Now that the pandemic is receding, people are starting to holiday abroad once again. And while it’s natural to have worries about travel overseas, it’s important for most of us to make up for lost time and have something to dream about.
As travel restrictions ease, Dan Salmon, Travel Advisor of the Year and founder of the specialist luxury travel agency Never a Wasted Journey, shares some of his insights on how to create a holiday with the wow factor.
Plan for pleasure
Half the pleasure of holiday travel is in the anticipation: deciding where to go and what to do. The world is opening up again and while some places still remain off limits for travellers, there are plenty of wonderful options to consider. So don’t decide where you will go on impulse.
Your first trip after two years of lockdown should be special. Plan your destination carefully, listing out the merits of each place and perhaps using a “mood board” with cut outs of all your favourite activities and places to help you decide what you want to do best of all. And if you are stuck for inspiration, just get in touch with me – I’d be happy to share my ideas.
When you have a short list of options, do your homework. Not all resorts are coming out of the pandemic in the same way. Some may still be largely shut. Others will be in the middle of refurbishment. In addition, people are rushing to book holidays at the moment. So if you want some peace, it may be a good idea to avoid the most popular places and select destinations that are overlooked, perhaps a little further away from big resort hubs and cities.
Get guidance on what things are really like “on the ground” at the moment. A good travel agent will advise you on the current situation, as well as updating you on the latest restrictions and travel requirements. An agent like me can save you time and frustration, while also introducing you to new experiences that will leave you lost for words.
Get well organised
When you have decided where you are going, why not create a detailed itinerary of what you want to see and do? You don’t have to follow it, but it’s good to know what options are open to you. Sometimes you may want to chill out but there will be nothing worse than feeling that you haven’t made the most of those precious days away. And have back up plans in case a sudden incident means that you can’t do exactly what you were planning.
This is where a good agent who offers a concierge service can be invaluable. Use them to help with booking restaurants (especially for your first night), spa treatments, excursions and unique activities that you might find difficult to book locally through traditional routes.
Don’t forget the practical side of planning either. Depending on where you are headed, there can be some complicated health requirements. You will probably need proof that you don’t have Covid and for some countries proof that you have been vaccinated (the NHS app is fine, but a paper version of your vaccination status is a very handy back up), and possibly other documentation too such as location information or insurance documents. Also don’t forget spare masks, hand wipes, water…Military grade planning, especially when you have young children with you, means an anxiety-free trip.
Use your travel agent to help with this. They should be able to provide you with checklists and even walk you through them to make sure that everything is in order. A good agent will make things as easy as possibly for you, guiding you on the protocols and etiquette, and managing all the logistics on your behalf.
Plan for memories
You will probably want to have plenty of happy memories when you come back and it can be a great idea, as well as a lot of fun, to practise making those memories. If you are into photography or video, then experiment with some new techniques you can use on holiday. If it’s food and wine, then research beforehand so that you can look out for the things you want to try. And take a notebook to record your impressions, so that you revisit the experiences you had when you get back home.
A holiday diary, especially for younger children, can be an enjoyable activity in the evening (“Draw a picture of your favourite thing today”) and then they, and you, will have something to look back on in years to come. Or encourage children to collect “scraps” – tickets, fliers, receipts, labels, postcards – for a project for when you get back: again a great way of revisiting memories.
Things may be a little different for travellers over the next few months. So build into your expectations some delays at borders and elsewhere. Make sure you have things to keep you interested while you are hanging around; a kindle, a Nintendo switch, a spare battery for the phone…
Don’t panic. It’s pretty safe to travel once again. Surfaces are always germy but not a particular threat for Covid. And anyway you will have remembered to take hand sanitiser won’t you! (To be honest, that’s not a bad call in normal times – far too many holidays are ruined by upset stomachs and clean hands will prevent a lot of this).
And remember, the most important thing is to relax when you are away. A little bit of planning and some practical advice from a specialist travel consultant and you will be set fair for a wonderful time. Enjoy it!
To make sure that you never waste a journey, call Dan 01245 469 771 or email him on firstname.lastname@example.org