Do you remember at the beginning of a new school year how you would either stand up and give a report on what you did over your summer break or the teacher would make you write one and turn it in? Well, the end of December until spring is my time off to prepare for the next tour season. Usually I am putting together final pricings for all the trips in the next season so I can present them at the Spring Tour Reception. I also take a look at how I can improve the travel experience for the wonderful ensemble members that travel with Maestro Tours. Lastly, I travel to new destinations to investigate new and exciting trips.
January and February were filled up with the pricing the 2021 trips, looking at how the previous year went and how I could continue to improve Maestro Tours. March was the month to get away and do research. Mary and I got in the Rav-4 on March 1st and started towards Orlando. We took four days to get there and made a number of stops along the way to investigate restaurants, attractions, and hotels. There is nothing like spending time in sunny Orlando with temperatures ranging between the high 60’s and the low 80’s when Buffalo skies are gray. Our girls’ college spring breaks lined up at the same time so they were able to fly down to Orlando and join us for a short week in the sun.
Of course, around this time the country began to experience the Coronavirus. Just as we were ready to take the girls to the airport so they could fly back to school they got an email indicating classes were cancelled. Bonus for us, we got to spend more time with them. So, we all drove to Hilton Head Island to visit with our friend Merrill from Land Cruise. We spent time on the Island, drove to Savannah, and then to Charleston. As it was time to head home everything was starting to shut down due to COVID-19.
We returned home safely only to find three rolls of toilet paper in the house. Living with three women in the house and only three roles of TP, I was starting to panic knowing how ugly this was going to get if I didn’t find more TP. Fortunately, I was able to buy some at BJ’s two day later. I felt like I accomplished one of the biggest tasks of my life.
After my success with the TP situation it became clear the 2020 tour season wasn’t going to be business as usual. I started moving trips from the spring and summer to the fall or even into 2021. This is wasn’t as easy as it seems — it was very difficult to get a hold of anyone as so many people in the travel industry were furloughed or working from home.
The positive in all of this is that we were all facing the same crisis and everyone is being very cooperative. Now we sit and wait to see if traveling this fall will be a reality. I know by speaking with many Maestro Tours travelers that we are all ready to get back out there and travel.