9 ways you can support the travel industry from home
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Editor’s note: This story has been updated.
As we are midway through the second lockdown of the year and our travel plans have been put on hold, the travel industry — from airlines to hotels to family-run restaurants — continue to suffer.
TPG staff and readers around the world are stuck at home again or cannot see family and friends, and tourism has dwindled in many destinations.
But it doesn’t mean the travel industry is done for. Most companies will hopefully bounce back, and if you’d like to do your part to help keep your preferred travel companies above water, here are some ways you can help.
1. Don’t cancel reservations for next year (yet)
Though it may be tempting to cancel travel plans for next year, don’t. Although nothing is certain, things may improve. Show airlines and hotels you’re sticking with them if you can.
Of course, if things get dire, you can always cancel and airlines and hotels will likely offer options like vouchers or refunds.
2. Consider rebooking or vouchers versus refunds
In some instances, it makes sense to request a refund. This may be particularly true if a trip is timely or with a big group. Or, if you’re dealing with unexpected job loss or any other economic hardship, requesting a refund is perfectly acceptable.
But if you know you’re in a safe financial situation and you’re sure you want to return to a destination or frequently travel with a certain airline, it may be worth showing your loyalty by rebooking for a later date or requesting a voucher instead.
3. Book new travel
As per government advice, The Points Guy U.K. advises travellers to stay home until 2 December. Although we don’t recommend travelling right now, you can proceed — with caution — for booking 2021 travel. However, we strongly suggest you book trips that aren’t too complex. Book simple trips that you are able to cancel without paying fees and reserve hotels at a cancellable rate.
When booking, make sure to book with companies you really love and want to support — anything from your favourite boutique property to your preferred airline or car rental company.
It may be best to avoid OTAs entirely and book directly via the airlines. “When it comes to package holidays, protect yourself by ensuring the company you book with is ATOL protected,” says TPG U.K. Director of Content Nicky Kelvin suggests. “You should also make all bookings on a credit card to help protect yourself if a company does go bust where ATOL protection doesn’t apply — for example, with a flight-only booking.”
4. Shop for travel accessories
If you have a little extra to spend, considering stocking up on the following travel accessories:
- Sleep mask
- Backpack or duffle bag
- Neck pillow
- Packing cubes
- Travel fitness accessories
- Travel electronics
There are two things to remember when shopping online for travel gear. First, this is your chance to support travel brands you believe in — truly innovative new ideas, sustainable brands or maybe just that essential travel item you need a new version of.
Second, when online shopping, make sure to use a shopping portal to earn points and miles for that next holiday (we promise — you’ll have one someday soon).
5. Subscribe to travel magazines/media
Travel media is taking a hit along with the rest of the industry. Keep your wanderlust fired up by subscribing to your favourite magazines (online or paper) and make sure to sign up for the TPG U.K. newsletter. We’ll be notifying you with everything you need to know about travel and coronavirus and, of course, we’ll be ready with all the most updated info and tips for when it’s time to start travelling again.
6. Share your travel and tourism picks on social media
Companies that have behaved graciously during this difficult time are high on my list, as well as sustainable destinations, agencies and properties. I live in Spain, a country which has taken a large tourism hit. Once I’m able to travel again, I plan to enjoy some trips around my own country, use social media to determine which businesses I’d like to support and share my favourite spots with my online following.
7. Write positive reviews of your best experiences
If you’re reminiscing about that amazing guide you had in Egypt, that fabulous restaurant in Barcelona you dined at or that incredible boutique beach hut in Bali you slept in but never had a free moment to write a review — now is the time.
Think of all the amazing travel-related experiences you’ve had in the past and leave your positive opinions about these businesses, attractions or experiences on your preferred review site such as Google or TripAdvisor. While this won’t be an immediate fix for the struggling travel industry, when it’s time to travel again, those reviews will help bring more business to all of the spots that deserve it.
8. Buy travel gift cards
If you aren’t in the mood to online shop for birthdays and events that require a gift, consider getting a traveller friend or family member a gift card to a company such as Virgin, Marriott, American Airlines, Four Seasons or Hotels.com.
9. Buy points and miles (when it makes sense)
Some airlines such as British Airways don’t offer gift cards, but you can buy miles. While we don’t typically suggest buying Avios without a plan in mind, it is a good idea to keep an eye out for those Avios 50% bonus promotions that are a relatively good deal. Virgin sometimes offers 40% bonuses for Flying Club miles.
The travel industry is struggling right now, so even if you can’t postpone a trip or book your next hotel just yet, there are easy things you can do like writing a review of your preferred hotel or sharing your travel favourites on social media. And we truly hope you’ll be travelling again sooner rather than later.
Featured photo by Jacobs Stock Photography Ltd/Getty Images
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