...cautiously optimistic about a vaccine.
It’s the beginning of August, and summer in Ontario Cottage Country is half over. The weather has been hot and the beer has been cold, but the coronavirus surrounds us, and nobody really knows how all this will unfold in the coming months. That’s where we stand.
At the same time, positive news from vaccine development teams around the world appears daily in the media. In fact, it seems there is a global race underway to get to market first between Asian, American and European companies. That’s encouraging.
Having said that, even when vaccines become available, they will need to be produced, packaged, distributed and administered to billions of people. Presumably, that will take a few months.
So, where does that leave TravelMaven and our upcoming tours?
At this point, if it is safe to do so, we plan to resume tour operations in December, with a final decision for German Christmas Markets to be made in early September. We are also keeping our four departures to South Africa in February and March on the agenda, with a final decision regarding those to be made later in the fall.
As for the rest of 2021, some destinations remain tentative. That’s because we haven’t been able to visit places to finalize hotel choices and schedules. For example, in recent months we had to cancel research trips to Istanbul, Azerbaijan, Israel and Germany (for the Car Museum tour).
The best news for those with TravelMaven bookings is that you incur no financial risk until 45 days before departure. As such, there’s no reason to cancel future reservations at this time, as existing bookings continue to hold your spot and guarantee your price.
In recognition that travel planning has become more uncertain for everyone, TravelMaven recently implemented new and more client-friendly policies regarding booking, payments and cancellation. Going forward, deposits will be fully refundable, final payment will not be due until 45 days prior to departure, and cancellation terms will be more flexible.
As such, if you book a TravelMaven tour, but are subsequently unable to travel for any reason, we will cheerfully refund your money if you notify us 45 days or more before departure. As a result, you can make (or keep) vacation plans months in advance and guarantee yourself one of our 12 spots while incurring zero financial risk until 45 days prior to departure. How can you beat that?
Barry Devolin (August 4, 2020)
TravelMaven believes the best way to see most places, especially Great Cities, is on foot in a small group. That's why our group tours are limited to 12 guests, move at a slow pace, and offer lots of free time & flexibility.
Travellers have hundreds of off the rack options, including our small group tours. However, for groups wanting to visit a special place at a time of their choosing, private tours can offer a surprisingly affordable alternative.
Everyone dreams of going somewhere special. Let TravelMaven make your dream a reality with one of our Small Group tours or on a Private Tour with family and friends.
These tours are all about spending lots of time in one iconic place. With a maximum of 12 guests, we walk the streets and visit the classic sights of the world's greatest cities.
Each year we offer families an amazing and affordable alternative to the typical beach or winter sports vacation. In 2021, we're going on safari to Kruger National Park in South Africa!
We believe that very small groups of 6-12 offer the "sweet spot" for travel: big enough to have others to share experiences, but small enough to not waste time waiting around for others.
Packing and unpacking, and moving from hotel to hotel takes time and energy. Nobody likes to be told "bags outside your door at 7 am". That's why we carefully select central hubs and stay in as few hotels as possible.
We believe the best way to see places is on foot. That's why most days we leave the hotel about 9 am with walking shoes and daypacks, ready to explore the streets & sights and immerse ourselves in our destination.
One big advantage of very small groups is that we are flexible and open to spontaneous ideas and opportunities. We are also happy to help find & organize special attractions & activities for guests during their free time.
In the past 2 years we’ve learned that Canadians have a great Interest in visiting South Africa. In response, TravelMaven has developed several Small Group and Private Tour options. First, we are offering 2 departure dates for our 16 day Cape Town & Kruger tour on January 30 and March 6. On February 14, we are also offering a new 15 day Kruger Relaxed & Extended safari, as well as repeating our 10 day Kruger Safari during March Break.
Another new option for 2021 is Private Tours of Kruger Park and the surrounding region by CD Tours (based in Kruger). And finally, in partnership with other trusted partners, we can now arrange single or multi-day "add ons" to many other regional attractions, such as the Western Cape wine region, south coast Garden Route and even Victoria Falls!
"(Kruger) was an amazing trip. I’d highly recommend this to anyone who has a African safari on their bucket list but thought it might be outside their comfort zone or budget. I’ve got to hand it to Barry, he has put together an awesome itinerary for a price that is affordable. The week in Cape Town was a surprising bonus to this trip of a lifetime."
"TravelMaven planned a 10 day trip for my assistant to Prague last spring. Barry was great to work with, and I couldn't believe how easy the process was. Best part: he definitely saved us more than his fees."
"Barry recently planned a multi-stop 7 week trip for us to Europe and Southeast Asia in 2019. He looked after many of the flights and hotels, made lots of suggestions, and we will look after the rest ourselves."