All-inclusive vacations are a Canadian favourite. With plenty of options to choose from and the ease of having flight and accommodation taken care of with one swift booking, your clients might feel that this type of vacation is as stress-free as they come. However, it’s worth taking a moment to address certain details they might not otherwise consider before taking off. CT Magazine has compiled this checklist to review with your clients before their next trip South.
ARE THEIR DOCUMENTS IN ORDER?
A valid passport is not always good enough. Most countries require that visitor passports be valid for a minimum of three months – sometimes six – before expiring. For example, if you plan on travelling in December, it’s advisable that your passport be valid until at least the end of March (possibly end of June) to ensure there are no hold-ups upon arrival in-destination. What better way to ruin a vacation than to be turned away at the door! Your clients will be relying on your expertise, but also be sensitive to the fact that should they need to renew a passport (or apply in the first place), this will be an added expense.
WHAT HEALTH & MEDICAL PRECAUTIONS SHOULD THEY TAKE?
When you suggest to clients that they invest in travel insurance, the answer should always be “yes.” Accidents happen and it’s best they ensure everyone in their family or group is protected. The cost of travel insurance pales in comparison to in-destination medical bills, so it just make sense to pay for peace of mind. You might also consider suggesting preventative measures to avoid any in-destination illnesses. Advise clients to consult a health care professional four to six weeks prior to departure to get the latest information about important health risks that could affect them at their destination. For example, in the Caribbean and Latin America, enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC), which can be transmitted by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water, accounts for approximately one out of three cases of diarrhea in travellers. Assuming they would prefer to enjoy a beach vacation rather than dealing with diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, chills, loss of appetite, bloating, fever and aches, DUKORAL® – an oral vaccine that they take two weeks before travel – may help reduce the risk of ETEC diarrhea. And, the cost may be covered by their private insurance. Further, remind clients to stock-up on sunscreen, aloe, a basic first aid kit and other necessities before leaving home, as these items are often required but can be overpriced at resort gift shops.
ARE THEIR RESERVATIONS CONFIRMED, FLIGHTS ON-SCHEDULE & TRANSFERS ARRANGED?
The beauty and pain of travel is its unpredictability, so as travel dates close-in, double check your clients’ hotel accommodations and flight schedule. Also ask: Have they decided if they are going to drive to the airport, and if so, where do they plan on parking? What time do they plan on leaving home? Once they arrive in-destination, do they have a transfer arranged to get to their hotel? Or are they renting a car, in which case, might they need to pack a car seat or a GPS? Help them consider each detail well in advance to minimize the hiccups that could occur when it’s time to go.
ARE THEY CASH-READY?
Despite the all-inclusive concept, clients still might find themselves at a local market or wanting to leave a tip here and there, so offer a gentle reminder to have cash-on-hand. Withdrawing local currency in-destination is sometimes an option (depending on ATM availability), however, U.S. dollars are accepted throughout the Caribbean, so we recommend taking care of this beforehand. Also confirm that their credit cards are in working order, in case they need to leave a room deposit (which is likely), or if there are other major purchases that they might decide on last-minute. Ultimately, it’s all about preparedness and thinking ahead.