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We have another six weeks to go making our way up the Pacific coast of Mexico from Hualulco to Mazatlan. Just spent two weeks in Merida, Playa, and Puerto Morelos.

Sept/Oct is pretty well locked down to Morocco, Spain, and Portugal. Next winter hopefully back to Thailand.
 

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We usually take about $1500 in cash. We use credit cards whenever possible. When we withdraw from an ATM it is usually the equiv. of $400-$600 at a time. We encounter more and more smaller hotels asking for cash these days or adding a percentage fee for credit cards. Some give discounts for cash. Just came back from eight weeks in Mexico. Most of the smaller hotels where we stayed wanted cash.
 

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We are looking at Morocco in October plus somewhere else. Thailand and Australia for the winter. Nothing firm. We will wait and see. If we do not feel comfortable with either we can stay home or select an alternate.
 

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There may be unrestricted travel at some point that however this is somewhat meaningless to us. We do not plan to travel until we feel it is safe for us to do so. We may feel reluctant to travel, or travel to certain places, for months after restricted travel recommendations are lifted. We have traveled to a few places when there were travel advisories posted but never when there was a health or weather advisory. We assess the risk and act accordingly. When it comes to health risks we very much err on the side of caution.
 

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For some countries citizenship by itself is meaningless. Many people have dual citizenship. In fact, just about all Canadian citizens not born in Canada have dual citizenship.

It is my understanding that many countries require two things in order to grant entry during these times. Citizenship and proof of residency. These are two very different animals. Proof of residency seemingly being the more important of the two.
 

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I have spent some time thinking about where our next three trips will be. This fall, a winter, and next fall. We have a general idea that will always be subject to pricing and availability. All are outside NA but do have back up plans.

One thing we are looking at, besides whether we can get there or enter, is how the country is handling covid. Huge differences between countries. For winter Vietnam has/is doing a first rate job by all accounts. Thailand is the opposite. Australia is excellent but will probably not let us in. Same for NZ. Absolutely no desire to go to the US. Mexico is not great but huge variances between states. The state we would choose Guerrero looks good now but who knows by next month. Panama is excellent but not certain if they will let us in. Have not seen any data yet from Costa Rica on how they are doing. We plan for a two month trip. Not looking very good for the winter. This fall was supposed to be Morocco,and Iberia. Instead, it looks like BC and Alberta touring. Perhaps some Ontario.
 

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We occasionally use third party booking sites when they offer better prices or better conditions. Many third party booking sites are excellent. Others are not. We did two late bookings with a third party this past winter while traveling in Mexico. Both were RIU hotels. Our best price came from TUI Vacations in the UK. Twenty percent saving over what RIU or anyone else could offer. Our last 5 day stay was in PV ending in mid/late March. Hotel was perfect. Recently rec'd a credit note from TUI for the entire amount because the last two days they were closing part of the resort. We did not ask for it or expect it because it had no negative impact on our enjoyment. Some people are struggling to get refunds. But some who have had vendor cancellations are immediately booking charge disputes with their credit card providers and are having success.

Book direct? We do. But not always. We have booked and paid in advance with Marriott and with Accor numerous times on a no cancel/no refund basis. Only when the saving is 25 percent over their best rate and we are certain of going. The amount at risk is low. We have done this in a few cities in SE Asia for five of the past six winters. This past fall in Greece we booked an Aegean flight on Expedia (and I dislike expedia) for $75 each. Booking direct on Aegean's website, as we would normally do, would have been $129. for the same flight. We experienced exactly the same this winter in Mexico when booking an Interjet flight. I have no idea how this occurs but it does from time to time.

After eight/nine years of frequent travel we have found that late booking prices are often as good or better than advance bookings. We have had lots of great offers by booking hotels three days out or air 4-6 weeks out, sometimes less. Nothing is set in stone. It is all based on supply and demand.

Our experience is that there is not set rule.
 

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People accept them because the price of the package is often well below the sum price of the individual parts. There is not secret to this. Sometimes vendors such as TUI sell off unsold rooms at an attractive rate from blocks they have pre- purchased . We are more than happy to accept the restrictions and the risk. In the past year we have done this for five night stays. Twice in Cyprus this past fall, twice in Mexico this winter. As late walk ins in other areas we have benefited from some excellent prices and some wonderful upgrades. You sometimes simply have to ask the right way! Like all other purchases there are trade offs. It also helps to sign up for memberships in the various hotel programs...Marriott, Accor, Rui, Melia, etc Often membership is good for a last minute room or complementary amenity.

In our experience there is no one set way to obtain the best price or the best booking conditions-advance, same day, direct, third party, cash payment, credit card payment. Our experience is that there are so many variables and so many options on the web. The constant variable always seems to me to be supply and demand, not direct vs indirect. People make the buy decision based on the best information they have and weigh the risk and rewards of the various booking conditions. No right or wrong way, and certainly many ways to get the best of both.
 

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We have three trips at the very top of our respective bucket lists. But that is where they will stay. We cannot see making any firm plans for until at least next spring, probably longer. We do not know enough about the virus, how it is being handled in those countries on our list, and whether there will be a drug that is somewhat effective in combating the symptoms. Cannot imagine a vaccine in the next year, let alone mass availability of same.

Sure, people are booking cruises. Two big questions. Will those cruises ever leave the dock? Cruise line have a desperate need for cash, they will do anything to grab a fare, hold on to it for 120-180 days, and then refund or perhaps even provide credit incentives in lieu of refunds. Beats the 11 or so points that they are apparently paying on short term money now..
 

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Agree completely.

I cannot imagine any out of country health insurer underwriting covid19 related coverage in their travel medical insurance package.

Even more to the point, I cannot see them including evac or repatriation costs for the patient. Same for the trip interuption insurance policies.

I am not smart enough to know where this is going but I am fairly certain that we will not have any solid answers to the question for some time to come.
 

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We do not have enough information to even begin making travel plans. I suspect that we will not be going anywhere until next spring but who really knows. Things are getting better but some health experts are expecting a second wave of the virus in the September time frame. So we are not making any plans nor are we giving dime one to any travel provider until we are comfortable. Nor do we know what travel vendors will even be in business by the time this shakes out.

Like most people we will sit tight, stay safe, ignore the politicians, ignore the media hype, and wait this thing out. Not much else we can do. We do not see much point in speculation given that this is an entirely new challenge for all of us.
 

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The airline schedules three months to a year out are far from solid. They may show 10 flights a day from x to y. You may make a reservation on the flight that you prefer. But, as the date approaches, the airline may well consolidate that schedule down to 3, 4, whatever. You are somewhat caught. You may get a refund but flight costs have increased. So you just may have to take that flight change. It may no longer be a direct flight or at a time of your preference. Let alone the seat preference that you may have already paid for!
 

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When we are in Europe or Asia we often fly on the low cost carriers. They seem to fly to many places that the nationals do not. We anticipate that some of them will be gone by the time of our next trip. And....either those destinations will disappear from flight schedules, flight offerings will be greatly decreased, and the fares substantially increased. In Greece last fall we we had several flights that were as little as $25-35 CAD for an hour of flight. Same in SE Asia and Australia (with jetstar) for the previous five winters.

No way we plan to book flights on any airline at the moment and when we do it certainly won't be more than 30 days in advance....probably more like 10-14.
 

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We are watching the numbers. Looking at meeting up with UK travel friends in Crete. We can fly direct to Athens and ferry hop down. They are doing the same. If not fall, then spring. Could also be Morocco. One thing for certain, we will not be buying any air until the week we decide and depart. Very iffy at this point in time. Spouse is skeptical-especially on the Morocco part.
 

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We are watching flights to Greece in Sept/Oct.

We did this last year. Doubt whether we will go this fall. Economy seats. Toronto-Athens return booked today is less expensive that it was when we shopped last year. Last year it was just under $1100. Booked today it would be $800-$1,000. We shopped this fare but decided to do an open jaw return from London because we were not exactly sure where we would end up by the time we were ready to come home.

The open jaw that we eventually booked was Toronto- Athens, London-Calgary. Same time of year Sept/Oct. Same airline...Transat. Last year the fare was $740. Booked today that fare is $860. Last year we booked in August for a Sept flight. We looked at the fare a few days prior to our departure last year and it was the same price.

Who knows what the price will be if we go. And if we do go, we will probably not book until a week or so prior to departure. If not, perhaps the spring.

We have also been looking at Calgary-Bangkok return fares mid Jan-mid March. Fares at the present time, economy, are very much in line with the past several winters. Various carriers. $1050-1150. In prior years we have seem them as low a $800. They can be a little more volatile.

Then again....we could be doing staycations for the next 18-24 months. Who really knows at this point in time???
 

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Both. Island hopping plus a week or two of self catering on Crete in a fairly remote area. We might also hop over to Cyprus for a week or two. Absolutely no interest in the likes of Rhodes, Santorini, Mykonos, etc. Too touristy and we prefer other less crowded islands. We have spent lots of time in Greece on past trips so we have a good idea of where we would go and what it would be like. We get feedback from a few locals who live there and from our UK friends who are frequent visitors and who have lots of contracts in Greece.

The overnight stay, or a few days longer is not an issue for us. We would stay in Glyfada. Less crowded. Easy access to the airport and to the ferries. Early days yet. If the fall does not work, just post Othodox Easter might.
 

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If we make a decision to go I am confident that we will figure it out and have a good time. We are hardly going to hit the buy button if we do not feel that it is safe or that we will not enjoy it. This is not our first rodeo.
 

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Of course we will not ignore a health related advisory. We cut our Mexico winter escape short by one-two weeks in order to fly back to Canada on March 19. And we had no issue whatsoever with self isolation for 14 plus days. Our big surprise....there were empty seats on our direct flight home despite the Government warnings/advice. We thought that the flight would be sold out.

As an aside, I agree about airlines and many other businesses. Which is why we would never book or pay for any travel product until we were on top of the date. Ditto for retail and restaurant gift certificates, pre loaded retailer cards, etc.
 

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You are so right about friends and neighbours.

When we let our neighbour know that we were returning early from our winter trip trip she bought groceries for us and filled the fridge. We are part of an HOA that has a fair number of people in their 70's and 80's. Different members have been taking care of the shopping for those who cannot get out or those who need something faster that can be provided by the on line grocery services.

Likewise when we did venure out we asked our neighbours what we could pick up for them. And they did the same for us.
 
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