Should I Book My Vacation Now?
As countries slowly start reopening, you can’t resist planning your next getaway. Being on lockdown probably affected your wanderlust to explore. So, should you be booking your next trip now? With travel providers offering unbelievable deals and travel destinations fine-tuning their social distancing practices, the timing might be right to book your next trip. Here’s what you need to look out for when planning your next getaway.
One concern returning to travel is, “What if there is another wave of the coronavirus?” Travelers are paying more attention than ever to cancellation policies of transportation, accommodation, and tourism activity companies. Cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean recently extended its cancellation policy to allow customers to cancel their cruises up to 48-hours in advance through September 1st. Walt Disney World announced a phased reopening including an extension to its own cancellation policy through October 3rd. Delta Airlines has extended their rebooking policy beyond the standard, up to two months. With flexible cancellation policies, you can book your trip with added confidence.
Now is a great time to review the airline rules and recommendations that you may have breezed through when booking past flights. At the time of this article, several airlines now require masks for the duration of their flights. If you are a frequent flier that enjoys airport lounge access, we also recommend checking to see if the lounge is still open. Many of the lounges have closed due to flight routes being reduced. The lounges that are open have new food and beverage offerings in lieu of the popular buffets.
In terms of getting through the airport, it’s important to be patient. Many airlines are shifting to an online-only or kiosk self-serve check-in procedure. Allow extra time to get through security due to reduced staff availability. In the United States, TSA is implementing several new strategies to reduce the spread of germs:
- Passengers are asked to keep their boarding pass, rather than passing it to the agent to be scanned
- The liquid rules have changed for hand sanitizer - passengers are now allowed to travel with 12 oz of hand sanitizer in their carry-on luggage
- Security bins may be removed, depending on the airport
Overall, allow for extra time to make it through all of the pre-flight requirements.
Many airlines and hotels have stepped up their sanitation processes while popular tourist destinations are reducing capacity to align with the social distancing rules. Before you travel, check out our blog full of tips on how to travel and sanitize effectively. It is recommended to continue to wash your hands routinely or use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
There may be a recommended self-quarantine time based on your departing or arrival location (country or state). Florida, for example, requires a 14-day quarantine for all New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut residents traveling to Florida. For international travel, several countries are offering COVID-19 tests at the airport to bypass the quarantine period. Iceland and Austria are examples of countries actively distributing tests to visitors. Haiti is requiring a negative COVID-19 test to enter their country, while Antigua and Barbuda are working towards requiring rapid COVID-19 tests before even boarding an aircraft to their islands. Japan has already implemented rapid COVID-19 testing for visitors from widely infected countries, such as the United States and China.
Right now, it does not seem as if there is a blanket set of expectations for testing requirements, so it’s important to prepare for your trip and research the rules prior to your departure. Researching the requirements and preparing for what to expect for your next trip can make a huge difference in relieving stress and getting you to your destination safely. No matter why you’re traveling, make sure to protect your health and trip investment with one of IMG’s travel insurance plans.
If you have questions about which plan may be best for you, you can compare plans and get a quote or contact our Sales Service Center at +1 (317) 655-4500 and the team will be happy to assist you.
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