For so many people who love to travel, it’s been a tough 12 months since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. While vaccines give us hope the crisis will ease, traveling today still requires careful planning. COVID-19 is a factor in booking flights and making other travel arrangements. Here are some important considerations:

Check requirements to travel destinationsCurrently, a number of countries and even selected states within the U.S. require that you can prove a negative COVID-19 test in the past 72 hours in order to enter. Importantly for those planning travel overseas, you will be required to get a COVID-19 test coming from most countries in order to return home.

To this point, being vaccinated generally does not alter the requirement to be tested first. If you’ve contracted COVID-19 within three months of your trip and are no longer symptomatic, you may not be required to get a test to re-enter the U.S. You’ll want to take the time to explore all of the rules for your intended destination.

Take note of airline cancellation policiesThe current environment increases the chance you will have to alter your plans at the last minute or sooner. Many airlines today offer greater flexibility to deal with cancellations and changes than was the case prior to COVID-19. Be sure to check with your carrier to understand their rules. While you may not be able to collect a refund, many airlines will allow cancellations and apply the cost you paid toward re-booking a different flight at another time or offer a voucher for future travel. As you make plans, consider your ability or willingness to fly again on the same airline in the future in order to take advantage of this flexibility.

Reservations for accommodationsMajor hotel chains and even some services that allow you to reserve private rooms or properties may be more lenient these days when it comes to potential refunds. Again, it’s important to check the terms of your reservation before you lock it in to know whether you face any costs if you are forced to cancel or cut your trip short.

Travel insuranceGiven the added flexibility to rebook flights and cancel hotel reservations, that aspect of travel insurance may be less important today than was the case prior to COVID-19. Yet, some form of travel insurance may make sense, and medical coverage can be particularly important for overseas travel. Be aware that typical trip insurance won’t include coronavirus as a “covered reason” for cancellation. That may require a “cancel for any reason” policy. Be sure to understand the terms of the policy before you go.

Staying statesideGiven the complications associated with airline and overseas travel, you might prefer car travel in the coming months. It can help limit your contact with larger groups of people and most large chain hotels put an emphasis on providing a safe environment. If you plan to vacation in the U.S. and have flexibility with time, going over-the-road may prove to be a simpler option.

Ellie Tobin Stubbs is a financial adviser with Ameriprise Financial Services Inc. in Barre.

You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.