What’s better than staying home? “Anything” yes, but what about travel? What is available? Are there any deals? Where could you go? Is it safe? Really safe? These questions and more from our returning guests Kristin and Richard Morris of Arizona Cruise and Travel.
Also don’t miss Steve’s tips for those long-hauls with a camper and Felecia… Felecia has just a few things to say about keeping it local. Don’t miss it.
- Got to get away? Prepare that vehicle for a road trip!
- Get smart on traveling during COVID.
- There are lots of travel deals right now.
- Shop local and stay away from iBuyer apps.
Prepare Your Vehicle for a Family Vacation
Deciding to travel this summer is tough in this environment. Kids are already stir crazy. Parents are looking to get out. Many are traveling to see family. So, how do you get your car, camper, or truck ready for some travel? Camping is very popular here in Arizona. How do you get your truck ready to pull a camper? Most campers we see in Arizona are the ones that are towed. It’s just a matter of hooking it up and driving off. You need to prepare your vehicle. Steve has a V-8 Dodge Ram, for example. Trucks were designed to carry the load in the back. When you tow, you need to prep the truck, especially when you’re going up and down these mountains.
Take a drive with the trailer on the truck before you load the family up in it. Make sure you’re able to handle it. As for brakes, you need a carbon-metallic brake pad. When brake pads get hot, you can mash down on the brakes, but you won’t stop. You can’t let that happen when you’re coming down the mountain and need to stop suddenly.
Another thing is how you load up the trailer. The truck was designed to carry a half-ton either in the truck OR in the trailer. Don’t overload it. Also, you want to make sure your shock absorbers keep up with the increased loads.
Account for the bugs. When you drive through the state, bugs get caught in the condenser on the front of your vehicle. If that gets too clogged, it can’t cool the engine down enough. You can buy a long wand on Amazon and blow out the debris forward, out away from the engine. It’s just $30 and hooks up to your garden hose.
And of course, before you take off, make sure your vehicle’s fluids are topped off. Don’t put dishwasher fluid! It just bubbles up. Yeah, we’ve seen that. Washer fluid in Arizona isn’t freeze-proof because you can make drugs out of it. So, to buy it, you have to prove you’re from a cold part of the state. You can add a little rubbing alcohol to normal fluid, and it won’t freeze.
Make sure your spare tires are good, for both your vehicle and your trailer! They’re cheap. Make sure you get that trailer spare. And don’t forget the lug wrench!
Cruises and Other Travel During COVID-19
We all spent time hanging out with our guests Kristin and Richard, a few months back. That was the exact moment that COVID really hit and slowed things down, including canceling travel plants. They had to work hard to take care of their clients who had travel plans. It was like they went underground helping everybody. They gave excellent advice.
Sometimes, they told their clients to just wait it out and stay patient. People started panicking and wanted to cancel immediately. But they noticed that cruise lines were starting to give incentives to re-book travel for later dates. So, they advised clients to hold on and wait to see what the vendors might start to offer. These incentives indeed came along. They offered up to a 25% incentive to re-booking that trip. Those who canceled only got a refund. That’s a 25% difference in what they can spend on their future travels.
The important reason to work with a travel agent is that they can get on the phone and handle the bookings. Sometimes, that took hours. If you went this alone, you likely spent hours on your own, on hold. That’s a huge bonus when working with a travel agent.
Kristin and Richard also handle other travel, like Sandals and European excursions. In those cases, it really depended on what the vendor was offering. Most would reschedule, but they were also able to get some of them to offer up refunds. The hotels got more flexible with government assistance. The vendors that didn’t play well…are getting re-evaluated. Those that do the right thing will get their loyalty.
The cruise lines have been great, among the best in the travel industry, in handling this. They’ve been great for both travelers and agents.
Great Travel Deals for Beaches and Resorts
There are some great travel deals going on now, right now even with COVID going on. How do we get out of town? Cancun is taking people and is a great place to visit. They’re limiting capacity, so you can stay healthy. They are at 25% capacity and keeping everything sanitized.
Right now there are 7-7-7 deals — 7 resorts, 7 rooms, 7% off. They get these deals every week! So, you’ll want to keep up with Kristin and Richard on these. There are also credits, tour credits, free sunglasses — some great incentives. Are you a first responder or military? Great discounts there, too.
Now is a great time to hit up a beach if you like having space to yourself. With limited capacity, you’ll have a good chunk of the beach to yourself.
If you’re looking at Europe, you’ll want to look later in the year or next year. They’re shutting Americans out for now, so no immediate travel to Europe. Same with Asia. It’s pretty much shut down, too. If you’re going there, look at spring of 2021.
A lot of the cruises are allowing people to cancel or reschedule up to 48 hours in advance, should anything happen. But Richard recommends travel insurance to cover that. Knowing these details are another reason to use a travel agent.
What’s the feeling about air travel and the virus? Some airlines are promising an empty middle seat, but they’re seeing plenty of filled flights. Wearing a mask and sanitizing your seat should be good. The airlines are following CDC guidelines for sanitizing the planes between flights. A lot of places in Mexico and the Carribean will actually swab you — give you a COVID test. But check out the airline you’re using. Southwest seems to be doing things right.
Felecia’s Rant on iBuyer Apps: Don’t Do It!
Time to talk buying local. Kristin and Richard are local. You can visit their office in Gilbert! How does that affect real estate? Those iBuyer apps! Where did these people go in April as COVID hit? They ran and left town back to wherever their offices are, which is not in Arizona. So, who was left? The local Realtors! Agents are essential workers, so we’re able to continue to work. If you were counting on an iBuyer app, you were left dry. You want to work with an agent who shops at your same stores and lives in your same cities. These are the pros who are loyal to you and the community. When you use an iBuyer app, that money leaves the state and your community. And that’s not to mention that you’ll pay more with those!
These apps care only about their shareholders. They don’t care about you. It’s Wall Street versus Main Street. Wall Street is doing fine. But our friends next door on Main Street are hurting.
These apps also lose you money. With an agent, you’re only paying about 6%. With Zillow, you’ll pay 11-17%. Their offers are made with an algorithm. Most times, they don’t even come see the house. They don’t know the neighborhood. A local Realtor knows the area. It’s important to know the vibe. Arcadia and Gilbert are different. An app won’t know that.
These apps force you to make repairs before you can close. When you work with a Realtor, they’ll do an inspection up front and be prepared to negotiate. If you need to do the work, you can choose your favorite local contractor. You lose all that with an iBuyer app.
If you can make another $10,000-15,000, be patient and work with a local Realtor. Did you know that you can negotiate the Title and Escrow fees? Yes! You can’t do that with an iBuyer app. You give up all your power, in addition to your money.
A good, full-time Realtor will fight for you. An app won’t. It’s all about negotiations and getting what’s best for you. A Realtor will really get to know you and your goals and help you make the best decision for you and your family. That might even be not to sell your house right now. Will an app tell you that? A Realtor will have a conscience and ethics.
The bottom line: shop and buy local! Your money stays here and you’ll help a member of your community make it through this COVID stuff!
Until next week, Drive Friendly and Stay Healthy Arizona!