It took me the longest time to remove this tag from my luggage…. It wasn’t just a tag, it was an umbilical cord holding me to my travel life memories. When did I get so sentimental ?! Sensing it will be a while before heading for a new trip, holding on to anything travel related is so bitter sweet. We all are trapped inside of our houses, but let’s remember it is only a temporary thing. Even though hopping on a plane is obviously out of the question, there are still things you can do to ensure your return to the travel life will have few extra benefits.
Call your credit card company
Your main and most important step is to call your credit card company, and here is why. As most of the frequent travelers, I hold Amex credit card which gives me not only a Piece of Mind while overseas, but numerous perks. It does come with the heavy annual fee, which totally pays for itself if used for traveling. However, as the planet hit pause, I questioned if I should keep or cancel the card. It still has plenty of valuable perks, but the main reason I have it is for trips abroad. I called Amex’s retention department to see what they can do for me. I was granted a $200 worth credit in points as well as a few small deals.
If you have more than one credit card for travel, call them all up. It’s quarantine, you’ve got time!
Check with Airlines and Hotels
If the global border shut down caught you mid trip (like me!) the chance you had to cancel or book a new flight is high. I faced the global madness while on the tropical island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. In order to truly immerse myself in the islander life I did not connect to the internet for a few days… For better or for worse it gave me a chance to enjoy the vacation I won’t have a long time to come. However, as I was detoxing from social media for a few days, a strong wave of pandemic hit the world hard. By the time I plugged back in to “real” life, it did not even look real anymore. In the matter of a few hours I had to find a flight back to the mainland in New Zealand, cancel the existing flight leaving 3 days later and urgently pack. Try to do all of this with a VERY bad internet connection from a voucher.
I was lucky that place we found at booking.com was so understanding and sweet, they refund the money for all unused nights right away.
Airline is a different story! I was unfortunate to fly with JetStar. Not only do they have a bad reputation , but horrible customer service. I requested a full refund, but got a voucher instead. I am still fighting this one, but worse comes to worse. I am stuck with the free flight to Australia, valid for 1 year.
All other travel reservations
Whatever bookings you might’ve made, or even worse prepaid, prior to your now cancelled or midway interrupted trip, you should now revisit.
Prior to my journey to New Zealand and way before the pandemic took over the world, I made a reservation with the Stray Bus company to explore the South Island. Well, things literally went south Haha! I had to cancel that arrangement because the massive flooding destroyed a big portion of the route I was planning to take. Not to go into long description of the negotiations with Stay Bus, in a few words it was a purely bad experience. I ended up writing a long review on TripAdvisor. It turned into more mess than I could imagine! Initially they posted my review. I got so many messages from other travelers saying their reviews were banned and they were going to take it to the next level and sent a letter to the Minister of the Travel department in New Zealand. At that time I was scrambling in between demanding a full time job, packing and still planning a trip a few days before the flight. Later I simply forgot about the Stray Bus hustle. Few weeks ago I got notification that my review has been taken down. Whaaat?? Robin Hood in me demanded justice! So I emailed TripAdvisor asking for an explanation. Well, the long and angry review is back up for travelers to beware.
Quarantine won’t last forever!
Bottom line, we all now have the time to do something travel related. It never hurts to earn a few extra bonuses, vouchers, miles, whatever you are collecting. For me, the biggest perk by doing all this, I feel I am staying connected to my adventures and travel life. It puts a smile on my face to dust off my backpack and restock the travel toiletries. The day we all can flood the airports might be far away, but it is coming. And I want to be prepared and enjoy it to the fullest!