buying into the story, they don’t want “to fall for it,” for what they think is another overhyped media story.
I think it’s a wager. One scenario is this, we look back on this time and wish that we had done our part in staying home and trying to “flatten the curve.” Another scenario, the other end of the spectrum, is that we all look back with disgust and anger that we wasted days sitting at home, that we let businesses close and economies crash because we fell for another doomsday prediction from the mass media. I’d much rather have the second scenario over the first. So my family and I stay home.
There Will be Deals
You’re listening to a travel show, so maybe something you’ll want to do when the pandemic crisis ends is travel! Now is a great time to start planning travel.
Like too many other industries, the travel industry is struggling. They will offer deals and incentives to get us back in hotels, back on beaches, in theatres, in planes and trains, and on boats.
I don’t usually deal in “deals,” but there will be deals. It’s a good time to start planning and maybe putting down some deposits. Most of those deposits are refundable, the simply hold your time, place and rate, and most of them are changeable, especially in times like these.
Always Book with a Travel Advisor
A lot of travel has been canceled the past month. Almost all travel has been canceled. It’s likely that travel over the next couple of months will be canceled.
I hope for your sake that you elected to reschedule your trips rather than cancel them. I hope that you booked with a travel advisor who used their expertise to guide you through the rebooking process, or in the case of my colleagues at Creating Magic Vacations, take care of arrangements for you.
There were news reports of travelers being stranded at destinations, of travelers arriving at destinations only to find they were closed or canceled, and of vacationers losing their money because OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) went out of business. Many cruisers either had to miss their cruises or risk infection because the Cruise Lines’ support numbered were busy and they couldn’t get through to change their trip in the required timeframe.
At Creating Magic Vacations, we got ahead of the curve, proactively notifying clients of the vendors’ procedures and the clients’ options, getting a plan in place and executing it when the time came. There are still plans in place today on April 1, because destinations are extending their closings through the end of the month.
Don’t risk booking on the OTAs or the big box stores. It’s not worth it.
I hope everyone who had to cancel or reschedule a trip eventually gets to enjoy it. One of my clients returns from home from Disney on March 12, the day Disney announced it would be closing its parks. If they had planned their trip for the next week, they would have had to reschedule it.
Whatever you’re waiting for, unless you’re saving money for the trip–because I recommend against going into debt for anything, even travel–plan to go sooner than later. We just don’t know what is going to happen later. Don’t save travel for retirement. See some places now. When I was a kid, we went to Padre Island Beach every summer. My cousins would spend summers there. Every year I got to spend a couple of weeks living in a pop-up camper, with Dad, Mom and my little sister, next door to my cousins, at the beach. One year, dad called an audible and we went to Arkansas. We didn’t have much money but Dad and Mom made sure we took family vacations. I love those memories.
Even if it’s just a road trip, get out there and see something new. Now. Well, not right now because we’re Shelter-in-Placing. After the pandemic passes, get out there!
Where Do You Want to Go?
Contact The Travel Wizard to book your magical vacation!
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