Planning to travel in the age of COVID-19? Here are some tips from the American Society of Travel Advisors

palm trees.jpg
Posted at 4:00 PM, Mar 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-08 18:00:11-05

DENVER – Nearly 90% of people in the U.S. are planning a summer trip this year, and most are planning not just one, but two.

That’s according to the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA), who said as more people get one of the three currently available COVID-19 vaccines, traveling has become top of mind.

Pleas from federal, state and health officials about traveling when more virulent variants of the novel coronavirus are spreading across the U.S., with at least one of these variants expected to become the dominant strain when spring arrives notwithstanding, the latest figures from the ASTA show about a quarter of travelers are ready to travel as soon as they get the vaccine or shortly after that.

And while domestic travel is leading the way for getaway destinations (think coastal towns, beaches, mountains and national parks), people in general aren’t yet ready to board a plane and travel abroad, according to the ASTA.

For those who are though, the ASTA had the following advice:

Make sure you’re working with a professional travel advisor or that you understand the new rules when it comes to traveling abroad, said Erika Richter, the director of communications for the ASTA. One of those new rules? Travelers returning to the U.S. must be able to verify they’ve received a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to them returning home.

Richter said that rule, in particular, is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

Another thing she advises those looking to travel – not just to another country but to other states within the U.S. – is to understand the COVID-19 protocols at the destination that you’re traveling to.

“Take a look at the hotel’s website, see what their guidelines are for cleaning. Make sure you’re looking into those safety protocols,” Richter said.

At the onset of the pandemic, Richter said travel advisors were getting many calls about people whose flights had been canceled, which is why she suggests those looking to travel out-of-state look into the cancellation and rebooking policies for all those destinations they’re traveling to.

If you’re waiting to travel later this year: “Plan early and plan with an expert,” Richter said. “You can only do your first post-pandemic vacation once. Don’t D-I-Y your first post-pandemic vacation. Don’t do it.”

Most importantly, she advises those looking to travel to stay up to date with COVID-19 restrictions and protocols as things will continue to change for the next several months, adding people should continually be looking at the WHO and CDC websites for guidance on travel.

“Making sure that you’re up to date with those changes is going to be really important,” she said.