For 5 Questions this week, the Herald speaks with Bonnie Haley, president of Bon Voyage Travel Leaders in Grand Forks, at 2100 S. Columbia Road.
Q: How has business been during the pandemic?
A: It’s probably the hardest year we’ve ever gone through. Travel pretty much came to a halt mid-March, and we are still trying to recover. We're seeing a small amount of bookings coming in, but nothing like normal. The good thing is we are seeing that people have interest, and they want to travel again. I just returned from Cancun, and it was amazing. It was nothing out of the ordinary, very normal. My husband and I travel once a month, and we had not traveled for about six months, so it was just awesome. We wanted to go and experience it ourselves so that we could relay that to our customers and let them know that it is safe. We really want people to be comfortable with traveling. Travel is ready for them when they are.
Q: Who is travelling right now?
A: A lot of our regular customers always travel to Mexico and the Caribbean, and we’re hearing a lot from them. Also honeymooners, and I am working on some destination weddings. Then we are booking some clients' airline tickets to travel within the U.S. They did have a 14-day quarantine for North Dakota that they lifted a couple weeks ago, and that was also hurting travel. But now that's unlisted, and that's huge.
Q: What are popular destinations?
A: The U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean. Hawaii is relaxing their 14-day quarantine, so now we have clients traveling there. Some were already scheduled and some are inquiring. Mexico has fewer requirements than the Caribbean, but the Caribbean does require a negative COVID test. That's been something that our clients are just fine with, and we're helping them through that whole process.
Q: What tips can you offer for traveling during COVID?
A: I would say definitely have your mask readily available. A lot of clients are bringing their own sanitizer and Clorox wipes. The airlines are providing Clorox wipes to passengers as they board the plane, so they can wipe their area down. The airlines are doing a really good job with that as well. After each flight they are sanitizing the airplane and they're wiping everything down.
Q: Are there good deals to be had right now?
A: There are good deals right now, especially traveling in 2020. We have seen attractive deals to Mexico and the Caribbean, even in the U.S. I was seeing prices kind of normal for 2021 for the winter peak season to Mexico and the Caribbean, but I've recently even seen more deals for those areas for the peak season.