VIRTUOSO LIFE – Emma Franke August 12, 2021
Set sail somewhere new. Getty Images
Travel is changing. Here’s how Virtuoso advisors are adapting to the new normal.
Travel restrictions have kept us all on our toes over the past year and a half, and while we’re seeing far more people working with their travel advisors to book trips right now, there are a lot of new factors to consider beyond what’s going in our suitcase. International vaccine and quarantine requirements change daily, travel insurance policies feel more confusing than ever, and TSA lines are growing as destinations attract more visitors. “As the experts learn more, travel guidelines adapt,” says Virtuoso travel advisor David Andersen. “The only thing we know with 100 percent certainty is that today’s travel restrictions don’t matter – they will look different by the time you pack your bags.”
If you’re ready to safely explore, a Virtuoso travel advisor can help you get the most out of your trips right now with their up-to-the-minute expertise. Below, we’ve gathered some of their best advice for navigating travel right now.
Look to the Great Outdoors
When it comes to planning summer and fall trips, think outside the box. “You’ve been cooped up indoors for most of the year,” Andersen says. “For now, bypass the indoor museums and churches. Let your travels for the end of 2021 and into 2022 be about outdoor exploration in big open spaces. Focus on trips such as biking the vineyards in Napa Valley, while you plan bigger adventures such as the Galápagos, Africa, or Machu Picchu for later.
Be Prepared to Wait
Travel advisors have been seeing the effects of travel’s rapid return. “The increased number of travelers means that you may come across long wait times,” Virtuoso advisor Grace Cular Yee says. “Many businesses are operating with skeletal crew and they’re trying their best to take care of everyone. At the airport, allot enough time to park, check in, and get to your gate. A lot of things are out of your control, so accept the current situation and choose a positive attitude. Store your energy for your trip and bring snacks – stores have limited hours and the lines are long.”
Many advisors we spoke to told us that their travelers are focusing on exploring their own backyards. “I’m seeing more confidence in booking domestic travel this summer and fall,” says travel advisor Ariane Henry. “Now is a good time to support our local tourism businesses, where we know we can travel more freely.”
Milan’s cathedral square at a quiet moment.Getty Images
If Possible, Extend Your Trip
In general, travelers are booking longer stays in a single destination. “For people who can work from wherever there is Wi-Fi, they can do 30 days in Italy now,” says Erina Pindar, a Virtuoso advisor. She advises travelers stick with destinations that are already open to visitors, rather than waiting to see if somewhere new will open. She also suggests staying for longer periods of time, to get the most out of a trip and avoid the hassle of testing and quarantining that comes with jetting off to multiple countries at once.
Know the Requirements
“While it’s a personal choice, those who are interested in international travel need to be aware that many destinations are requiring travelers to be vaccinated, or making it much easier to cross borders or island-hop if you are,” says Virtuoso travel advisor Katy Chadwell. “Even museums and restaurants are starting to require proof of vaccination so that visitors can enjoy their indoor experiences. I believe we’ll see more destinations following suit, and proof of vaccination will become the golden ticket for exploring the world.”
Pack Your Flexibility
More than anything else, bring a healthy dose of patience with you when you walk out your front door. And while last-minute hiccups may not be your idea of a relaxing vacation, they can lead to new adventures. “Be flexible and enjoy the moment,” says Virtuoso travel advisor Linda Munson. “The unexpected may create opportunities.” Adds Henry: “Things are changing on almost a daily basis as travel restarts, so having an advisor in your corner who can keep you informed is so important.”