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I WANT TO TRAVEL! Do you recommend it?

Updated: Oct 8, 2021

I hear this SOOOOOO much lately!

It's been a few weeks since I have returned from the Dominican Republic, and I can say that I can speak now about my experience. Time heals... haha

I am grateful for the experience: For exploring a beautiful country and meeting people who have touched me. However, I saw firsthand that travel is not what it use to be - in so many ways. As agents we get a little use to having the stops pulled and are privy to some extra perks (I'm not complaining!!!) Let me say this was NOT my experience in the getting there and coming back. I experienced things that my clients do and wow - it was an eye-opener! As I was getting ready for this trip, I was incredibly excited of the prospect of both traveling personally and booking travel professionally, and that things were looking positive. I couldn't be more wrong after my experience.

First, the way you use to travel, be it booking on your own or with an agent, has changed. Numerous changes, cancellations, information needed - it is a LOT. Second, the services you recall in destination prior to COVID, let's just say those have been 'greatly modified' at the moment. Hotels, Resorts, excursions, clubs and restaurants - they have all endured what we have here in Canada, however the impact on their countries is magnified as the destinations we visit tend to rely heavily on tourism. They are suffering greatly over the loss of tourism and it shows. They too are understaffed and resources are limited. If you plan on going, be patient with them please.

If you are not one for paperwork, organization, airlines changing flights and dates on you with dizzying regularity, researching the ever-changing regulations required for your destination and home countries - you may not enjoy the booking experience. It is a LOT of work and you need to be thorough less you find yourself prevented from leaving the country, or returning. Before Covid our documents basically consisted of our boarding pass and passport. Traveling today (in addition to those documents) we can add Federal health declarations for the Country you are heading to, health records complete with proof of vaccination, QR Codes for entry, required apps to be installed on smart-phones, proof of mandatory hotel stay, it can be a bit overwhelming!

You say 'Sandra, that's not so bad! Just a few extra forms!" Wait... it gets better!

Air space is continuously being limited by airlines as they cut flights to pack more passengers onto planes to allow for less waste (great idea!) However.... this causes booked vacations to be undone, redone, recalculated, and 9 times out of ten that means your vacation now requires more money, as the dates for the hotel you booked six months ago need to change to coincide with your new flight dates, and this happens a week before you leave, and now the price is three times more as their space is limited as well. And that's if your hotel has availability for your new dates, otherwise its back to shopping for a new hotel!

Need a COVID test before you return? That's an experience all in of itself. If you want to learn more about this, please reach out to me; because of what I have experienced firsthand I have little faith that COVID will be disappearing anytime soon. I understand fully why tests are run as they are in developing Countries, however let's just say that am thankful that in Canada we are regulated properly.

When you are in destination, there's masking, there are issues with resorts that were never there prior to COVID, it's not the same at all!!!

Toronto Pearson Airport, August 2021

When traveling via airports, the lines are LONG, the questions seem never-ending, the paperwork - well, you get it! Do you believe in social distancing and get uncomfortable if someone is not 6 feet away from you? You may not appreciate the airport settings since there is no such thing as social distancing. The connections and delays, the lack of staffing in airports and for airlines leaves more and more last minute cancellations happening. The lack of qualified staff that are working leave your bags laying on the tarmac, damaged beyond smitharines, then sent to Timbuctoo... I'm not kidding!!! This is my bag (below) as received in Toronto, however the amazing packing tape job was all me!! My bag was split open, contents coming out, rips and tears on the front and back. So when I checked it and the airline then lost it when I showed up in Calgary they asked for a description. I said 'the ugliest bag you've ever seen'... When I explained it was ruined and showed a picture, they asked if that happened because of them. Really? Nooooo I travel with broken bags all the time and just roll the dice! Oh my......

My Bag :(

I've never had an issue ever with bags or delays and this trip was nothing but! If you miss a flight due to a tight connection (in my case my first flight was delayed as they didn't have enough staff) your airline is also responsible to find accomodations for the night, and since my new flight left in 24 hours I was happy at the prospect of simply getting out of the airport... well they didn't find any accommodation and I was told 'good luck' since there were six flights affected. I was left to find my own and that took a good hour, and the hotel was a half hour away. Oh and I was lucky as there were over 3000 people who were stranded in Toronto that night! Others I spoke with indicated their 'new flight' left in four days.... as they unpacked children into a hotel at 230 in the morning to hunker down for days.

Simply put - It's a nightmare......If you're up for exciting and crazy - pack your bags as this is what you can expect!!!

A few rules as they are now: Cruising - if you aren't double vaccinated with a recognized vaccine you aren't going. If you aren't double vaccinated when you return from out of country - you are required to stay in the government approved hotels for 3 nights. And it's costly.

Do I recommend travel right now - in September 2021 and for this winter season? No, I honestly do not. I left prior to our COVID numbers headed on a steady incline, and now that COVID in Alberta is becoming more and more an issue once again I see this becoming a huge issue for travel. Travel is not what you think it will be. Services and amenities are limited in your destination, regardless of where you are going! I especially do not recommend travel for the unvaccinated for obvious reasons, the less obvious ones being you may have issues leaving or coming back, and you still have that expensive 3 day government quarantine when you return. The amount of money one pays for a vacation has increased noticeably, whereas services have decreased. If you just want to get away and don't really care about the trouble it takes to get you there, it can be done. I simply want my clients to be realistic about what their vacation will look like once you are there. If you aren't the fussiest, are understanding and patient, and can 'go with the flow', you will be fine.

Do I regret going? Not one bit. For the incredible experience (good and bad!), the information I learned firsthand is invaluable to me. I've missed travel so much and being away was good for the soul. I truly understand why people are longing to leave as I feel it too. I want you to weigh the pros and cons and be realistic in what you will get and what that will cost you (even in frustration!)

This was a good look for me... haha I was beyond exhausted

Me trying to catch some sleep - awake 22 hours at this point and beyond frustrated!

Don't feel like doing it alone? Give Wood Travel a call or shoot me an email, I will give you my honest opinion based on your circumstances and wishes. I will take the work-load from you and explain your trip in a concise and honest approach. I do realize that by explaining the truths behind travel at the moment, it could in all likelihood cost me a sale as travel isn't right for everyone. I would rather promote and sell travel ethically, and keeping my clients informed and safe is far more important than making a sale at the moment. I know that this approach has been welcomed and I've been thanked by many for my open views. New clients who have not used an agent before have definitely said that they will be back once the time is right for them.

I would like to thank all of my clients for the phone calls, words of support as we continue to navigate limited travel. I am thankful for your encouraging words, bottles of wine and gift cards!

I absolutely feel the love!!!!! I hope it won't be long before we have this mess behind us and can once again explore freely.


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