Our luggage has gone unused long enough. That’s how most Americans seem to feel right now, according to a recent look at upcoming summer travel.
TripAdvisor’s 2021 Summer Travel Index showed that two-thirds of Americans now plan to travel at some point this June, July, or August. Those responses represent a 17% jump in soon-to-be vacationers since this past spring. More of us appear ready to shed our pandemic routines and take a trip.
But vacationing in the wake of COVID is accompanied with some unique complications. If you’re flying internationally, for example, certain countries have temporarily banned American travelers. There’s also the potential that vaccine passports could become more commonplace.
Road trips aren’t without their issues either. Each state, county, or town has their own sets of guidelines, making it tough to know where masks are mandated, or which restaurants are operating under limited capacity. Resources like the COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map from AAA can help drivers identify what’s required in each area , but hitting the asphalt definitely isn’t as easy as it used to be.
Whether you’re flying or driving, if traveling is part of your summer plans, these tips can help add some certainty to your trip:
Research travel restrictions. Guidelines and mandates vary by state and country. Plus, they’re constantly changing. Visit the U.S. State Department’s "Know Before You Go" page and the CDC Travel Planner to get up-to-date information on any travel restrictions related to COVID-19.
Understand the risk of purchasing discounted tickets. There are plenty of deals on flights. Unfortunately, discounted tickets rarely provide refunds and will likely charge you if you cancel or reschedule. Be willing to pay extra for fully refundable flights, car rentals, and accommodations.
Know what travel insurance covers. Purchasing travel insurance is wise, but it may not cover every situation. You have the option to add insurance directly with the airline when you purchase your ticket, or you can purchase travel insurance from a third party. The level of coverage varies depending on which option you go with, so choose the plan you are most comfortable with. Read the fine print so you understand how your policy works. Hiring a travel agent to help you navigate the process may not be a bad idea either.
Take precautions before and after your trip. During the 14 days leading up to your trip, avoid situations that could put you at risk for infection, such as attending large group events or using public transportation, recommends the CDC. Then, get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before you travel and keep a copy of your negative test results with you. After your trip, get tested again 3-5 days after arriving home and make plans to self-quarantine for 7 days after travel, regardless of your test results.
Always do your research.
Before doing business or making a purchase, always research the company at BBB.org. Look for things like any possible complaints, and customer reviews.
Traveling this summer? Leave a comment to let us know tips could help your upcoming trip.