The busy summer season is upon us, and we're ecstatic that travel has made a triumphant return. As we kick off more trips to more locations around the world, we wanted to give our travelers, past, present, and future, an update on the state of the industry so you can be as prepared as possible.
Our travel ethos has always been one of respect, compassion, and fun, and today these pillars are more important than ever. Everyone has gone through a very strange two years, and we're all figuring out how to get back to enjoying life together amid ongoing geopolitical tension and economic uncertainty. It's a lot! (and all the more reason you probably need a vacation).
Travel is always fraught with surprises (both good and bad), and we're used to navigating the unexpected — but this year, some overarching trends may impact your travel experience.
Over the course of the pandemic, millions of valuable employees in hospitality were forced to find new careers. While demand for travel has come back like a tidal wave, many former employees have not returned, leading to staffing shortages across the globe and delays in everything from food service to transportation.
(This includes our team as well. We're doing our best to navigate supplier issues and keep up with demand (p.s. we're hiring), but please be patient with us as we get up to speed.)
While the issues affecting the industry are constantly evolving, there are a few that you should be aware of so that you can plan ahead:
The airline industry has been especially hard hit and is struggling to regain its footing. As a result, there are more airport lines, flight delays, and cancellations than ever before. If you're traveling with FTLO, we highly recommend flying in the day before your trip begins so you're not impacted by potential delays.
Bars, restaurants, hotels, shops, and transportation companies that survived the pandemic are struggling to keep up with the surge of new demand. Skeleton crews and short-staffed businesses are doing their best; however, wait times have gone up, and it's not uncommon to encounter frustrated employees. We ask that you give them your compassion and patience. But if there are serious issues, please let your trip leader know.
Although the Covid situation is no longer as serious as it once was in most countries, the virus continues to create complications beyond our control. We cannot stress enough the importance of purchasing travel insurance that covers Covid-related interruptions and cancellations. Please double-check any policy before you buy it. To read more about our covid protocols, vaccination requirements, and testing rules, please visit our Covid FAQ page.
Forbes put together a great list of Travel Insurance policies that offer Covid-19 coverage: check it out here.
While it's important to be aware of the above, don't stress! It might be a trickier summer travel season than usual, but it's still going to be filled with once-in-a-lifetime experiences, incredible destinations, unforgettable memories, and a whole bunch of new friends.
Many of you have been waiting two years to explore the world again, and we're overjoyed that you finally have that opportunity again. Bring a positive attitude, and you'll have the trip of a lifetime.