6 Reasons Why Travel Booking in Advance is a Smart Choice post COVID-19
Updated: Jul 7, 2020
COVID-19 has been devastating for the world. The small things we used to take for granted are coming into focus and making us more appreciative, and one of those is travel - travel isn't just the vacations we take, its the commute from home to the office, its the spontaneous weekend plans and drives, the freedom to pull up in a highway restaurant and eat without worries. It's also the business trips we take, commuting between cities, meeting new people, going to new places.
Of course, travel is taking a back seat now in these times, and rightfully so. But as the world starts to open and everyone begins cautiously stepping out, it's important to keep in mind the various risks associated with the same. One of these is traveling post-COVID and being exposed to the coronavirus, to the risks that come with it. After the pandemic, travel will be safer, and all the more important - for this reason, even in times of uncertainty, advance booking will be extremely important post-pandemic, and a part of this is also traveling insurance, finding the right places, and knowing when and how to do prebooking/advance booking.
What is advance booking, the benefits of advance booking, when to book in advance, and how to save money while doing the same - all these questions will be answered in this blog, your guide to the advantages of advance booking. Generally speaking, advance booking/prebooking involves confirmation and payment for the different stages of travel - traveling, accommodation, intercity travel, and other related services. So why should you book your tickets and plan out your trip in advance? Here are some reasons.
1] Travel Insurance, the new Holy Grail
Travel insurance is an insurance policy that offers compensation for any travel-related losses, personal /medical and delays and cancellations of flights during your travel within India or internationally. Many people lost a lot of money when countries and cities started shutting due to COVID, because of thousands of booked flights, tours, hotels, etc. canceled last minute. This risk is still prominent - outbreaks of the virus and hotspots crop up every day, and for whatever reason you may be traveling you need to be protected from the same. Not only does it provide financial security, but it also allows for medical security in possibly unknown and new places you may be in, in case of an outbreak or possible infection from the virus.
So what does booking in advance have to do with this? Travel insurance is often offered for flights and trains only initially and gets much more expensive the more you delay it. There are also more options available when you opt for travel insurance earlier on your trip, from different companies and different deals. Another benefit of opting for travel insurance earlier on is having the safety net for longer, so if you need to travel earlier than expected or have unexpected cancellations from the flight or accommodation or any other service, you can get a full refund from the insurance. There are 3 kinds in general - medical, luggage, and cancellation based insurance. The main benefit is that travel insurance, in particular travel medical insurance, is a huge asset for traveling post-COVID.
Check out Nerd Wallet's comprehensive guide on travel insurance in a post-pandemic world, and why it is important.
2] Cheaper rates and better deals
When you book early, it is more likely that you will find deals that are better and cheaper, ones like you've never seen before because mostly everyone tends to book at the last minute due to uncertainties. However, if you combine travel insurance and early booking, chances are you'll find great deals and discounts to save money, get better offers, sometimes get upgrades. Why is that? because travel companies, especially in these times, want more people to book early so as to reduce their uncertainty and have a fixed possible income. They basically want you to book early, and they'll return the favor you've done to them generously.
You can also find cheaper rates by booking flights, trains, buses, etc. tickets earlier because it allows you to access discounts and coupons available for the time you are booking in as well as future deals offered to you. Another point to note is that many flight services let you buy memberships for lesser prices and access more early bird offers that way.
For more about booking cheap flight tickets and getting ahead of deals, check out Thrifty Nomads' blog on the same - it's informative and detailed!
3] Flexibility in your itinerary
One of the biggest advantages of booking tickets and trips earlier is having more flexibility in case of different situations cropping up, the need to change plans, or even just a spontaneous shift in destinations for vacations and trips. This flexibility is especially important for people who like to go with the flow when it comes to travel, make it up as they go, or change different things in their plans. Flexibility is great not just because you can deal with new changes but also because it allows you to change last-minute based on unexpected circumstances, such as maybe a coronavirus hotspot discovered near to your destination or any other dangerous/risky situation that may crop up. So if you plan to take a family Christmas trip in the winter, but last-minute change your destination, you can cancel for that, and in the case of a COVID hotspot being warded off you can change for it as well - keep advance booking in mind the next time you need to or want to travel.
Advance booking/pre-booking your travel or destination or accommodation allows you to change things quickly and without any repercussion or fine because you would also be insured for it. Advance booking a business trip, say, 3 months before the trip would help because if something happens, say 2 weeks prior to your trip, you'll be able to deal with it easily. Not only that, but advance booking will also give you credits/points on cancellation which you can further use to push your trip forward or for another trip altogether.
Check out Two Scoops Travel, who has a great blog on the advantages of pre-planning and pre-booking a trip for anywhere!
4] Time to find the best options
Planning a trip in advance is really helpful in terms of having more options later. Having options is key for every traveler - you can browse more places, find better deals or accommodations in the time you get, and you don't need to depend on the one option you have. Especially in times like these, any and all travel needs a backup in case anything happens - you can't be too careful in a post COVID world. Advance booking helps with this a lot, as not only do you get the best options and time to browse for different destinations, you also have time to pick out different modes and kinds of travel. One example is traveling by caravan, or maybe switching up your holiday to have a vacation in a boathouse. Advance booking allows you to consider each and every option in detail and properly before you commit to one - and this is important to have.
In terms of finding the best option, a few tips we can give you is to not only scour the internet for the same, but also ask friends and family for their experiences and reviews, or check websites for referrals on different modes of travel. Don't jump in too fast when you think you've found the perfect trip or tour - research more on different companies who can offer the same thing at a lower price, and use the Google advanced search option to find specific ways to travel. One very important tip - pay for the extra few dollars it takes to insure your trip and get back your complete refund when you're booking.
For a great blog on planning trips to the utmost detail and ensuring you don't regret a trip for whatever reason, check out this blog by Practical Wanderlust - she has some great tips to offer, and a downloadable detailed ebook on the same!
5] Gives time for special requests
Bookings which are done in advance give you ample time to call ahead at accommodations and other restaurants, etc. you may be visiting and tell them to implement any changes or specific requirements you may have. This is a huge plus point in times like these, where having surroundings being safe is really important, and you often cannot ensure that to the fullest extent. Advance booking helps this along a lot - it allows you time to research, know what changes you want and what makes you comfortable.
Post-COVID it will be really difficult and intimidating to stay elsewhere, eat outside, go to foreign places even when it's necessary for business or other practical purposes. Therefore these kinds of special requests help a lot, especially when traveling with elderly, children, or vulnerable/ill patients. It adds an extra layer of security that is much appreciated. These special requests include making sure your accommodation is clean and everything is newly placed and replaced - you can read more about this in our blog about safety measures. You can call ahead and have them book specific rooms, have the room cleaned in your presence, have the mugs and cups removed or replaced in the room to minimize risks, etc. You can do this in modes of transportation as well - airlines may be less willing unless you request them on the spot for handle and seat cleaning or any other measures. You can call booking agencies prior to a trip and have them find a generally less crowded, more spacious train or bus ride to a place, or ask for thorough desensitization of your caravan in your presence if you chose to do so. There are many steps you can take - not just limited to travel, but really anywhere you go out of your home, by asking people to take more precaution and sanitize thoroughly.
Two Wandering Soles have a great blog on staying safe while traveling, which applies to any and all trips and safety precautions we often forget!
6] Online booking allows for cash backs and discounts
When it comes to advance booking, the only real options available are online, because agents and other travel agencies don't usually have as many options or as large a database. Even in today's digital world, there are many professionals and families who rely on travel agents to handle all their basic travel needs - while this may be efficient and time-saving, all it does is complicate the process and cost much more. Advance booking is something agents hardly offer, and it's just better to do it online. Why should you take the extra effort you may ask? For a variety of reasons. Firstly, there are multiple discounts, extras, and benefits available to certain groups of travelers, and chances are, you fall in those groups. Some include student discounts, elderly discounts, and help, as well as extra luggage allowances and other benefits - and sometimes, its easier to access them when you book in advance. It's easy to overlook them, but they save a lot of money and hassle long term, and are generally benefits your travel agents hold back from you.
Another huge benefit is cash backs - not only when paying through online payment methods, but also when you pay for tickets or bookings in advance - they offer great discounts and coupons or cash backs, which can often be taken benefit of together.
In conclusion, advance booking really is a great asset - a time saving, effortless booking system that also allows busy professionals and perfectionists to have one less thing to worry about when they book trips. It will be a great asset post-COVID-19 - because the thirst or need for travel won't go anywhere, but the need for safe ways to do the same will increase!