Traveler beware! But don’t panic | Columnists
Zac Wilson is a Certified Travel Consultant, ASTA Verified Travel Consultant, CLIA Master Cruise Consultant and owner of Daydream Vacations travel agency in Granbury. www.DaydreamVacations.com
Is the trip back? Well, flights are full, resorts are selling out, rental cars are sold out, theme parks have long lines, cruise ships are filling up, so I would say yes.
But has travel returned to what it was before the pandemic? I would say no. In fact, I’d say that if you’re an anxious traveler who worries about inconvenience like delays, cancellations, and other surprises, you might want to wait a bit.
In 2021, I personally enjoyed a Caribbean cruise and a visit to Walt Disney World. In 2022 I lived a week in Budapest, a European river cruise and a trip to Jamaica. As a Travel Advisor, my clients in 2022 have traveled to Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, Caribbean & Europe Cruises, Spain, Portugal, UK, US River Cruises, Jamaica, Bahamas , Saint Lucia and Grenada. We travel!
But our travels have not been without challenges. Although many destinations have relaxed their COVID travel requirements, including the United States no longer requiring a test to return home from an international destination, travelers should be prepared for new challenges.
Air travel is filled with uncertainty. There is a shortage of pilots, air traffic controllers and other support staff which has caused thousands of canceled flights, delays and schedule changes.
With limited flights available and the rising cost of jet fuel, the cost of flying has also increased significantly.
Be prepared for your flight route to change. Download the airline’s app and enable notifications. If your flight is cancelled, quickly line up at the airline counter to be the first to receive help rebooking a new flight; or do it yourself in the app while you wait in line.
For cancellations that don’t have an alternative flight available for a few days, you’ll want to purchase travel insurance. This non-refundable cruise or resort will not refund your money just because the flight was cancelled. That’s what insurance is for.
The availability of rental cars has become a new challenge in many destinations. Hawaii is experiencing low inventory and high prices, sometimes as much as double or even triple pre-pandemic prices. Last-minute trip planners may find themselves without a car rental option. I advise you to book your trip as soon as possible to avoid availability problems.
Be aware of the COVID requirements for your destination. Cruise lines still require the COVID vaccine and a negative COVID test before boarding. Canada has a new ARRIVECAN app which is required for every traveler to create an account and upload health documents before visiting. And carry a face mask wherever you travel; many countries still require masks indoors.
Despite these challenges, travel is back. All my travelers have enjoyed their vacations and say it is worth dealing with the inconvenience to go on a trip. As the Boy Scouts say, “Be prepared.” Have patience, be ready to overcome an obstacle or two and go enjoy your well-deserved vacation.
Zac@DaydreamVacations.com | 817-559-7150