After a long wait, vaccinated Americans can once again travel to European Union countries. Countless other top destinations – Maldives, Iceland, Mexico – have also re-opened to tourism. Even cruises are back on the vacation menu.
There’s no doubt about it: travelers have more options in 2021 than they did in 2020.
But we can’t ignore the fact that COVID is still among us, which means so is the lingering possibility of costly and frustrating travel disruptions. The world is more open, but many travelers are still approaching travel with caution.
The good news is, if you’re ready to get back out there, it is possible to do it safely, responsibly, and all while protecting yourself in case of sudden changes to travel policies. Thousands of Americans have already ventured out this summer, and bookings are up for fall and winter. As you make plans to join them, here are 3 ways you can navigate travel in the time of COVID:
Purchase Travel Insurance
Comprehensive travel insurance was a good idea before the pandemic. Now, purchasing it should be one of your top pre-trip priorities. A small, one-time investment in travel insurance will protect you against a range of one-the-road headaches.
Trip cancellation due to weather, illness, or simply changing your mind – you can buy insurance that will reimburse you for any of these circumstances. It will also step in to assist if your luggage is delayed or lost, if your trip is delayed or disrupted, or if you need medical care at your destination, or a medical evacuation (which can cost 100K+ without insurance!).
Even if you never end up using your insurance (and we hope you never have to), the peace of mind it provides is well worth the short-term cost, especially during these ever-changing times.
There is a wide range of plans available, but we’ve found the Preferred option through AIG Travel Guard provides the right mix of cost-to-benefit for the majority of our clients.
Monitor Official Tourism Websites
One of the new realities of travel in time of COVID is that policies, procedures, and requirements are all subject to change. And quickly. Don’t need a negative COVID test to enter country X? You might tomorrow.
Thankfully, there are two excellent resources to help you stay on top of the latest developments. The first is the official tourism website of your destination. These are generally run by the government (usually the Ministry of Tourism or other authority), and, in addition to providing excellent information about all things local, they will display the most accurate and up-to-date information about travel requirements and/or restrictions.
Here’s the official tourism website of the Maldives as an example: https://www.tourism.gov.mv/ You’ll notice COVID travel information is posted right on the homepage.
Another important monitoring tool is the U.S. Department of State’s website dedicated to travel information for Americans abroad. Here you’ll find critical details about requirements for entry, vaccine or other medical requirements, weather alerts, and a host of other useful information on every single country in the world. You can even register in advance of your trip to receive emergency alerts in case of natural disaster or other disruption.
Focus on Your Domestic Travel Bucket List
A lot of COVID travel stress stems from worrying that you might find yourself stranded in a foreign country. While many people have traveled internationally without incident during this time, we understand the concern. And we have the solution: checking off your domestic travel bucket list.
It’s likely there are places right here at home that you’ve been meaning to visit. A beach escape to the U.S. Virgin Islands, a luxe fall getaway in New England, a ski trip to the Rockies, National Park adventure travel, or a tour of the Bourbon trails in Kentucky – now is the time!
With domestic travel, there are likely fewer COVID-related requirements and restrictions to tangle with (although, you still need to stay up on local regulations – Hawaii for example has specific entry requirements), and there’s no risk of getting caught outside of the U.S. with an illness or other travel complication. Take advantage of this time to explore (and financially support!) incredible destinations right here at home.
Enlist Expert Help from Lugos Travel
And here’s a bonus tip #4: the most stress-free way to travel in today’s environment is to hire a travel professional to plan and execute your dream vacation. Our dedicated team will track the changing travel landscape for you, pivot in case of disruptions, and ensure everything from start to finish runs smoothly.
You’re ready to get back out there, and we can make it happen. Contact us here to get started.