Here we are in the midst of the COVID19 outbreak. Here we are dealing with travel bans and travel alerts and having to go through thermal scanners before boarding a plane. Many people scrambling to change or cancel their travel reservations while some airlines take it upon themselves to cancel flights altogether. “Self-quarantine” and “social distancing” have become a household words.
It is a discouraging time for those who have looked forward to taking that long-awaited cruise. Even traveling by bus, train or car doesn’t seem like such a great idea right about now.
Who would have thought that this would be the case even just months ago when vacations or business travels were planned and booked? Definitely a first for the entire modern world, a world that aspires to travel more and more.
Yet, with all the chaos and uncertainty that we all face at this moment. This is a time when travelers should take time out and reevaluate the ways of Booking Travel, Lessons Learned In the Midst of COVID19.
Online Travel Agencies and Websites
I have always been an advocate of online travel agencies and websites. I am talking about sites such as booking.com, kiwi.com and studentuniverse.com . I’ve used them a few times to know that they can be a wonderful resource. After all, they do save you some time and money compared to other companies. However, with some of the stories I have heard about the challenges of either making changes to reservations or canceling reservations especially with the COVID19 situation, it appears that these online travel agencies and websites are not as flexible as others. I will still use them because of the deals they offer, but at this time of travel tribulations, they might not be the most ideal when booking travel.
Airline or Travel Company Websites
Another way to book travel is by going directly to the airline, cruise, train or bus company websites. I have also used these sites to book travel. Here you can also find some special deals and save on the booking and baggage fees that may be assessed when booking with online travel agencies and sites like booking.com, kiwi.com or studentuniverse.com. The one drawback when booking directly through airline or travel company websites is that you may be only limited to the one travel company. This means that if you choose to use United Airlines, for example, you are normally limited to using them for your travel from beginning to end which could cost a lot more than what you pay through other booking sites. The one advantage to booking with these companies, is that changes and cancellations in times of distress, like the one we are experiencing with COVID19, are easier to make.
Travel Agents and Agencies
If you have read my post…
then you will know that I have personal travel plans for the year. So, way before the whole COVID19 became worldwide hysteria, I was looking into booking my travels with a travel agency. The main reason I was looking into booking with a travel agency is because I wanted to assure, that should travel bans or travel alerts were to ensue especially with my travel destinations, that I would be able to reasonably get refunded or be able to change any booking reservations I would have.
As I called one agency to check on my dates of travel, the one thing that I learned was that booking through a travel agency might limit the number of airlines to choose from. This is because travel agencies may have contracts with certain airlines that they book with. So, this means that if I had a particular airline that I preferred I might not be able to book with them. This also means that I would pay higher prices compared to booking with an online travel website or with the travel company directly. Also, of course, there is a fee for booking a travel agency which is not a concern with me especially during this time of COVID19.
The Choice is Yours
When making travel arrangements it is great to know that there are so many options available. The choice is yours. Whether you are booking travel through online travel agencies, directly through travel airlines and companies or through a travel agent, do what is right for your needs.
Let other readers know how you book your travel plans and share your experiences.
This Will Pass
In this moment of a completely changing world, let’s continue being hopeful. We will get through this together. This will pass and traveling will once again be just as great as ever if not better now that we have learned “Booking Travel, In the Midst of COVID19”.
Today, here and now, continue to take proper precautions from spreading the virus.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) website here are ways to…
TAKE STEPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
- Stay home if you’re sick
Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
Learn what to do if you are sick.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
Throw used tissues in the trash. Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
If you are sick: You should wear a face mask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a face mask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a face mask if they enter your room. Learn what to do if you are sick.
If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a face mask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a face mask). Face masks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.
Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, counter tops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.