As I write this post, I should be sitting in a pub in Dublin saying cheers to the end of another great adventure together with my friend and travel buddy, Doug. It’s honestly heartbreaking to have to cancel something you’re looking forward to for so long, but of course we’re not the only one in this situation, so I’m sending some love to anyone experiencing the same!
Last year, around this time, Doug and I were preparing to go on our first trip together. We were headed to Paris for a few days before we joined up with a Contiki group to explore around Eastern Europe. If you haven’t heard of Contiki, this is a must for you to look into! Contiki was the best thing to ever make its way into my life. I promise, I’ll do a deep dive into my trip with them in another post. But anyway, let me get back on track here. Since we had such a blast on our last tour, we decided we absolutely had to do another one. We agreed to plan an even longer trip than last time, so we could get a few more spots in. We booked everything nice and early (and even got a Black Friday deal on our Contiki!). To lessen our anxiety for our trip last year, we added some buffer days before our tour, so we went to Paris. This time Doug suggested Ireland, so we added a few days in Dublin before the tour and a few days in Dublin after. Why not have one more stop in to some pubs before headed home, right?
To say we were excited was an extreme understatement. Every single day since probably the day we booked it, Doug would text me a countdown of how many days we had until we left. New Year’s Eve we both excitedly texted how we were finally in 2020, which meant we were that much closer to our adventure. As the days ticked by, the more hyped up we got. We started ordering new backpacks, shopping for new clothes, and talking about what we were going to pack this time around. The countdown to Ireland and the tour was something to look forward to, something to help get us through the depressing, cold New York winter.
Then March came around. The news was absolutely flooded with talks of how COVID-19 came to the United States and how awful it was going to affect us. We both were trying to ignore the news before this, since it wasn’t fully impacting us just yet. Even with the reports from Italy, we we’re still planning on boarding those planes. Then I got the worst message I’d ever received from Doug (and if you know him that says a lot haha) “All Contiki trips until the 30th of April are cancelled). We had a trip scheduled starting April 29th. My heart sank. I knew this was coming, but I was trying to pretend it wasn’t.
We had to start the process of canceling all of our different hotels, flights, activities, and the entire Contiki tour itself. I have to say, I am incredibly impressed with Contiki, Expedia, and a few other vendors with how everything was handled. A process that seemed like it was going to be its own special version of Hell was virtually seamless. We were able to get a full credit for our tours, flights, and most of our hotels refunded. Even our “nonrefundable” hotels we were given credits for! We had two big activities for Dublin scheduled in advance (1) Kilmainham Gaol and (2) The Guinness Storehouse. Both places gave refunds without a fuss, which we were so appreciative of knowing how hard the times are around the globe.
Now that all of the canceling is set and done, we are anxiously awaiting for this to end (just like everyone else) so we can rebook this adventure! We’re planning on booking essentially the same exact trip as we had planned, so hopefully it will all go according to plan. Constantly talking about re-planning our adventure is our own personal way of coping with the fact that we had to cancel in the first place. It’s giving us something else to look forward to now and something positive to talk about and something to talk about that isn’t the virus.
If anyone was curious of our plans, check out the itinerary below! I always put together a detailed Google doc before my trips, to get some sort of plan going. Doug just makes fun of me for it and won’t admit how helpful it really is, but deep down, I know he knows. (You can get a sense of my type-A personality as mentioned on my getting to know me bio) This is just a piece of our full itinerary, but the calendar view is the most concise for these purposes.
Wishing everyone safety through the rest of this mini Armageddon!
Did you have to cancel a trip due to COVID-19 too? Where were you headed, and are you planning on rebooking – comment below!