When the calendar turns, our phones usually start ringing. January is normally a very busy time in the travel industry. People gather over the holidays, finish out the old year and turn their attention to what adventures the new year will bring. Some of them want to get away as soon as they can to get away from the cold weather (and maybe delete any unpleasant experiences with unruly relatives over the holidays from their memories). Others want to get away for spring break or plan a summer vacation.
It’s also the time of year when cruise lines, tour operators and hotels launch specials to attract business while travelers are in the mood to get their plans set. The January wave season is typically the heaviest booking time all year. In conjunction with what’s likely to be a theme of 2021, things are kind of the same and kind of different this year. With vaccines rolling out and optimism abounding, people are feeling more confident about scheduling events in the future. The deals are there, too, with all sorts of travel suppliers running specials for future travel.
What’s different about this wave season is our travelers have a year’s worth of untaken trips taking up space in their heads and hearts. That makes space even more at a premium than in years past, especially if destinations continue to limit capacity well into the year. Populations will be getting vaccinated at different times, so certain countries will still put limitations on how many travelers are allowed and how full hotels and resorts can be.
What hasn’t changed is peoples’ love of travel. If anything, it’s become even more precious since we’ve been deprived of so many of our favorite places. That makes this January busier than ever. Each month you go later into 2021, we’re seeing more and more bookings already. Before you know it, we’ll be moving about the world again. Rules will still be different than they were before March. Some places might require proof of vaccination from travelers. Others will still require negative PCR tests in a certain time frame. More people will be traveling, which will make navigating the protocols more complicated.
As ever, we’re here to make your life — and especially your travels — easier. Our first piece of advice is to get your trip scheduled as soon as you have a set of dates you think will work. Cancelation policies are still flexible, so in most instances you’ll be able to change your dates if need be. But space is filling up fast, even for 2022. Everybody missed travel in 2020 and very few people got to do it, so it’s in demand. We’ll help you navigate the rules in your destination. We’ll also help set up the behind-the-scenes tours that will keep you out of the crowds and find the unique experiences the returning crowds don’t even know are possible.
Safety and personal space are still part of the new luxury in 2021, along with all the other amenities and personalized service we deliver. Wave season is here, and it’s time to plan.
If you or a loved one had a wedding scheduled in 2020, odds are it didn’t go exactly according to plan. You might have rescheduled at least once. You might have gone ahead with the ceremony, but with a lot fewer attendees than you planned. Maybe you just made it legal and will stage the main event when it’s safe to do so. No matter what, you still have your eyes on that honeymoon.
Again, things might have changed in this department. Perhaps your preferred honeymoon destination isn’t open to Americans and you need to switch gears or just get away for a few days on a mini-moon. There are several islands in the Caribbean welcoming visitors that are great for short stays or full-length honeymoons. Looking for fun in the sun but want to stay in the Lower 48? The Florida Keys offer a touch of the Caribbean without a passport, as does the Virtuoso-preferred Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, just minutes from Miami but in a world of its own.
Not everybody wants a beach getaway, of course, and there are plenty of other options out there. Skiers can hit the slopes at any number of resorts in the Rockies of Colorado and Utah, or keep things closer to home with runs at Jay Peak and Killington in Vermont or New Hampshire’s Loon Mountain and Bretton Woods. The national parks make for excellent romantic destinations throughout the country, showing off their natural beauty and featuring some great glamping and cabin options for just the two of you.
If you’re looking to do the big trip now, there are few trips more romantic than a safari, which you can do in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is a possibility, and you can cap off your African or Middle Eastern trip (the UAE are open) with a stop in the Maldives. North of the Sahara, the wonders of Egypt and the oases of Morocco are welcoming Americans.
Most of Europe is closed to Americans or requires a long quarantine, but Croatia—a fabulous honeymoon destination—is not. Visitors are also allowed in Turkey, from the history of Istanbul to the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia and the seaside resorts of Bodrum.
Across the Pacific, French Polynesia is welcoming travelers to the gems of Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea, some of the most romantic islands on Earth. Closer to home, several countries in Central America are open, as well as Peru, Colombia, Chile and Brazil.
Whenever and wherever you’re planning to go, consult with your travel advisor on COVID-19 entry requirements, travel insurance and potential quarantines in your destination. If you’re waiting until your favorite destination is back open, we’re thrilled to help you get some plans in place now. With flexible cancelation and airline change policies, there are fewer and fewer penalties for changing your plans these days.
Do you like picturesque lake resort towns? Do you want to explore the Veneto region with a Venetian? If so, this trip is a perfect fit for you as Daniele (from Mirano, outside of Venice) and I will be hosting this Italy trip June 2022.
We will cruise around Lake Como, explore enchanting villages along the way with a lunch stop in Bellagio, indulge in wine tastings in the Franciacorta and Valpolicella wine regions, stay in a Palladian villa in the medieval castle town of Sirmione overlooking Lake Garda, visit Juliet’s balcony in Verona, watch a glass blowing demonstration by our family friend in Murano, island hop to the colorful village of Burano, “get lost” in the fairytale dream state of Venice and enjoy a private dinner with a Chef and gorgeous view of the island.
Click here to see the itinerary:
We already have a few spots filled (16 people MAX). Contact Stefany with any questions at: email@example.com and or firstname.lastname@example.org.
With passion and adventure,
Daniele and Stefany
If you’re a cruiser, you love cruising and probably already have one booked for 2021. If you’re not a cruiser, you might be thinking there are some deals to be had. To an extent, you’re right, but you shouldn’t wait too long to make your booking for next year. That’s because demand is sky-high (thanks to all those dedicated cruisers). With the CDC likely to extend its no-sail order for ships with more than 250 passengers through the end of the year, most lines aren’t restarting until 2021. And when they do start, they won’t be at 100% occupancy. So just like with premium hotels and tours, space will be limited and if you don’t book early you could end up waiting for a year or two.
During their time away, the cruise lines have been busy putting together panels of experts in infectious disease, public health, hospitality and maritime operations to ensure they can deliver safe and fun experiences on the high seas. The measures they’re implementing will begin before you even board the ship, with enhanced screening in the terminal before passengers board and negative COVID tests likely to be required. The traditional muster drills at the beginning of the cruise will be done electronically, either via app or in-cabin TV to avoid gathering in large crowds. Masks will be required in public areas, and extra space will be allotted for distancing in restaurants and at shows.
Cleaning protocols will be stringent, with every surface throughout the ship routinely sanitized. Even before the pandemic, Lindblad Expeditions introduced the industry’s first self-disinfecting fleet, powered by the ACT CleanCoat system that breaks down unwanted microbes via a photocatalytic process.
If you want to secure space but still not sure how you’ll feel about cruising next year, that’s OK. Cancellation policies are incredibly flexible, with most giving you until 48 or even 24 hours before sailing to change your mind without losing money. The cruise lines and your advisor want you to feel comfortable, not pressured. If you’re not sure what your schedule will look like next year—and let’s be honest, who among us is?—it’s easy to adjust your cruise dates without penalty, so long as there’s space.
Remember, that no-sail order applies only to ships with 250 or more passengers. Small ships, already a fantastic way to have a more intimate experience and get into smaller ports the big ships can’t even reach, can still sail. That means small ships such as those from UnCruise Adventures, SeaDream Yacht Club, Azamara and others are sailing, and adding some unique itineraries to their repertoires.
Cruises will be back and better than ever. The question is, will there be any space left by the time you book?
Is Africa one of your dream travel destinations? If so, Botswana should be on your list.
Seeing the animals from the water offers a different amazing vantage point. I did a land and boat safari in Chobe National Park when I was in Botswana and the highlight was seeing so many elephants playing in the water on the boat safari. The Okavango Delta is a great spot for a safari in a mokoro which is an adventure! Botswana can be paired with Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and or South Africa.
Keep in mind, it is best to plan at least a year in advance for Africa as many of the top lodges fill up quickly as they are limited in space. When you are ready, I am excited to plan your African adventure! Email Stefany at: email@example.com and or firstname.lastname@example.org.
With passion and adventure,
Though we often go abroad to capture a sense of an older way of life and unique culture, it’s good to remember how diverse this country can be and how many distinct regions the U.S. has. The Lowcountry of South Carolina and Sea Islands of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida contain a great deal of history among the people, food and architecture. The mention of Charleston or Savannah conjures up images of Spanish moss hanging from ancient oaks, the roots of the U.S. and some of the best meals you could ever hope to have. Venture farther south to Amelia Island and St. Augustine in Florida, and you reach back to even before the founding.
The capital of the region is Charleston, founded more than a century before the Declaration of Independence was written. There, you can have a wonderful dinner at the famous Hall’s Chophouse or enjoy a more modern take on Southern favorites at the award-winning Husk. Out in Charleston Harbor, you can tour Fort Sumter, where the first battle of the Civil War took place. Down the coast are the inviting beaches and verdant golf courses of Kiawah Island, home to Virtuoso-preferred resort The Sanctuary.
All throughout the region, you’ll encounter the Gullah-Geechee culture, kept alive by the descendants of slaves brought from West Africa in the 1700s. They make their homes primarily on barrier islands of the region, just as their ancestors did. Isolated from the mainland, the Gullah-Geechee have managed to preserve their cooking traditions, music and language. At the Virtuoso-preferred Lodge & Cloister at Sea Island, you’ll be in the heart of the barrier islands.
From Charleston or Sea Island, you’re in prime position to journey to Savannah, the first capital of Georgia and a storybook city that reflects its 18th-century beginnings in every square, street and cemetery. One thing that’s quite modern about Savannah is its arts scene, and you’ll find some of the best works among the collection at Virtuoso-preferred Perry Lane Hotel.
The southernmost of the Sea Islands, Amelia Island has seen eight flags fly over its pristine beaches and hiking trails. Arts lovers will not be disappointed here, either, as the island is home to annual jazz, blues, chamber music and film festivals. It’s also just over an hour to St. Augustine, the oldest continuously inhabited European settlement in what is now the U.S., founded in 1565. Whatever your interests, you can rest easy laying your head at the Virtuoso-preferred Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island.
The Lowcountry and Sea Islands offer a journey that both preserves hundreds of years of history and carves a path to the future of cuisine and culture, right here in the U.S.