Phil’s Notes September 7, 2020
As we pass Labor Day, it is a good time to take stock of the last six months and look ahead to 2021. In spring 2020, we at HE Travel postponed several spring tours to the fall. However, COVID rates remain too high both where our travelers are from, and in the destinations we visit. Therefore, we have postponed most 2020 tours until 2021.
Navigating the travel landscape in a time of COVID-19 often resembles a boot camp obstacle course. In some cases, such as our sold-out Colorado Ranch tour in August, we felt comfortable running a tour that features lots of social distancing. However, we had to cancel the tour when the local county banned all overnight visitors during August. Some of our clients also had to cancel trips to avoid a 14-day quarantine upon return home.
On the bright side, we were able to offer three tours in August! Two were week-long Grand Canyon rafting trips, and the other was a private tour in the Rockies.
My colleague Trisha Moses worked closely with our friends at Grand Canyon Expeditions to ensure flawless and safe journeys through the Colorado River gorge that we call the Grand Canyon. (Click here to read a first-hand account of our first trip in Trisha’s blog!) We are grateful that we can build on the trust and close partnership we have built up with GCE since 1973. That is when our founder Hanns Ebensten worked with them to create the first-ever gay tour.
One of our regular clients had to cancel an August trip to Hawaii, which has yet to open to visitors. Instead, our Western National Parks experts Greg and David, and I designed a memorable two-week journey in the Rockies. His itinerary included the Tetons, Yellowstone, three nearby ranches, and a night in Buffalo Bill’s Suite in the oldest hotel in Cody, Wyoming. Along the way, he enjoyed horseback riding, rafting, private wildlife safaris, zip-lining, and more! We hope to offer a similar itinerary as a small group tour in 2021.
A positive side to having so many tours rescheduled is that some 2021 tours are filling fast. If you are thinking of joining a 2021 tour, we suggest getting your deposit in early. We expect to reach our maximum for some tours much earlier than usual. You can make a reservation with peace of mind since our “lifetime deposits” can be moved to a different tour with no penalty. For destinations with travel restrictions, we are delaying our final payment deadline until after restrictions are lifted.
Please let us know if you have questions about tours, or if you would like us to assist with customized travel. Our tour team is working with our partners around the world to ensure both safety and fun on our small-group tours. Our flight team and custom tour planners are available to help you lay the groundwork to achieve more of your personal travel dreams in 2021.
Finally, I wish you all good health as we get through this strange time. That includes not only physical health but also mental health. It is important that we each find a sense of inner balance and peace in this challenging time. (For me, that means spending time each morning and evening in our garden, and foraging for greens to feed our 13 bunnies from three generations.)
See you on the road soon, I hope!