This week has been especially challenging and a justification for travel insurance protection. I have had one client test positive and will finally be coming home on the 31st. I also had clients the other day, notify me that due to medical reasons, they will have to cancel, and their travel companions want too also. Finding out how this will play depends on the policy of the insurer and there are several players, as the clients wanted or needed different policies, so sorting through the process will be interesting. The other clients, who canceled their trip under the cancel for any reason option, finally received their monies two months after the fact. The claim, which is going to be done this week for the medical claim, is not first, but the second one of the travel season. If I extrapolate into the future, I suspect, while having sold many travel insurance policies to protect the interest of my clients, for the spring, summer, and fall seasons, there will be more. How many, I can’t tell you, but I already anticipate this.
And while this is something I will encounter more and more, this week and this day, Memorial Day is much more important and while you all are enjoying your barbeques and picnics, going to beach, and hitting the road, let’s remember what this day is truly about. It is about the sacrifices made by our military in the defense of freedom and the sacrifice of their lives to preserve what we have for almost 250 years now in every war and police action in which we have been involved throughout or history and even more so now, with “wars” that are not hot wars, but the war we have waged to save people’s lives in the fight against Covid, the doctors and nurses who have succumbed to the perils of Covid, especially in the early months when we did not know much about. Or the firefighters and police officers who handle our domestic front lines against domestic terrorism including 911, where many succumbed to the effects of the asbestos and other materials in those building in the long term. They were also fighting a war and died a long slow death, but they deserve to be memorialized.
Another week has passed and into the travel season in full swing. Clients have traveled, some about to travel and many more in the next few weeks and months. This makes me very happy that I am still at it and in this for the long haul. Definitely why I weathered this latest storm, and it is not over. I am still passionate about this industry with all its ups and downs. I had two sets of clients this week return home, or should I say, one couple from France and the other still in Edinburgh. Why? Well one couple tested negative and were able to fly home and the other did not. Through no fault of their own and I am quite sure they did everything they were supposed to fly home safely, but the result was positive. Because of the rule still in place, they either must test negative or wait 10 days and get a certificate of recovery. These are the only two choices until this rule is lifted, so what we as professional travel advisors in much more than just booking things. We are there to support our clients during this and other events that may arise. I know this is a continuation from last week.
What concerns me is that this is not going to be the only time and while I am optimistic and will be there for each client, this process will repeat itself throughout the whole travel season. Hope for the best and anticipate the worst and knowing the feeling and the added stress this brings on, I had to schedule testing in the morning of my flight at the airport, wait for the result and fortunately, it was negative, but if it were positive, would have had to leave the airport and go through the protocol. One of my colleagues on my recent trip to Barcelona did test positive and she ended up staying on 3 additional days. This adds additional stresses and has clients thinking if they even want to travel due to this rule that needs to be removed. It is fortunate that my clients purchased the travel insurance and most of my other clients had, but Covid does not care if you have travel insurance or not. It does not care about borders. I know I am repeating myself, but this rule, still in place is stunting travel and while 2022 will be an amazing year, it could be better, crossing in both directions across the pond. The time is here to drop this requirement.
What has happened since last week’s musings all several different topics. Not a whole lot really, in my daily life. I am back to my routine with the store, my teaching English class and my clients getting all excited about travel, those already in travel, right now in France and Italy and yes, some enjoyed Rosa’s guiding experience of her beloved Roma. I have others that will follow in the next several weeks to Ireland, Scotland, Croatia, Germany and beyond. It seems that the world is getting back to something that is normal which is good, but we should still be cognizant of the world around us and while I don’t glue myself to the news, I still must keep my eyes open to what is going on, be it internationally or domestically and unfortunately, the latest domestic tragedy happened, not the count on the Covid related deaths number, which is tragic, but what happened in Buffalo, NY this past weekend. Of course, I am always keeping my eyes and ears open to what is happening around the world as it directly impacts what I do.
I heard there were new variants in South Africa, and I heard numbers were up, but I also heard that the deaths and hospitalizations are down, so the vaccines do what they are supposed to do. However, the numbers are up domestically in some parts of the country and holding steady in others. The problem with all this information is that they are broad strokes about the subject and all this information is either going on deaf ears or people are simply tired beyond belief and want to move on. I also read that some of the vaccine options don’t hold up against the latest variants as long, but no, we are not going to have to get boosted every few months. In the end, the scientists will have to find options that last longer, so we can move forward. Has the US border opened with that negative Covid test requirement to return or enter? No, not yet, so with each client I send overseas, I add in the information in the last destination they will be where they can access the test. Being a travel advisor for nearly 25 years now is an amazing experience, but it has it challenges, and I am up for all of them, as most of my colleagues are in this ever-changing environment.
On other topics of the day and over the past week, I am getting excited about my next move, but I have been asked not to start the countdown, so I guess I will wait, but secretly, I am counting down, 53, 52, 51…... We all like to countdown to special events as they are important markers in our lives, just like making lists of the things we want, need, must do and so forth. It gives us ways to organize our lives and over the next 6 weeks or so, I will be doing that, besides putting together my client’s travel portfolios, and sending out the documents. Yes, if possible, I still do that, and yes, I am also in the 21st century, so the clients will also have an electronic version. Many of my clients still want something tangible for their hard-earned dollars, so I want to make sure they have it. This summer, it will be all electronic, but maybe documents attended to personally. We will see. Returning to Minnesota soon, not in the plans for now, but maybe in the fall. I am not settled here in New Hampshire either but enjoying the temporary digs for now. In 6 to 12 months from now, who knows, but I know where I want to be!!!
I am back in the states, yes, tested negative for Covid at the airport yesterday morning, so no delays, but one in the group, was not so lucky, but she returned stateside a few days ago. I just wish the US government would drop this ridiculous requirement for testing which has to be done inside of 24 hours before returning. It causes a great deal of stress and anxiety and most other major countries in the world where travel is prevalent have dropped the requirement. Yes, you still must be vaccinated for the most part although, in some places, this too, is no longer the case, but still must fill out a health declaration form or some sort of online form to be tracked, in case of an outbreak. I think I even read that Denmark has dropped the requirements altogether or was it that they are no longer doing vaccinations. In any case, we still need to be conscious of the situation, but enough is enough and we will have to live with it from now on in one way of another.
As mentioned, I am back stateside, at least for the next couple of months, and then abroad again, but that is for a later blog. The experience of returning to Barcelona and the Catalonian countryside was wonderful and the group with which I traveled was truly wonderful. At last thought, I think we had done our Vermouth tasting, the mussels and more food, food, wine, and more food. It was an amazing experience, and we did tons of walking, but the kilos returned, so I am back to focusing on getting to where I was. It was my choice to eat all the good food folks, so I have only myself to blame. I have no regrets and I know what I must do, so it will be done. All that said, in the end, it was very much an immersive and wonderful experience even with its pitfalls and there were some, of course and excited the promote the more off the beaten path experiences beyond Barcelona and the usual suspects, as there are many.