Can’t travel? Here’s how people are dreaming about their next vacation

can't travel dreaming

So where are you going next? It’s OK to dream about your next vacation if you can’t travel. You’re in good company.

Rob Hall is here. He skipped his family cruise to Italy this summer but is optimistic that the worst of the COVID-19 outbreak will be over by fall. He’s planning to fly to Maui for a few days in October – at least that’s his dream.

“We so badly need to get away,” says Hall, a retired financial services manager from Walnut Creek, California.

A lot of people can’t travel, so they’re dreaming about their next vacation

He’s not the only one. A survey of travelers by Qtrip finds plenty of pent-up demand for travel. A surprising 40% of respondents are planning to travel this summer. Another 23% are waiting until the fall or winter, and 7% are holding off until spring. (And the remaining 30% say they don’t have a clue when they’ll travel again.)

“We were surprised to see how many people were undaunted and planning to get out there right away,” says Qtrip CEO Jeff Klee.

This is uncharted territory for travelers. But these future trips are different from the ones we used to take. Our travel dreams are bigger and richer. We’re also buying travel insurance and relying on the continued flexibility of airlines, hotels and other travel suppliers if we want to make schedule changes.

They’re dreaming bigger

What happens when you sit around and think about travel all day? You make big plans. According to Virtuoso, a network of travel advisers, the top dream destinations for its users since April are South Africa, Italy and Australia.

Julie Kandalec just booked an “epic” adventure next year with her father and brother: a February cruise to the Antarctic. She figures the rates would never be better, and that it will be the safest possible vacation.

“The ship is small and won’t be filled to capacity,” says Kandalec, an expert on nail art who lives in New York. “It’s 100 crew and 200 guests maximum, so that’s key.”

Travelers are not thinking small this summer. When it comes to future trips, they’re spending a lot more. The average domestic trip cost has increased by 18%, to $3,587, according to the travel insurance site And the average international trip cost has grown even more – by 24% – for an average trip cost of $4,588.

Make sure you have insurance

Another thing that’s different this year: travel insurance. A new survey by NerdWallet says 45% of travelers are likely to purchase travel insurance for future leisure trips after COVID-19, more than twice as many as before the pandemic. And travelers aren’t buying the cheapest travel insurance – they’re going for the pricey cancel-for-any-reason policies, which allow them to call off their trip and receive a partial refund.

Doreen Welsh, a high school guidance counselor, is among them. She plans to buy the “best” policy for her late-December trip to Aruba.

“We know things can happen,” she says. And Aruba, for all its natural beauty, has a health care system that makes her a little nervous. She says guests with medical issues may get flown elsewhere, depending on the issues. So she’s not taking any chances.

So what happens now?

There’s also the uncertainty of the future. It was particularly difficult for Ian Marcus, who was scheduled to travel to Greece for his honeymoon in May. Marcus, a real estate appraiser from Rochester, Michigan, decided to reschedule his vacation for next May.

“But now we have to plan with the knowledge that it could get canceled again, or that there might not be as many attractions or restaurant options available,” he says.

That’s a valid concern. When a country goes on lockdown, all bets are off. Everything could be open one day, and then the next day, everything’s on lockdown. That’s life during the pandemic, and you’d better get used to it.

Fortunately, travel companies have remained flexible with their refund and change policies as the outbreak lingers. That gives travelers planning an upcoming trip a little peace of mind.

“Luckily, airlines have been honoring their policies about canceling trips and not charging customers extra to do so,” says Andre Boyer, a filmmaker based in Los Angeles. He also plans to visit Maui, Hawaii, this year and wants to visit Europe with his girlfriend as soon as it’s allowed.

Be careful out there

It’s OK to dream about your next vacation. But here’s the reality: Travel in the second half of 2020 is fraught with as much peril as opportunity. Some trips will be cheaper, but they’re also riskier. Plan them with care. And remember, the safest trip may be the one you don’t take.

The top 10 dream destinations

According to Virtuoso Wanderlist, a new online trip planning tool, here are the most dreamed-about destinations of 2020. The destinations are based on Wanderlist trips users have been compiling under their profiles since April.

  1. South Africa
  2. Italy
  3. Australia
  4. France
  5. Japan
  6. United Kingdom
  7. Greece
  8. Argentina
  9. Kenya
  10. Botswana
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Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can’t. He’s the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes weekly columns for King Features Syndicate, USA Today, and the Washington Post. If you have a consumer problem you can’t solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Global Rescue

Global Rescue is the world’s leading provider of medical, security, evacuation and travel risk management services. Founded in 2004, Global Rescue has exclusive relationships with the Johns Hopkins Emergency Medicine Division of Special Operations and Elite Medical Group. Global Rescue provides best-in-class services that identify, monitor and respond to client medical and security crises. Learn more about Global Rescue.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Generali Global Assistance

Generali Global Assistance has been a leading provider of travel insurance and other assistance services for more than 25 years. We offer a full suite of innovative, vertically integrated travel insurance and emergency services. Generali Global Assistance is part of The Europ Assistance (EA) Group, who pioneered the travel assistance industry in 1963 and continues to be the leader in providing real-time assistance anywhere in the world, delivering on our motto – You Live, We Care.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Seven Corners

Seven Corners has helped customers all over the world with travel difficulties, big and small. As one of the few remaining privately owned travel insurance companies, Seven Corners provides insurance plans and 24/7 travel assistance services to more than a million people each year. Because we’re privately held, we can focus on the customer without the constraints that larger companies have. Visit Seven Corners to learn more.

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Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelex Insurance Services

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The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

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Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Arch RoamRight

Arch RoamRight is one of the fastest growing, most-highly rated travel insurance companies in the United States. Travel advisors love working with us, and travelers feel protected with our trip cancellation and travel medical insurance coverage. We also make it easy to file a claim online with our fast, paperless claims website. Learn more about RoamRight travel insurance.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

VisitorsCoverage is one of the world’s most trusted providers of travel insurance for millions of global travelers in over 175 countries. Working with top-rated travel insurance partner providers, VisitorsCoverage’s award-winning search, compare and purchase technology simplifies the travel insurance process and finds the best deals for the coverage you need to explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at VisitorsCoverage.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

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Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International,, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelers United

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Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Generali Global Assistance

Generali Global Assistance has been a leading provider of travel insurance and other assistance services for more than 25 years. We offer a full suite of innovative, vertically integrated travel insurance and emergency services. Generali Global Assistance is part of The Europ Assistance (EA) Group, who pioneered the travel assistance industry in 1963 and continues to be the leader in providing real-time assistance anywhere in the world, delivering on our motto – You Live, We Care.

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