How to make a trip you delayed during covid feel extra special


If you’re planning to take a trip you had to call off, you’ll want to make it special. By The Way spoke with experts and everyday travelers for advice on what they learned from their return to travel.

Treat yourself to an upgrade

If you make room in your budget, there’s nothing wrong with splurging a little. Daniel Nesti and his wife saw their wedding plans upended by the pandemic, so when they finally visited the island of Kauai for a Hawaiian honeymoon this past July, they flew first class — a first for the Upstate New York couple.

Nesti, a 31-year-old mechanical engineer and freelance videographer, said being cooped up for a couple of years made him and his wife “a little bit more willing to spend money and go out to nice dinners and do things that we normally otherwise don’t do at home.”

Maurice Smith, a luxury travel advisor and founder of the Eugene Toriko travel agency, said as travel has rebounded, he has seen clients willing to spend more money to create a memorable trip, from accommodations to activities. “They want to just get more out of their travels,” he said.

You could also plan a longer trip. Betsy Ball, co-founder and partner of the travel agency Euro Travel Coach, has seen clients arriving earlier and staying later so they have more time to “immerse themselves” in the place they’re visiting.

After you arrive, staying as present as possible can enhance your visit.

When Holly Landis, a 29-year-old living in Pennsylvania, was finally able to travel home to London last July to visit her family and attend a friend’s wedding, she worked to minimize her phone time.

“I was really trying to be mindful, especially when I was talking to people, of putting my phone away and really being present in the moment,” said Landis, a freelance writer and digital marketing consultant.

Holdsworth, 43, and her husband took a similar approach when they traveled to Iceland from their home in Michigan. During their visit, they seized opportunities to pull over during a drive to eat lunch near a waterfall, or take a nap overlooking the water.

“I think that there is such a beauty in just relaxing and enjoying the moment and being out of [our usual] headspace,” said Holdsworth, who owns a PR and marketing agency for schools.

Still, there is value is capturing some of those moments you’ve been looking forward to. Holdsworth hired a photographer through Flytographer to take some professional shots of her and her husband. Landis found herself taking more photos than usual, an impulse brought on by the extended lead-up to her visit.

“I think that trip I had suddenly realized, like, ‘What if something does happen and I never get the chance to take these pictures again?’”

With entry requirements easing for many destinations, why not take advantage of all they have to offer? Smith said many clients are stepping outside their comfort zone and getting more adventurous with how they spend their money. “It’s like, ‘I never know when I’ll have this opportunity again,’” Smith said.

He has seen customers try activities such as scuba diving for the first time, and he has received numerous requests for helicopter rides.

Nesti and his wife, Maria, decided to take a chopper ride while in Kauai. “It was unbelievable,” he said. “At one point I caught myself because my mouth was just open for a solid 10 minutes straight.”

The pandemic is ongoing, and health and safety rules could still change with short notice, so travelers should remain flexible. Ball said taking a trip as it comes “is a shift in attitude that’s really important and makes travel better now.”

She added that unforeseen hurdles could end up having positive outcomes. “Sometimes, if something goes awry, it can create stories and memories that you never would have had any other way,” she said.

Nesti noted the importance of patience and compromise, as destinations and local businesses may be adjusting to the return of tourists, and some attractions may be harder to visit than usual. He and his wife had hoped to spend evenings watching sunsets at a local beach, but timed entry restrictions and high demand for slots limited them to just one outing.

Still, he said, “be happy that you’re out doing something amazing.”

You can take steps to prepare for unexpected difficulties, though, Ball said. Buying travel insurance for the non-refundable parts of your trip can be at least cover partial reimbursement, depending on your policy.

With the coronavirus still circulating, take your comfort level and risk factors into account. Rebecca Robinson, 39, who took a delayed girls’ trip to Napa Valley with a friend in November, made her own calculations about going.

Napa was high on the Massachusetts lawyer’s list of places to visit, and it seemed like a safe option, with a number of outdoor wine tastings and indoor mask requirements. She took extra precautions, opting not to go into her office or make any plans with friends the week before the trip.

“It’s got to be right for the people who are traveling, and the timing’s got to be right,” Robinson said. “You’ve got to feel comfortable with the covid precautions that are in place in the places you are going.”

If you can travel safely, though, it may be worth seizing the moment.

“I think we all deserve a little bit of time off to recharge and find some rest where we can,” Landis said. “So, I think [it’s worth doing] whatever you can do to do that now rather than keep putting it off.”


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