How to Travel Well During COVID
Is it time for your next travel adventure? I know, I know. It has been a long time coming, and it is not as easy as it used to be. While you may or may not prefer to plan and execute your vacations with a professional travel advisor, do know that those (like me) in the industry whose business has survived the pandemic helping travelers plan, un-plan, and plan again will be there in your corner when you need us, helping to navigate during these uncertain times. Travel alone, you are on your own.
How can I help you travel well? Here are just a few things to keep in mind as the world continues to heal. Do your homework so you feel confident!
PACK YOUR PATIENCE
Every adventure has the ability to morph into something quite unexpected! Flight delays, misconnections, weather that causes a ship to miss a port of call you were really looking forward to…argh! So disappointing! And war is not something I could even imagine happening right now. It caused a favorite client’s cruise itinerary to change so much that his air this summer had to be totally re-booked and most ports of call (Baltic) to be moved to new ones. What can you do? You may “lift and shift” off that cruise ship before it sails, cancel and request a refund, or schedule another cruise that may be on your bucket list. Above all, remember this: Sometimes the unexpected results in wonderful gifts! Dwell on the disappointment? Nope, look for the beautiful bonus that is right in front of you.
UNDERSTAND THE TESTING REQUIREMENTS
As we speak, ASTA (American Society of Travel Advisors) is lobbying our government to drop the testing requirement to re-enter the US after International travel for those of us who are vaccinated and boosted. Fingers crossed we can get this passed soon, as I know how much anxiety this causes my travelers. Many countries have already dropped the testing to enter their country…Mexico never had one. You will find quite a few resorts include the cost of these tests with a stay for a certain number of days. If not, you can always bring along the right test kit with you and do the online test thing during this time.
If you need to know the current requirements, this is a great source. (Showing you Italy requirements, but you can change those to your own travel plans and dates.) SHERPA
Additionally, go to www.travel.state.gov
YOU MIGHT NEED TO UPLOAD DOCUMENTS IN AN APP
Watch this brief video released recently about the potential need to a QR code or APP on your phone and other great advice. Every country has different requirements! Currently the US requires the return test to be done within one day prior to boarding a flight home for all 2 years of age or older. (Not exactly 24 hours…the day before).
CDC Guidelines for Cruise Travel (Updated 2/9/22)
Here is website for the current CDC testing requirements for your return.
BUY TRAVEL PROTECTION
If you are skipping this step, you may potentially lose not only the money you paid for the travel arrangements but also time from work in the case of a positive COVID test before your return. Some resorts will cover the expense of staying extra nights, but you will likely be moved to a room where you must have all meals delivered. If your resort doesn’t cover those costs, it could be an expensive stay. Many travel insurance companies cover most if not all of these expenses, and in addition give the full protection of medical costs as well. Don’t leave home without it. Yes, if you are older, it will cost more, but just build this into the trip cost when you book that international trip. I offer a plan to my clients who are undecided about investing in a full plan that offers full benefits DURING travel. There just is no protection from cancelling before you leave. It can save a LOT and still gives you peace of mind. Check with me…I would be happy to send a real-time quote.
CONSIDER A GROUP TRAVEL EXPERIENCE
It sure is a perfect time to choose a group travel experience. A lot can be said for having a guide available for troubleshooting during your vacation. Another bonus you may not have considered…these trips are arranged about a year in advance, so pricing can be a great value in times like these when gas prices are going up and inflation is taking hold. So many wonderful companies are out there to choose from. Do be sure they have a USTOA stamp on the website. This means they have an extensive insurance policy and are bonded and insured to protect your investment. “The USTOA $1 Million Travelers Assistance Program — which requires each member company to set aside $1 million of its own funds specifically to protect consumers’ deposits and payments — is recognized as the strongest of its kind in the industry.”
Companies that are strong partners of mine and provide excellent travel experiences include:
GAdventures (that’s my private group below on the trail to Machu Picchu), Tauck, Intrepid, Globus, CIE Tours, Brendan Vacations, National Geographic Expeditions, VBT, along with numerous cruise lines and river cruise companies.
ARE YOU READY?
If you are still watching and waiting for your next international experience, we can make that bucket list and decide together the best season and year to book the experience. I would, as always, be honored to spend time with you creating the perfect escape. Ready when you are!
Your partner in travel,
Bobbie Murphy, Active Travel Pro