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Giving the gift of travel

Gerard wants to motivate his parents to go away once restrictions are lifted so Liv explains how he can give them the gift of travel.


Q. Gerard
My parents love your website and keep showing me stories from your travel news so I thought I’d ask you how I can inspire them to go on a holiday once they’re allowed. They’re only in the early sixties, so they’re at risk but should be able to get around easier than my grandparents who are much older.

I could give them travel gift cards, but I was thinking I might buy them a tour or holiday with open dates? Is that something you can do?

A. Oh good – I’m not the only one spending my days locked indoors daydreaming about my next travel adventure? My yearning to get back out into the world has my mind spinning with would-be holiday ideas. Talk of the potential ‘trans-Tasman bubble’ between Australia and New Zealand has led three different friends to call me and declare that we were going hiking in NZ as soon as the bans are lifted.

So yes, now more than ever before giving a trip away is the ultimate gift. Not only is it probably the thing they are craving the most right now, but it will give them something to look forward to.

We highly recommend booking through a travel agent, as they will be best suited to heling you navigate travel arrangements in a post-pandemic world.

As to whether you can actually book a holiday with open dates, we asked Michaela Jones at Travel Counsellors for her advice:

“There is no way of booking an open dated holiday as such, however we can recommend working with a Travel Counsellor who can offer you either a registry that multiple people can contribute to the amount and use at the time of booking when we know it is safe and possible, or you could pay a fixed amount with a destination in mind creating a destination themed ‘trip voucher’ to present to your parents, insinuating the open-dated holiday, which could be arranged with the agent when ready,” she told YourLifeChoices.

“Travel Counsellors are independent agents backed by a global company offering full financial protection – perfect in this climate to support a local business owner with whom you are guaranteed to have your funds held safely, pre-booking and up to travel commencement.” 

However, if you’re still keen on booking a trip on their behalf, here is a step by step guide to gifting a holiday.

Look at timeframes
You may already have a good idea of their schedule. If not, ask them discretely, ask another of their close friends. You’ll also have to consider restrictions, taking into account when and where they are predicted to be lifted, and also be prepared to book a long way in advance.

Decide on a destination
A lot of travel is likely to be domestic for some time post-restrictions. Staying local requires less effort on the recipient’s part, and also means you’ll be supporting the local economy. And, let’s be honest, a weekend in Paris probably wasn’t on the table anyway.

When picking a destination, try to remember good memories that they’ve shared with you. Are they a coastal person, or is a country getaway their dream weekend?

Booking accommodation can be the trickiest but most exciting part of planning a trip. Is the accommodation accessible? Does it fit their style? A host of websites allow you to discover accommodation and read reviews. However, it’s important to remember that these websites charge the accommodation, taking money out of the local economy, so you may choose to contact the accommodation directly once you have found them.

Depending on the type of trip you’re booking and keeping an eye on restrictions, it may not be ideal to book everything ahead of time. If you find accommodation you like, give them a call to ask about flexible bookings. Make sure to look into the refund policies of any accommodation, tours or rentals you expect to purchase or book.

Make a list
To make it a true gift, and not an effort in disguise, make a list of everything the recipient will need. If they will need ID, cars, their license, a passport, hiking shoes or bathers, write it down to make sure they’re prepared for the adventures you have planned for them.

It’s important to consider other things like transport. Will they be able to get around and explore? Is the accommodation you have booked accessible?

Do they have any non-work-related commitment that they may not be able to abandon on a whim? Do they have grandchildren that they care for? If you’re unsure about any of these things, it may be best to leave some parts of the trip unbooked, surprise your parents with the thoughtful gift, and then incorporate them in the final stages of planning.

It’s also important to remember that you can definitely book a trip away as a present to yourself. Either include yourself as a non-refundable part of the get away or plan your own solo adventure. Now’s the time.

To find a Travel Counsellor close to you, head to www.travelcounsellors.com.au

How important do you think travel agents will be to your future travel plans? Are you already keen to book a post-pandemic holiday?

If you enjoy our content, don’t keep it to yourself. Share our free eNews with your friends and encourage them to sign up.

Related articles:
Top 30 Aussie destinations
Self-drive holidays in New Zealand
Creating a ‘trans-Tasman’ bubble

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