There are less than 100 days until Christmas. And if 2021 isn’t the year most people wanted, and the end of the pandemic is not yet in sight, Americans seem poised for a big payoff in comfort, a spectacular vacation.
“I book the Caribbean and Mexico all day, and the Caribbean and Mexico,” said Berkeley Hikox, a local overseas partner for luxury travel advice, of the current flood of inquiries at the end of the year. “The demand is huge,” says Paul Tumpowsky, founder of digital travel agency Skylark.
It’s also full of anomalies.
This year, Americans feel plagued with fewer options than usual. Skiing in Europe or visiting a holiday market in Europe seems too risky, Tampowski said, adding that customers were tired of canceling and rescheduling their trips. I did. While domestic travel is the only safe bet, there is no guarantee of snowfall in December at ski resorts or warm enough to swim anywhere in North Florida.
“One of my board members who have made the vacation tradition of spending $ 250,000 on a trip to Vietnam in the past is Miami this year,” Tampowski said.
“When people ask us about safe bets on vacation travel, they’re not asking about COVID-19 policy,” Hickox explains. Instead, she says, “good values” lead to credibility. We know the weather is good and border policies are unlikely to change. Therefore, Mexico and the Caribbean, where the economy relies heavily on the winter tourist season.
Resorts across the region are charging astronomical prices for limited inventory leftovers. At the Mandarin Oriental Canuan in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, rooms from Christmas to New Years cost over $ 4,050 a night, more than four times the posted rate in November. Entry-level garden-view rooms at the Four Seasons Ocean Club in Nassau, Bahamas typically cost around $ 1,000 per night and require $ 2,500 while on vacation. (If you want a water view the cost is doubled). The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman, located on the island’s Seven Mile Beach, charges $ 1,719 for a slightly older school hall. Save $ 700 per night if you stayed exactly one week ago.
It’s clear that people will be happy to jump in, even due to the lack of better choices, as there are few rooms left in each of them.
“Costa Rica is as far south as it gets,” Tumpowsky said, citing a mix of weather and border restrictions. “If you can convince yourself to go somewhere in the country like Sea Island [in Georgia] Or Palmetto Bluff [in South Carolina], It will be ridiculously expensive and cold. “
Leigh Rowan, whose consultancy firm Savanti Travel serves high net worth travelers to the Bay Area, added another limitation. “Hawaii is already full,” he says. “I mean perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect, perfect.”
For travelers who love the end of the holiday season, that means a lot of considerations that don’t apply to the “normal” year. Like many others, if you still don’t know what your trip will be like after three months, here’s how to navigate your vacation plans.
In fact, it is already too late to book a vacation trip in September. “Labor Day is usually a watershed time for many, and it’s time to look at the remaining options and trigger,” Rowan says. “But by May or June of this year, all of our popular destinations, villas and private homes, were gone. All with 4 to 8 rooms were gone.
The consensus is that today’s travelers need to be flexible about what type of accommodation they book and where they are going. Or both.
“The people who pushed deposits between 2020 and 2021 were trapped for a year, and others didn’t want to get stuck, so we planned early,” says Tumpowsky. “For everyone, that means you have to look wider than usual. You can’t just insist on going to Barbados or getting a room in a particular category. . “
Don’t even plan a visit to the island, says Hikox. Many hotels have a longer minimum stay on vacation. Usually 7 nights. Additionally, crossing various borders increases the risk of nationwide route closures, complexity of testing, and additional hassle.
If you want to think of exotic destinations like French Polynesia, many hotels have stricter cancellation policies during vacations. Therefore, reservations can only be rescheduled if they are forfeited within 60 days of their scheduled arrival. Refunds are not possible. (Deposits can be made as early as 90 days.) It’s a big window where things can change. Alternatively, you can look for exceptions such as The St. Regis Bora Bora. The St. Regis Bora Bora offers free 14-day cancellations during the holiday season, with weekly reservations at overwater bungalows costing around $ 20,000.
And consider both the classic destination and the next big place, the agent says. “NS. Bath will be at the top, it will be the craziest zoo ever, ”predicts Tampowski, based on the initial request. According to Rowan, customers “fed up with the pandemic at this point” are looking for less common destinations in Mexico, such as Oaxaca, Puerto Escondido, Todos Santos and Lapas. .. He added that those excluded from the best hotels in Costa Rica are considering Colombia, Panama and Nicaragua. The problem is that in some underdeveloped destinations, “stocks can be low. Sometimes it’s just three big hotels, but I think they’re all full.
Knowledge is power
Please familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions of your reservation before making a deposit. If I plan to pay 60% of my accommodation in advance, can I comfortably park this amount at the hotel of my choice? The answer depends on whether you are going there to join the crew for the New Years party or whether you are a happy destination to return.
Also review the emergency response plan for your destination. At this point in the pandemic, there is historical precedent for how the destination handled the outbreak. For example, Anguilla quickly tightened the rules, but places like the Dominican Republic were reluctant to do so. “The biggest concern we have is whether these places are ready,” Tampowski said. “What about the rules? “
You can also look for good clues about the airline. “NS. Kitz has a problem with connecting to the northeast because the island doesn’t understand plans to deal with the outbreak, ”says Tampowski. “Airlines want to figure out what it takes to shut down which is what the demand will be, so when forecasts become ambiguous airlines are ready to stop on daily flights from New York. Will be gone and you’ll need to log into Miami. “
take out insurance
Be prepared to evacuate your patients if necessary, especially if you are heading to an island with limited beds. After all, there is still pandemic rabies. Companies like Covac Global sell a policy that costs around $ 800 for a two-week trip, and even if you pass a positive COVID-19 test while on vacation, you will no doubt be repatriated. I guarantee.
You will also need to purchase another travel insurance policy to protect your investment. “A cancellation policy for whatever reason usually guarantees that you get 75% of your deposit back,” Rowan advises. “We recommend it to everyone. (This tool from SquareMouth makes it easy to compare policies.)
Or wait until the end
Don’t expect last minute deals this year. Luxury resorts don’t have enough open inventory to justify lower prices. However, the flexibility can be increased if you are willing to wait, especially for those minimum stay requirements. It’s a useful approach for those who are cash rich and don’t have the time.
Be available for last minute cancellations. “Regardless, people always feel uncomfortable at the last minute, someone gets sick, and the hotel doesn’t tell people who test positive for COVID to come down,” Tumpowsky explains. “But we need an advisor to be at the forefront of the cancellation,” he adds.
The best way to take advantage of it is to know exactly what you want. A family of five who compromised their Christmas vacation by booking a two-bedroom suite instead of a three-bedroom villa may ask an advisor to monitor their preferred accommodation for cancellation. “We’re good at being at the forefront if there’s something very specific you’re looking for,” says Tumpowsky.
“My best advice for those just starting out is that flexibility is important,” Hickox adds. “Take everything as it is. It would be a good experience if you could roll it over with a punch.
Christmas lights and ornaments are displayed inside the terminal at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Flexibility is key for those who still want to travel during the holiday season, according to industry experts.