The Washington Post Sunday

Amid covid, plans can easily fall apart. Having a Plan B can save the day.

- Mishev is a writer based in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Her website is Find her on Instagram: @myspiritan­imalisatre­x.

and kayaking, among other activities — company based in California, which offers more than 200 itinerarie­s around the world, and Intrepid Travel, an Australiab­ased company that this month is offering 238 small-group escorted trips in 25 countries. Intrepid requires guests to be vaccinated; Backroads requires unvaccinat­ed guests to be tested within 72 hours of departure. “We have had customers confirmed with covid who couldn’t travel,” said Matt Berna, Intrepid Travel’s managing director of North America. “These could be a last-minute opportunit­y for someone else, but only if they’re vaccinated.”

Don’t be afraid to check in with hotels and trips that look booked. During the peak of this summer’s season, Owen was able to book a family into the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, a 150-year-old luxury cliffside property on the French Riviera famous for its generation­s of renowned guests, such as F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Picasso, Noël Coward, Elizabeth Taylor, John and Yoko, and Winston and Clementine Churchill, among others. “Usually between mid-June and Labor Day, it’s reserved by families that have been guests for generation­s; if that’s not you, you can’t get a reservatio­n there for love or money. But travel isn’t yet back to 100 percent, and this summer, with two weeks’ notice, I was able to secure suites there for a family who had to pivot to the south of France after Switzerlan­d didn’t open as early as we had hoped.”

“It never hurts to call to check on space availabili­ty since spots do open up,” Backroads’ founder and president, Tom Hale, said via email. My family was able to satisfy my nieces’ desire to try archery by sliding into a two-hour archery lesson with the Jackson Hole Shooting Experience, because another group canceled after a member had a breakthrou­gh coronaviru­s case.

Ask about last-minute deals. “The beauty of last-minute travel is that the inventory might otherwise go unsold,” Owen said. “If it’s unsold 24 hours before, it could be possible to get a discount on the rack rate,” or the advertised price of the room. Harrison said travelers hoping for a last-minute deal should look to destinatio­ns that are just opening up. “If a destinatio­n has been open for a while, don’t expect a deal, but I’ve seen some amazing luxury properties in newly opened destinatio­ns with promotions like ‘pay for three nights and get four.’ ”

Think outside the box. Hagle said she was initially hesitant to send clients to the Four Seasons Hotel in Baltimore for their vacation — “so many of the activities at the Inner Harbor were closed,” she said — but now heartily recommends the property. “For travelers whose goal is to get away from the stress of daily life and relax, and who aren’t yet ready to fly, it’s perfect. It doesn’t matter if things in the Inner Harbor are open, because you don’t have to leave the hotel.”

Harrison said to consider destinatio­ns that are in their offseason. “If someone finds themselves looking for a last-minute trip in early December, a place like New Orleans is great. The Christmas lights aren’t up yet, but the weather is wonderful, and it won’t be crowded,” she said. Before Florida’s current virus surge, Denise Ambrusko-Maida, the owner of Travel Brilliant in Buffalo, recommende­d Disney’s Epcot for vaccinated adults. “Obviously, going to the France pavilion at Epcot is not the same as going to Paris, but if you have a sense of humor and have fun with it, you can eat your way around the world,” she said.

Don’t leave home at all. Remote tours started before the pandemic, but now a Google search for “virtual travel tours” yields more than 182 million results. These include activities such as being able to scroll-stroll the collection­s of more than 2,500 museums around the world via Google Arts & Culture (free, artsandcul­ and Urban Adventures’ new live Zoom experience­s (urbanadven­­s). The latter, which usually cost between $15 and $30, include a 75minute experience in which you’ll create a mandala and practice meditation with a guide in Delhi, India; an hour-long class on making ceviche and pisco sours in the home of a guide in Lima, Peru; and an hour-long lesson in ice swimming and the sauna with a guide in Finland.

“When the pandemic first hit, we thought about how we could keep our local guides employed, and these live, online experience­s are what we came up with,” said Intrepid Travel’s Berna. (Intrepid is Urban Adventures’ parent company.) “For travelers, these are not going to replace traveling in person, but they can satisfy their wanderlust.”

 ?? DINA MISHEV FOR THE WASHINGTON POST ?? The author’s 9-year-old niece participat­es in an archery lesson in Jackson, Wyo., after a slot happened to open up at the range.
DINA MISHEV FOR THE WASHINGTON POST The author’s 9-year-old niece participat­es in an archery lesson in Jackson, Wyo., after a slot happened to open up at the range.

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