Jamaica just opened its borders to international travelers on June 15. So why were there 30 people stranded at the Miami airport, denied boarding onto their ticketed flight to Montego Bay on June 16? Because they did not know that there is a new Travel Authorization form, a medical clearance that must be applied for online prior to travel, that is collected by the airport staff BEFORE you can get on any plane bound for Jamaica.
Why did I start off my article with that depressing story? Because it is yet another example of why using a professional travel advisor is even MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER as travel begins to reopen around the world in our post-COVID world. If those 30 sad and angry folks who were left behind at the airport had booked through their trusted advisor, they would have been informed of the new restrictions and given the link to apply for and print the new Authorization form well before departure. It’s simply what we do!
I could go on with more stories of quarantine nightmares and denied entries, but I think I’ve made my point. So, here are my top 5 reasons why you need a professional travel advisor as a trusted partner as we all start to navigate the new travel climate:
1. Just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD.
We have the resources to stay up to date on ever-changing entry and quarantine requirements from every destination. Policies are literally changing moment-by-moment and it is important to know the risks of finding yourself in an unexpected quarantine situation. Also, just because a resort or island is “open”, what is the actual experience going to be like? Are masks required? Are all the facilities and amenities open? Will the kid’s clubs and waterparks be operational? Without buffets, what are the food & beverage options? We can get that info for you to avoid expensive disappointments!
2. We have intel to stay current on which travel partners are trustworthy and fiscally sound. We certainly can’t guarantee that a company won’t default or declare bankruptcy in this crazy environment, but we have connections that flag companies that seem to be in trouble so we can add them to our “do not sell” list. And, if the worst happens, we can help you secure a refund or resolution to the best of our abilities. Most importantly, you won’t face it alone.
3. We are part of a larger network of advisors, so we hear about which resorts, airlines and destinations are going above and beyond to adapt post-COVID wellness policies to protect your health and well-being. And which ones are NOT. We want you to feel safe and secure wherever you may travel.
4. We have some great suggestions of amazing travel experiences that you CAN have right now!
There are some totally mind-blowingly beautiful destinations and resorts right here in our own country that you might miss if you always take off for Mexico all-inclusive resorts every Spring Break. Check out the US National Parks, visit Alaska on a small expedition cruise ship with fewer than 50 fellow passengers, imagine laying out in a field on an upscale dude ranch in Wyoming viewing more stars in the night time sky than your city-dwelling kids could even imagine! We have some fabulous options for you that you might not have ever considered…and we would love to help you get out of your house and live again – safely!
5. We are available to you before, during and after your travels…kind of like a personal backup system!
If you run into any hiccups or need reassurance while away from home, we are your first call! Delayed/Cancelled flights? Text us while you wait in line with the airline and we can try to get you rebooked before you even reach the desk. Is your “ocean view” suite actually overlooking the resort’s plumbing facilities? Let us work out a relocation with the front desk if they don’t respond to your complaint. Try getting that kind of service from one of the big box store travel departments or online travel booking engines! A travel advisor is always your best advocate because we truly CARE!