Since early March, many states across the U.S. have introduced various levels of social distancing protocols in order to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. With at least another month ahead of isolation, you may be dreaming of the next time you can leave your home (beyond a trip for essential goods) – especially if it is for a vacation. So, why not get a jump start on planning now?
Here are travel planning and dreaming activities you can do from the comfort of your home:
Create an inspiration board
Now is the best time to seek travel inspiration for destinations far beyond the walls of your home. No place is off limits at this stage! Are you leaning towards a tropical paradise or a romantic mountain getaway? Be sure to save and/or print photos of the places you are most interested in and create an inspiration board to help you decide what kind of vacation you want. The popular social media sites Instagram and Pinterest are two great places to get started searching for far off vacations spots you may not have considered or even heard of previously. Also, be sure to check out expert travel sources, like National Geographic, for inspiration.
Travel Tip: Domestic travel may be a great way to show support for U.S. based tour companies and travel-related organizations. Consider visiting one of the National Parks, for example, on a family camping adventure.
Research and select your next destination
Once you’ve selected your destination after combing through your inspiration board, it’s time to start researching. Questions you should consider about your chosen destination include:
- What do other tourists say about this destination?
- What is the best time of year to travel there?
- What is the culture like?
- What kinds of foods are native to the area?
- What are the ‘must-see’ attractions and activities?
- If applicable, what are fun things to do with kids there?
Map out a budget
One of the heavy consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak and resulting response has been the impact to the economy, affecting each person and household differently. This makes the budgeting portion of travel planning all the more important. Take this time to put your research to use and gather the average costs of activities, transportation, food, and accommodation. This will help you to determine how much you need to save for the trip, calculate how long it will take to save your budgeted amount, and decide which activities/excursions you should focus on while away.
Travel Tip: Follow social media feeds of all the tourist sites you want to visit during your planned trip. Keep in mind too that, after the outbreak has subsided, many travel destinations may offer deals on social media or their mailing lists to entice visitors--be sure to keep on the lookout for those!
Plan your itinerary
Once you’ve chosen your destination, done your research and set your budget, start planning your specific itinerary. Some important things to keep in mind include timeframes and seasonality. While the current recommendation in the U.S. is to maintain social distancing protocols until at least April 30th, it’s best to be conservative and assume the current travel restrictions will extend beyond this date.
Travel Tip: Always have a back-up plan in case the activities/accommodations you are planning during travel are not available.
Make it a family affair
Will kids be involved in your trip? Make trip planning kid-friendly! Get your children excited for travel by having them choose a country that interests them and that they may like to travel to one day. Do some high-level research about the country – what language is spoken, culture, food and traditions (food, dress, celebrations, etc.). Have them draw pictures to represent the country, including the flag.
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Being travel lovers ourselves, we at USI Travel Insurance Services know how difficult this time is for travelers. During this outbreak, we encourage you to stay up-to-date on all the travel advisories and recommendations. If you need information on how travel insurance plans can help travelers during this time, please visit our Coronavirus Information Center. You can also contact the USI Travel Insurance Services customer service center at (800) 937-1387 or [email protected]. Our licensed agents are available Monday through Friday, 9 am – 7 pm Eastern Time to answer your questions, help you find the right plan for your needs, or enroll by phone.
We’re in a challenging time all over the world, but it’s important to remember that this is temporary. Together, we will do what is needed to overcome this challenge, knowing we’ll be back out in the world again – exploring and making memories – soon. In the meantime, we wish you and your family good health and peace in the uncertainty.