If you’ve just had to cancel a trip due to the threat of coronavirus and the unprecedented worldwide travel bans taking place since the start of spring 2020, you’re no doubt pretty disappointed! The lockdown most governments have imposed maybe well be for our wellbeing, but living in this limbo of enforced isolation, is a pretty grey prospect for us all.
But whilst your travel plans might be on hold for the immediate future, your dreams don’t have to be. Although you may be wondering if you should even be thinking about booking another trip for a future date right now, planning your next family holiday, may well be the best antidote to all the depressing news that surrounds us.
Whilst borders are closed and travel restrictions remain, we have to believe that we’ll come out on the other side of this. And to quote Simon Calder and his coronavirus travel advice recently posted by Conde Nast Traveller:
“The travel industry is the industry of human happiness. I hold out hope that we will redesign the architecture of holidays and recalibrate our dreams in a way that is kinder to the planet, to host communities and to ourselves. Above all, I pray that these dismal days will make us all more appreciative of the world and its people.”
Image: Porto de Mós, Algarve by P. Silva Correia
Not only that, under the current confinement regulations, you now have more time to research. So, dreaming up a new trip can ease the disappointment of shattered previous plans.
Yet with Covid19 uncertainty remaining for the time being, what safeguards should you put in place to make sure that a future holiday goes off without problems or can easily be cancelled, if need be, with the least financial loss?
Don’t worry if you’re not ready to make reservations today. Just pick a place you’ve always wanted to go to and begin the research process, getting ready to book when the time is right.
Image: The Douro river
Portugal has much to offer as a holiday destination – mild winters and hot summers, golden sandy beaches swept clean by Atlantic tides and countryside landscapes of vineyards and wildflowers, almond, orange, olive and cork trees, sleepy villages and buzzing cities. The country has rich seafaring traditions and history, with World Heritage Sites such as Évora and Elvas in the Alentejo, Sintra on the Lisbon Coast, and the stunning Douro Valley topping the must-visit list. A wide range of leisure sports from surfing to golf also rate highly with visitors, as does the delicious gastronomy and value for money wines, and last but not least, the extremely friendly Portuguese people.
A high proportion of the Portuguese economy is dependent on tourism, so hosts will be more eager than ever to welcome you too. And although not a proven fact yet, it seems extremely likely that UV light kills the new Coronavirus and Portugal has plenty of sunlight.
Image: Ferragudo bay, Algarve
Almond Blossom Villa Rentals specialises in luxury holiday rentals in Portugal – the properties listed are all unique and recommended for very special reasons: location, charm, style or standard of service.
And it is local specialists like AB Villa Rentals who have the edge on knowledge about where, why and when to go. Not only do we get to pick out the best properties and locations, we also get to know each of our featured holiday rentals well, so that we can offer a more personalised service to help you make the right choice for a family and friends holiday or romantic getaway.
Our selection of luxury villas, charming cottages and city-centre apartments stretch from the north to the south of Portugal – you can get some inspiration from our Instagram feed.
You just have to choose between a beach location, vineyard views or a city-centre break.
Image: One of our Comporta villas
For a family or a group of friends (or even just for a couple), a private holiday rental adds up to considerably less than hotel stays, as well as offering the benefit of more spacious accommodation, private grounds, and swimming pool, plus flexibility on meals.
Handpicked and personally visited, our choice of holiday rentals in Portugal include private country estates (Portuguese Quintas and Manor Houses), luxury villas with pools and tennis courts, charming cottages and city centre apartments in Lisbon. Many are located near beaches and golf courses.
Image: One of our Douro Valley villas
The rental villas, cottages, and apartments featured accommodate from 2 to 20+ guests, suit a range of budgets, and are fully equipped and ready to move into so that you can start enjoying your holiday as soon as you arrive.
As a lover of travel, the best thing you can do is to consider how future trips can have a positive impact on the country you intend to visit – a villa rental will also benefit the housekeeper, local cook and even the local fisherman who supplies the fresh fish for you to grill on the barbeque and share with your family or friends.
Image: One of our Lisbon Coast villas
Not only do many of our featured properties now offer special discounts if you want to book your holiday during the second half of 2020; our booking policies are also evolving to be more flexible than ever before including a rescheduling option until further notice – ask us about it!
Image: The beach at Comporta
Investing in suitable insurance cover is a must – as you just never know what surprises are around the corner.
The main value of travel insurance is the medical cover it offers while you are travelling such as the cost of treatment or a hospital stay if you fall ill during the holiday, as well as cover for the cost of a new flight home in these circumstances.
It will also normally cover your cancellation costs if you, or one of your travelling companions, falls ill before departure and can’t travel – look for ‘travel disruption cover’ or ‘journey disruption cover’ in the policy details, including disruption due to epidemics.
Image: Costa da Caparica near Lisbon
Right now, is actually a good time to make future flight reservations – you will find more availability than usual as well as more reasonable fares. Book flexible flights or consider using miles to access easier cancellations options if required at a later stage.
Many airlines are offering temporary policies that allow you to book new flights now with the ability to make changes if necessary, within a certain period or cancel for a full refund later. That way, you give yourself an escape option if you do need to cancel or change your trip down the line.
Quite likely however some airlines may also collapse in this crisis, so make sure that you pay with a credit card to be protected by the card’s insurance policy.
Image: Praça do Comercio in Lisbon
If you’re putting a hold on travel for the time being and are taking a wait-and-see approach in view of the Covid-19 outbreak, that’s OK. But there’s no reason why you should put a hold on actual vacation planning. Now is the best time to start researching those dream villa rentals, checking-out flight availability and collecting notes on what you want to see and do in Portugal.
We hope to see you in the near future!