It started with news reports of a virus in Wuhan, China, that was causing great concern around the world. As days passed, the danger got closer and closer to home. It almost felt like it was creeping up on us. Before we knew it, the virus, eventually labeled COVID-19, was spreading to country after country and bringing people to their knees in the process.
America was no different. By the time March of 2020 came around, citizens were already starting to feel the effects of the pandemic. Whether it was schools closing, businesses shutting their doors or family members going to be tested, it was a bizarre period that felt surreal to many. It was like the world we had come to know was fading, replaced with a new way to go about our daily lives.
Fast-forward to a year and a half later and we are still looking at a very different America than what we once knew. While life is slowly starting to get back to “normal” and citizens are getting vaccinated in droves, there is still that hanging feeling of uneasiness. It’s as if the public is uneasy to go back to the world we once knew or to reconcile to what it has become.
With the world the way it is currently, could you use a few days away from the new normal? Could you use some time to yourself to recalibrate? Have you figured out that it’s not material possessions that matter the most and that you need to take care of yourself?
A New Type of Travel
It’s no secret that the pandemic has brought safety to the forefront, especially in regard to venturing outside your own home. In fact, between vaccinations becoming a necessity in order to travel and mask requirements still a big deal in many countries, thinking about Coronavirus as you explore has become unavoidable. It has also changed the way that touring is approached. Do we always need to mingle with crowds? Is luxury or hiring a private tour guide now worth the extra effort?
For example, instead of going to an amusement park and shuffling around from ride to ride, why not choose to head out into nature or a national park instead? Could a few days of solitude—especially away from your ever-present notifications—to spend time with your friends or family exclusively solidify your relationships? Would a combination of exercise and serenity, such as on a private Half Dome guided hiking tour, do your body well and renew your spirit?
Not everyone will be looking for private tours, though. Just as you can purchase many brands of products from the supermarket, from budget to luxury, you can do the same with tours. Many travelers ride on the Big Bus and always will, but in the post-COVID world, will more begin to see the value in reserving private tours, since paying for expertise can be an advantage, as on a privately guided Yosemite hiking tour? Is there value in going with only your friends and family to such a wondrous place with an expert leader?
Tour companies have struggled through COVID, though, with many even going out of business. If not closing for good, their infrastructure, including ours, has been heavily damaged. Like cleaning up after a hurricane or an earthquake, it will take some time for our industry to recover before we’re firing on all cylinders again. That, Coronavirus has taught us, is life: our first major industry downturn in modern times.
For example, currently we can operate private Yosemite tours and offer a wonderful experience for those who wish to visit the national park, although our limit for passengers is more intimate, around 1-3 guests. Anything more and we cannot perform a private tour up to the standards we desire. We will do larger tours again one day, and you can always call us to inquire, but for now we need breathing room for our business to recover. We ask that our luxury clients with highly customized requests be patient until then.
Other Things on Your Mind
There’s no way to get around the fact that moving on from the pandemic will be difficult. It was a crisis that dominated our lives, everyone, for well over a year and is still hanging over the general population to varying degrees, even with travel growing. That’s why it is almost imperative to explore options intelligently and not just jump at the first thing that catches your eye.
Yet how do you know which tour operators are on your team? Who do you trust? Like dealing with coronavirus, shopping for a private tour or luxury experience may involve more research than normal, as well as an open mind to a new experience. Although it’s only a short time since the Coronavirus first appeared (lifetime speaking), we are going through a pivotal moment in how the general public chooses to travel.
In San Francisco, we will move one day at a time. We are a small tour operator and only know how to do our best, whether we have one employee or seven. If you call and we regrettably refuse your private tour, please know we are not doing so to be obstinate. Instead, we are only keeping our experiences at the level and standard you deserve. We’d love to accept your business, but times are currently different until we can recover.
For now, we are happy and healthy and can only do our best for you, and our best to stay in business. Like the rest of the world, we are changing to the post-COVID travel lifestyle. Post-pandemic private travel has changed; we look forward to leading the way into the new era one experience at a time.