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Updated: Oct 1, 2020

Admittedly, access to the Hubble Telescope makes it easier to spot.

Five months into *The Sneeze That Re-Shaped The World* there are as many questions as there are answers as to where things are headed when it comes to the re-opening of international travel.

At a time where in days past many folks would be setting forth plans for their Winter vacations – here we are contemplating if Winter Camping in Alberta is really as challenging as it’s portrayed to be.

With the best laid plans of airlines, cruise-ships and tour operators changing on a weekly basis, here’s what we know (or think we know) as of early August.

AIRLINES globally are in trouble after 5 months of grounding approximately 95% of their capacity.

Some will survive to fight another day – some won’t.

Air Transat has announced the cancellation of all direct flights out of Western Canada to sun destinations for the 2020/2021 Winter season.

Air Canada, Westjet and Sunwing are in the process of taking a hard look at what kind of demand there will be in the months ahead in their effort to develop some kind of schedule that will combine profitably filling an aircraft with matching whatever demand to a particular destination is open for business.

My best guess at this point is that most coveted  Winter destinations will require Calgary passengers to travel via a larger center such as Toronto or Vancouver in order to allow airlines to fill the aircraft operating from gateways with significantly larger population bases than Calgary.

CRUISE LINES have a tough road ahead.

There are arguments out there to support the theory that cruise ships provide a safer/cleaner environment for their guests than what is available at larger beach resorts however it’s all about optics and with the media coverage of passengers having endured their fair share of issues at the beginning of Covid madness – there may be a steep climb ahead to the seat of confidence for many passengers.

Especially given that most Winter cruises originate from US home ports such as Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, neither of which are currently at the top of many Canadian’s “I really want to go there” list.

TOUR OPERATORS with a move towards smaller group tours “may” have a slight edge in garnering public confidence in the months to come. Exploring the likes of The Galapagos aboard a 16 passenger yacht will for many, have greater appeal than hopping aboard the 6000 passenger Hemorrhoid Of The Oceans mega ship.

What will change to a large degree is how travelers go forward with choosing their journeys.

Whether it’s a bucket list adventure or a quick getaway, minimizing risk will (or should be) at the top of everyone’s list.

There are the obvious risks that jump out ranging from the hope for an effective inoculation or treatment to social distancing to choosing a destination whose case loads aren’t through the roof.

There’s also the all important financial risk.

In the past – this one was easily circumvented through the acquisition of proper travel insurance.

Many however who thought that their coverage for cancelled trips earlier this year offered adequate protection – were less than enamoured to discover that as long as the XYZ Travel Company/Airline/Tour Operator/Cruise Line offered a *future travel credit* - no claim would be entertained by their insurer on the grounds that a future travel credit held the same weight as a refund.

Sadly – the cashier at Safeway was reluctant to accept my XYZ credit as payment for groceries thus………… I discovered the 2 were not quite the same.

More and more passengers are now investigating travel plan options that include refundable airfares as well as hotel bookings that allow for cancellations 72 hours prior to arrival without massive penalties.

Yes they’ll cost a little more but at least if you have to pull the pin or get the rug pulled out from under you – you’re not out the entire enchilada.

Travel to far flung destinations has always been a Rubik’s Cube of intertwined complexity.

And with Covid in the mix – it gets a little more interesting.

Is your destination both appealing and safe?

Can you get there easily?

When you arrive – are there additional requirements such as Covid Negative health certificates to be produced?

Does your medical insurance cover Covid related issues?

As one of the few travel professionals who have remained open throughout this gong show extraordinaire- we have been working with our various industry partners to get clarity as to where things sit going forward.

Feel free to give us a call to chat.

If the timing’s right – we’ll let you peer through The Hubble for a little bit.

Stay Sane!

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