Expert travel designer, Laura Kelly discusses how to navigate planning your post-pandemic vacation
As restrictions begin to ease, it’s become clear the travel industry has changed since the pandemic shut down most travel over two years ago. Although travel has opened back up with new trends, destinations and experiences, there are new aspects to travel that tourists should consider maximizing their experience.
“It’s an exciting and happy time, but it is important to be aware, be prepared, and be confident getting back into the world,” says Laura Kelly, Travel Designer and Owner of Elsewhere By Laura. Based in the Greater Sudbury area, Laura provides travel design and experience planning services virtually or in-person to interested travellers across Canada.
“Travel has picked up drastically for Canadians in the last six months, and the industry is now adjusting to the extreme pent-up demand,” adds Laura, “The challenge has been faced and we have to be smart about travel moving forward. It requires a lot of preplanning, and my recommendation is to book as far in advance as you can.”
There are multiple trends in the travel industry expected to take place this summer. “We’re going to see multigenerational family trips happening more than ever.
Grandparents treating grandkids on trips wanting to spend this time together. We’re going to see celebration trips such as honeymoons and destination weddings that have been postponed,” says Laura who suggests considering going on these trips off-season for better luck with availability.
How has travel changed?
“Travelling is getting easier since the onset of the pandemic, but you still have to be smart about it. We are seeing hotels and flights already booking up well into next Spring, and car rentals are very limited and more expensive than ever. Flight costs will inevitably go up with rising gas prices and there are fewer flights available as short-staffed airlines try to gauge what demand will be like,” adds Laura, “So, if you have an idea of where you want to travel over the next few years, be proactive and start planning with your trusted advisor now.”
Are cruises still at risk?
Cruise ships are also experiencing the pent-up demand, conveys Laura, noting that even around the world cruises are selling out a year or two in advance.
“Cruiselines have always had high health and safety standards,” adds Laura, “They have the most stringent guidelines about the standards they have to uphold, and they could be one of the safest ways to travel now. There is that stigma of being stuck on a boat, but there are protocols in place and travel protection you can purchase to ease these concerns.”
Should I use a travel agent?
Working with a trusted travel advisor is more important than ever, as the planning process is an essential step in ensuring that you get the trip that you expect.
“True travel professionals will assist you every step of the way in the planning process, so the question is how much is your time worth?” says Laura, “There was always value in using an advisor, and now the pandemic has proven how important it is to have a professional on your side. It doesn’t all come down to the dollar amount, as you will benefit from their knowledge, experience and expertise, along with perks and added amenities.”
With ever-changing entry/exit requirements, testing protocols, proof of vaccinations, and more required to travel, “you have someone on your side if something goes wrong,” says Laura. “Travel comes with a lot more requirements than it did before but the payoff to getting back into the world is so worth it!”
For information on the latest travel trends and destinations, visit elsewherebylaura.com and sign up for her newsletter to be the first to know about deals and Laura’s tips and experiences.