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COVID-19 – Advice for those anxious about 2020 travel plans!

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For anybody who had hoped to travel in 2020, this blog is for you.

Ollie’s Tours is a small tour operator based in a beautiful medieval town called Ennis located in the south-west of Ireland.  We offer walking, food and culture tours of the town and rely on international tourists for our business.  Since the recent outbreak of the Covid 19 coronavirus, global travel has come to a standstill and thus, we have had to postpone the launch of our 2020 season.  We are just 15 minutes from Shannon Airport and so most people who do our tours are just off the plane.  My team of local guides and I get the privilege of introducing international visitors not only to Ennis but also to our unique Irish culture.  We see first hand their excitement just to be here in Ireland.

As the Covid-19 Coronavirus spreads across Europe and the rest of the world, people’s dream trips to Ireland, Italy, Spain etc. have been cancelled or postponed.  Travel is not a cheap thing to do and for most people, it requires months, if not years of saving to do so.  For anyone in this situation, unsure what to do and anxious about your planned trip, here is my advice:

  1. Contact your tourism providers: We are all in this together and despite airlines, hotels and tour operators losing a lot of money, they value their customers.  By contacting them, they will be able to inform you about all your possible options. This could be a refund but also might just mean rescheduling you for a later time that suits you.
  2. Speak to your employer: If you had requested specific time off for this trip, ask your employer if it would be okay to hold off on taking your vacation days until the pandemic becomes less serious.  If they can be most employers will be understanding in this current situation.
  3. Find the opportunity: Yes, this situation is not ideal for anyone.  But as the old saying goes “When one door closes, another one opens”.  This gives you time to rethink your holiday and get creative.  Maybe the next time you travel, you could travel for longer. Perhaps more friends/family could tag along.  Flights might be cheaper and you could actually save money. You really never know what this crazy mess might bring.

If you happen to fall under the category of someone who has had to postpone their trip to Ireland, check out this sample bucket list of ‘off the beaten track’ places to visit.

  1. Clare – Co. Clare is on most people’s Ireland bucket list but this is mainly due to the Cliffs of Moher.  Don’t get me wrong, these cliffs are breath-taking but it can get pretty crowded during the daytime.  I always recommend visiting the Cliffs in the late evening. Most people have gone home and you might catch the sunset, too.  Ennis is the capital town of Clare and is the capital of Irish traditional music. Its lively streets are filled with historic cafés and fashion boutiques.  Ennis has a lot to offer.  If you do come to Ennis, check out our food tour!  For those looking for something a little more ‘mad’, you could try out Snámhaí Sásta.  Every day, just around the corner from the Spanish Armada hotel is a community of people who run into the Atlantic Ocean at 9.15 each morning.  It’s early, it’s cold but it is amazing!
  2. Galway – Galway city is the 2020 European city of culture. They have so many festivals planned for the year but due to the Covid-19 outbreak, they could be pushed forward to 2021.  If not, there is one thing I recommend that everybody try, Galway Food Tours. This company offer you another way to view Galway.  Not through your eyes but through your taste buds.
  3. Mayo – Ireland is not known for its peaks and mountains but Croagh Patrick should be on everybody’s bucket list.  Depending on your fitness levels, one could climb to the top of this mountain in approx 2 hours.  On a good day, the views from the top are out of this world and will be sure to make your trip to Ireland magical!

For all those looking for other unique travel ideas, either in Ireland or elsewhere, I get a lot of my travel ideas from OnTheQT, a travel blog made by locals all around the world.