( 3 minute read )

Have you hit the road this summer? Hotels, restaurants, and event venues are welcoming guests, and we at illumy are thinking hard about what we want to do (and where we want to go).

Here’s 5 expert tips for jumping back on the travel horse ✈️. Get out there and get exploring (in a safe, socially distanced way)!

Think big

For most people in most parts of the world, 2020 was a year of staying home. That was frustrating—but think of all the money you saved by staying hyper-local 🤑.

With many countries lifting their travel restrictions, you can put those savings to use by planning the trip—or trips—of a lifetime. Safari in Kenya? Snorkeling in Cozumel? A “Grand Tour” of Europe? Now is the time for you to start thinking big.

As the Financial Times put it, big travel plans are on the rise. “There was already a move towards increasingly adventurous trips, but the pandemic seems to have really accelerated that trend,” one tour operator told the paper.

Do your research

A fascinating fact about travel: planning 📆 can be one of the most rewarding parts of the experience. “Those who are waiting to go on a holiday are much happier with their life as a whole” than people without travel plans, British researchers wrote in 2002.

So what better way to invest time ⌛ than in planning your next trip? Countless blogs and articles written by locals or expert guides—not to mention travel operators—can point you in the right direction.

And if you have illumy’s i3 plan, you can place unlimited calls 🤙 to 43 countries. It’s perfect for booking overseas travel (hint, hint).

Find the right platform to collaborate

illumy’s travel-planning power extends beyond international calling. It’s also the perfect tool for collaborating with your fellow travelers 🧑‍🤝‍🧑.

On illumy, you can create a new messaging group in an instant. It works best when every member is an illumy user, but you can add non-illumy email addresses to groups, too. (They’ll see the messages as emails.)

People can even add themselves to illumy groups by emailing the group’s unique email address.

illumy makes it super simple to upload pictures 📷, videos 🎥, and documents 📄 for seamless collaboration. And you can hop on a voice ☎️ or video 👋 call from right within the group.

Use polls to narrow your options

illumy isn’t the only digital tool you’ll want to use in planning travel. Free polling platforms are also essential—so you can settle on hotels, restaurants, and activities.

Three polling tools we ❤️ are:

  • Google Forms. Uses your Google account to create polls or questionnaires, then drops your results into a Google Sheets spreadsheet.
  • Doodle. A simple platform for quick polls, useful for voting on dates and times.
  • SurveyMonkey. A pro-level tool used by businesses and even political pollsters… with a free account option allowing polls of up to 10 questions.

Review vendors’ refund policies

Those who had travel plans disrupted in 2020 typically got quick refunds from airlines and other travel companies. Many travel operators are maintaining generous refund or change policies in 2021. But it’s a good idea to check ☑️ before you book.

Policies will vary by company and country. For example, U.S. airlines must offer cash refunds if they cancel a flight—but foreign carriers may not do the same.

Now is also a good time to review any refunds you might be expecting from cancelled travel and be sure your refunds were processed. One pro tip? Reach out on social media. You’ll often get the quickest 🚀 response.

If you have big travel plans, we’d love to hear them👂. Tweet us at @illumyinc.

Photo by Dino Reichmuth on Unsplash.