GREENSBORO, N.C. — Nations like Canada intend to reopen their borders to travelers in the coming weeks, cruises are setting sail, and more passengers are flying once again as people grow more comfortable with traveling during the pandemic.
A lot of questions still linger about mask policies, what's different for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers, and where can people travel now?
2 Wants to Know spoke with Ginny Maurer, with Cruise Planners Travel, about traveling during COVID.
What changes are happening in the travel industry?
- More locations are opening up - much of Europe, Canada, Canadian waters, South America, Africa and many more - more than 75 countries
- Travel requirements are being softened for those vaccinated
- The requirements vary from location to location and can even be influenced by where a connecting flight happens.
- Requirements are still changing rapidly as still a very fluid situation
- important to note - the airline does not determine the requirements. These are set by the destination but it is up to the airline to enforce them and monitor before you board the flight.
What are the travel trends?
- Bucket list destinations - some being Italy, Iceland and Alaska
- More family travel - reunions and extended families
- Booking further in advance. This is mostly due to availability
- uncertainty - Many people want to go they are just undecided and unsure. All the more reason to reach out to a travel professional to help guide you through the options
What's changing for cruise lines?
Cruising out of U.S. ports is not approved at this point and cruise lines are working with the CDC to update the Conditional Sail order. Note this is different from the original No sail order.
- Each of these cruise lines is going to be requiring vaccines to sail on a temporary basis while sailing from the foreign ports.
- There will be limited capacity aboard each ship.
- Masks will need to be worn while walking corridors and in lobby areas but while outside, in your stateroom or dining you will not need to wear one.
- Temperature checks will be done periodically. The cruise lines will also take care of the testing required to fly back into the U.S.
Why should I use a travel agent?
Use a travel professional/Book now with a travel advisor
Use a Travel Advisor to ensure you’re not wasting time and money.
While many locations are opening up for travel, protocols are changing rapidly - both internationally and domestically. This involves everything from required testing, documentation, written authorizations, required travel insurance, to mention just a few of the many items to be considered with each destination. There's a lot of misinformation or misunderstood information out there.
A travel advisor is there to help you each and every step of the way from the beginning of the planning phase until you actually return. They are the professional. You are not working with some random 800 number or website. You have an actual person that knows your likes, dislikes and every detail of the trip along with what is necessary to make it as smooth as possible.
There are many people who may not be comfortable traveling right now - as a travel advisor, we simply discuss their level of comfort and options that fit within that level and help make it happen.
Should I wait to book a trip?
There is a huge pent-up demand for travel and most resorts, hotels, National Parks and cruises are operating at limited capacity. Ginny suggests booking as early out as possible, even into 2022 and 2023. Travel agents would also consider refundable deposits and what is called "an exit strategy" in case things change. This allows travelers to lock in rates now because when supply is low, and demand is high, pricing will increase. This is already an issue with summer and fall bookings.