You’ve bought your trip, plane tickets are booked, and you’ve saved up your vacation days. Then, a month or two before the trip, you find out it’s been cancelled because there aren’t enough travelers. What do you do?
The New York Times’ prolific travel writer, Michelle Higgins, has some interesting tips. Among her helpful suggestions: ask questions to see how likely it is that the trip will depart; know the operator’s cancellation policy; and wait to buy your airline tickets.
At WildChina, we’re certainly not immune to the challenges faced by other tour operators. We, too, have noticed the trend of fewer trips being taken and last-minute bookings.
For our exclusive small-group tours, we let our guests know that if we do not reach the minimum (10 or 20 guests, depending on the tour), they have the option of taking the journey for a surcharge; using their deposit payment as a credit toward a different WildChina trip; or receiving a refund of all monies already paid.
For WildChina, one of our luxuries as a small company operating all of our trips on the ground, is that we can be very flexible with changes. If one group trip isn’t running, we’re happy to plan and suggest new private itineraries, or make adjustments where possible. For example, if we only have 4 guests on a 2-week trip, we might not bring the cook that 20 people would have needed, or stay in more boutique accomodations.
For private, customized trips, we caution against last-minute arrangements; while we’re always happy to help guests see a different side of China, we also know that more time in planning allows us to better understand your personalities and interests and craft a truly unique experience.
At the end of the day, as Michelle notes, don’t be afraid to ask questions! The more questions you ask, and the more we know about your schedule and requirements, the better your trip will be.