Since the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus a pandemic in early March, travel plans have been, to say the least, a logistical nightmare. Trips of a lifetime are on hold (for now), overseas adventures have been abruptly cut short, and travel companies’ rebooking policies seems like they’re changing as fast as the chyrons on CNN. Dealing with out-of-your-control trip changes is always a hassle, but it’s ten times worse when everyone else is trying to navigate the last-minute confusion too. (We’ve seen reports about travelers sitting on hold for hours while trying to change vacation plans.)
Through it all, Virtuoso travel advisors have been on call, helping their travelers get home, stay home, and sort through the fine print. Moments like these that really showcase the value of having a travel advisor. They’re ready to tackle the unexpected, and when you’re not sure what to do or who to call, they’ve got you covered. Here’s their advice right now: It’s OK to take a wait-and-see approach with your future travel plans. Amid all of the uncertainty, “postpone, don’t cancel” is a good travel mantra.
We love how these travel advisors – and so many others – have come through in the past few weeks. Here, how they’re showing up in times of crisis:
They’ll work all night to get you home safely.
“Earlier this month, we received word that Peru was likely going to close their borders by the end of the week. We rescheduled our clients’ flights, but received a call from our tour operator partners in the country at 11:45 p.m. on Tuesday, letting us know the borders were closing even sooner. My colleague and I hopped on the phone and tapped into every resource we had, and by 2 a.m., had booked our clients on a flight out in time. That family of five avoided an indefinite stay in Lima.” – Kiersten Murnane
If you can’t go to Japan, they’ll bring Japan to you.
“It’s difficult to cancel a trip you’ve put so much heart into. A client of mine had to cancel their journey to Japan – a highlight was supposed to be a tea ceremony in a Japanese garden. I’m a Japanese travel expert and have authentic tea ceremony materials that have been handed down through my family, so I set up and hosted a tea ceremony in their home for them. It gave them a little preview of what’s to come, and something to look forward to for when they’re ready to pack up and go.” – Kay Fahlberg
Frantic, last-minute change logistics? Handled.
“I helped several college students get out of Italy quickly. I booked one on a Florence-to-Newark flight that connected in Rome. When the Florence leg was cancelled at the last minute, we scrambled to find a driver to pick the student up in Florence and drive him to Rome. The airline wanted to put him on a crowded bus to Bologna and fly him out from there, but we found a better option.” – Laurie Reitman
They often know about travel disruptions before you do.
“At the onset of the coronavirus crisis, we immediately jumped into action and created a list of all our clients traveling between March and May. We called them, listened to their concerns, and counseled them regarding their options moving forward. We reached out to travel companies and negotiated to extend credits in situations where it was outside of standard policy. Many of our Virtuoso connections have gone above and beyond to help us help travelers.” – Marcy Zyonse
Top Illustration: Tera Vector/Getty Images Plus