First coined in 2007 by screenwriter Justin Zackham, the term ‘Bucket List’ has been used by most intrepid travelers to describe their pie in the sky travel goals, often filled with places they’d like to go and experiences they’d like to have at least once in their lifetime. Type the phrase “bucket list” in your Google search bar and you will find links to countless blog posts, Instagram images, and Pinterest boards. There are even websites that provide would-be list makers with tools and ideas to create their own lists. In fact, our partners at Virtuoso call your travel bucket list a Wanderlist, and have created their own tool, which you can access HERE. Shameless plug—add your travel advisor to your Virtuoso Wanderlist and they can help make those travel dreams come true! You can even share the list with family members or friends you’d like to travel with - it’s a great tool!
Evaluate Your Bucket List
Not surprisingly, our personal bucket lists have changed a bit since the COVID-19 pandemic turned our own travel dreams into nightmares. You see, as travel advisors, we not only keep our wanderlust alive and well with our own travel bucket lists, but we get great satisfaction in helping our clients cross things off of their bucket lists, as well. Sure, we help people plan college visits, weekend getaways and school break vacations, but as travel advisors, we also help people make long-term travel dreams come true. Those dreams come in many different forms – a multigenerational family reunion in a private villa in Costa Rica; trekking to visit gorillas in Rwanda; seeing the Northern Lights; horseback riding on the beach; a hot air balloon ride in New Zealand; a visit to the Colosseum; tickets to the Olympics….and the list goes on! Our Elli Travel team spent many months when the pandemic first hit helping clients unwind their trips, rebooking when possible, helping with refunds and credits when rescheduling didn’t make sense, etc. Many of our clients are now asking “how can I keep my travel dreams alive now that COVID is staring us in the face?” We have received some version of this question by many of our clients who want to travel, but aren’t sure if it is safe for them to do so or what it may look like.
This is where Elli Travel comes in. We have met weekly since the word coronavirus was first uttered in the news. Our main objective in these meetings has been to stay abreast of the ever-changing protocols surrounding COVID-19. We discuss how best to assist our clients in determining their own risk tolerance, helping them to determine whether they are comfortable traveling now or if it’s best to wait. We are committed to helping our clients manage their personal expectations, as well. What will their experience feel like at a given destination? What are the quarantine and/or test requirements? How will they safely get to their destination? What cleaning protocols are in place to keep clients safe? Will reservations need to be made to use the pool or gym? Will daily housekeeping be provided? These and other questions must all be addressed as part of an overall risk-assessment plan when deciding when and where to travel.
Partnerships Really Matter
In addition to helping to determine when and if to travel, our wonderful partnerships help to ensure that once a client arrives at their destination, they will be safe and fully cared for. Since our founding, Elli Travel has worked hard to establish partnerships with top 4- and 5-star hotels in destinations all around the globe. In addition, as proud members of the Virtuoso Consortium, our clients can rest assured that we have ample resources and training to assist with any inquiry that may come our way. These incredible connections mean that we can help you wade through all of the information (and misinformation), protocols, and any other travel considerations you may have.
Aside from COVID protocols, many clients have questions about how much flexibility can be expected. The term “flexibility” has taken on new meaning during the pandemic, and many hotels and travel providers are offering new terms and conditions (T&C’s) to allow their clients flexibility during this time. That could mean flexible cancellation policies of up to seven days (or less) in advance of a trip; minimal deposits with extended final payment options; 2020 rate parity if pushing travel to 2021; and added amenities or “bonuses” if opting to reschedule travel rather than cancel. When planning travel, discuss any concerns you may have with your travel advisor, as they can help match your expectations with the right property or destination.
Time to Start Dreaming Again?
Lastly, many clients want to know how far in advance they should be planning their travel. Not surprisingly, many travel bucket lists share the same destinations – Africa, Galapagos, Iceland, New Zealand & Australia, Venice, the Maldives, Tokyo, and the list goes on (and on, and on!)! While some destinations can be planned months or even weeks in advance (We’re looking at you, Europe and the Caribbean!), trips to destinations like East Africa, Egypt, the Galapagos, etc. may need to be planned up to a year or more in advance. It is expected that some of the destinations that allow for natural “social distancing” will move up on everyone’s bucket lists, and may therefore need to booked even farther in advance. Travel providers are already seeing an uptick in bookings to those destinations for 2021 and even 2022. Your advisor can assist you in determining how far in advance you should be planning and what the relative risks and rewards are for doing so in advance.
The bottom line is, there is no time like the present to make your own Wanderlist! If you like using technology to assist in planning your travel dreams, stop by the Virtuoso Wanderlist website to get that going. Of course, your Elli Travel team member is always ready to help you with that list as well. Not only is our team extremely well-traveled, but we specialize in many destinations. If your advisor hasn’t personally visited a destination, chances are one of their colleagues has. We always work together to make sure that our clients have the best experience they possibly can within their budget. And remember those partnerships we keep plugging? That often means extra amenities for you at no additional cost. We are always up front about what your costs will be, how we are compensated and how you may benefit from having us assist you.
When you are ready, we are here. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your Elli Travel Advisor to assist.
Photo credits: Waldemar Brandt and @r3dmax on Instagram