STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (WXYZ) — Spring break was scratched for most people due to the pandemic, but there are still so many unknowns when it comes to travel. Should you cancel any planned summer or fall trips or even big vacations beyond that?
Diane and Norm Stangis of Sterling Heights are not letting this pandemic spoil their travel plans.
What is she looking forward to most?
“Oh my gosh, just getting out of the house,” laughed Diane.
In September, they’re heading to a lakeshore getaway in Frankfort on the west side of the state.
In October, they’re embarking on a fall color tour in Marquette.
“We talked about it and decided that we were going to go ahead and schedule those plans being cautiously optimistic that things will be back to some normality by then,” said Diane.
They did check the cancellation policies, and – at each location – guests can cancel up to three days before check-in.
Travel expert Jack Ezon of Embark Beyond is encouraging people who’ve already booked well in advance to try to renegotiate their cancellation policy – especially with hotels.
“It’s a win-win-win if we keep people – a commitment or a deposit or somehow on account with the hotel. So, they’re working very much with [people] not only to reduce or eliminate cancellation policies but put in incentives for people to leave a deposit and come back later,” explained Ezon.
He says he’s seeing a lot of added perks and deals – such as all meals included or extra activities.
He and others in the industry also predict a lot more cars hitting the roads.
“Forty-five percent of folks say they’re going to replace air travel with car travel,” said Tori Emerson Barnes.
Emerson Barnes is the Executive Vice President of Public Affairs for the U.S. Travel Association.
She said the organization has worked with the CDC and other health experts to come up with a core set of health and safety guidelines for the travel industry.
It released them this week – calling for more health screenings for employees, enhanced sanitation procedures, and additional barriers to help stop the spread of the virus, among other directives.
“We want there to be consistency across the board so the traveler has an expectation that they will, that they know will be consistent,” said Emerson Barnes.
The U.S. Travel Association’s guidelines also note that responding effectively to COVID-19 is a shared responsibility and is urging travelers to do their part and follow government and industry guidance to help protect themselves and others.
The Stangis family had hoped to book a big Alaskan cruise for June of next year to celebrate their daughters finishing grad school. But they did put that trip on hold.
“Yeah, [a] very big disappointment. We’ve been planning it for about two-and-a-half years. So, everybody was disappointed. But fingers crossed that they get a vaccine out and everybody will be able to travel again,” said Diane.
Ezon anticipates more people will be opting for regional driving vacations or stay-cations – especially involving more remote properties where folks can have the least amount of interaction with other people.
Bottom line: don’t wait for a hotel, resort, or vacation destination you’ve booked to reach out to you about contingencies. You need to call them now to see what options you have for postponing or canceling your plans due to the pandemic – if you need to .