After 25 years in the travel industry the thought of being “grounded” never crossed my mind, but that is exactly what happened this past year! My 2021 travel calendar is beginning to fill up now, but in January I traveled for the first time in 9 months, and my family finally got to enjoy our first family vacation in almost 2 years this month! Both trips took a little more planning than what used to be normal, but in the end the effort was well worth it and those trips were definitely needed.
We are starting to see both US and international destinations ease restrictions for travelers and as a result we are seeing high demand for much needed getaways. Travel may look different right now, but it is still possible and it still can be enjoyable. So if you are thinking about dusting off your suitcase and planning a summer vacation there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind…
- Stay in the know – Many destinations (including some in the US) have requirements for inbound visitors. These requirements can change frequently so you’ll want to stay on top of the latest guidelines.
- Flexibility is key – Between hotel availability, airline schedule changes or capacity caps at attractions, sometimes no matter how prepared you are, you’ll still need a plan B or C.
- Count the days – Testing is becoming easier and more locations are allowing asymptomatic testing for travel. Check with your testing location on current result times and then time your COVID test (if required by your destination) to allow a cushion of a day or two. This covers you in the case of a schedule change or flight cancellation so that your COVID test doesn’t expire before you reach your destination.
- Insurance is a necessity – Travel insurance that offers emergency medical in destination coverage is required by many countries now. Even if you passed on the insurance previously, you’ll want to consider it now and may even be required to travel with a policy.
- Don’t go alone – Your local travel advisor is an invaluable resource! We’ve made sure clients have gotten home safely and we’ve helped clients navigate all of the changes and requirements the past year has brought. A professional travel advisor keeps up with all of these items to ensure a great travel experience for their clients. If you’ve never used a travel advisor before, now is the perfect time to let their experience do the work for you.
- Don’t wait- If you think you may want to travel this summer don’t wait to plan! Things are booking up for summer into the fall due to increased demand and rescheduled 2020 vacations. Now is definitely the time to figure out where and when you want to go!
All of these steps I listed may seem like a lot, but they are necessary as we figure out how to safely resume travel. TRUST me…when I was enjoying Mother’s Day on an uninhabited island watching my children learn to snorkel in the turquoise waters of French Cay, Turks and Caicos I didn’t care one bit about the authorizations, the PCR tests or all the steps to get there. It was absolutely worth every bit of it!
All the best,
** First published in the May 28, 2021 edition of the Loudoun Times Mirror. Page 7