The last two times I posted about what you needed to know about travel planning, we were at the height of the pandemic when everything was closed and we were only thinking about our next vacations. Now, the world is opening up and a travel boom is happening. This doesn’t mean we are at pre-pandemic travel planning – planning has taken on a different look and there are some things to consider when booking your next trip.

Here are 10 things you must know when planning your next vacation now.

Book as early as possible – I realize that if you are booking now for travel this summer, it’s not because you wanted to wait until the last minute, but because there was so much uncertainty surrounding travel up until now.  But, if you are planning to skip the summer vacation this year and wait until the fall or later, don’t wait to start planning.  We are booking into 2022 and 2023 and you want to book early to take advantage of any deals or specials.  The longer you wait, the more expensive your vacation will be.  Remember – the early bird gets the worm (or the vacation).

Have passport, will travel

Travel restrictions and requirements – More and more countries are opening up each week. Having said that, keep in mind that each country still has its own entry requirements and it’s important to understand them all. Here is a good list of each country and its requirements as of May 18, 2021.  Within the United States, Hawaii is still under strict restrictions, but they are being updated often.

There is a car rental shortage – Car rental companies were forced to sell off large portions of their fleets to stay afloat during the pandemic, and have yet to rebuild them. As a result, it is becoming harder and harder to find a car to rent and when you do, you will find that prices have skyrocketed. When you find a rental with a price you can live with, consider prepaying for it instead of paying at the counter. Doing this will increase your chances that you will have a car available when you pick it up.

Cruising – The cruise lines are inching closer to restarting operations, but they are still fighting an uphill battle with the CDC and the conditions they must fulfill to resume cruises. The three major lines – Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean – are all optimistic, however, that they will be sailing before the end of the summer. If you are dying to get on a ship, consider booking a cruise sailing towards the end of the year or in 2022.

Vaccines – While it is not mandatory for anyone to get a vaccine, you will find that initially, many countries are opening up and loosening restrictions for those who are vaccinated. The European Union has declared that they would welcome vaccinated travelers, though no actual date for that has been set. If you choose not to get a vaccine, be prepared to either not be allowed on a cruise ship or in a particular country, or to have to undergo further testing before being allowed entry. This list will tell you current requirements.

Masks for every occasion

Mask requirements – Many states and localities are loosening their mask requirements and that is awesome. But be aware that many businesses and destinations are still requiring them for the foreseeable future. Make sure you don’t leave your masks at home and always have one on you just in case.

Quarantines – Certain countries are still requiring quarantines, especially if you are not vaccinated. Make sure you take this into account when booking your trip and deciding how long you will be away. You may need to add a few extra days to account for the quarantine if there is one.

The Galapagos’ famed Darwin’s Arch pre-collapse

Book that bucket list trip – The one thing that the pandemic has shown is that nothing is guaranteed. Nature has its way of stepping in and making a mess of things.  It was recently reported that the famed Darwin’s Arch in the Galapagos, a natural bridge that inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution, has collapsed due to erosion, disappointing nature lovers and scientists around the world. Don’t wait until it’s too late to see the sites you have been dreaming of all your life.

Be flexible – While many places are opening up, many resorts and hotels are still operating at reduced capacity.  As result, some amenities such as restaurants and spas may open on a limited schedule. The same goes for many tour operators running excursions and activities.  Be flexible and patient as all of this can change at any time. Along the same lines, you will find increased prices these days, particularly airfare. Be flexible in your travel arrangements and consider flying from alternate airports that may give you better pricing. Your travel advisor will work with you on this.

Never leave home without travel insurance

Insurance – Because we are not at pre-pandemic travel planning yet, and the travel industry is still in flux, it is more important than ever to make sure you invest in travel protection. Many resorts these days are offering some sort of plan for free, but it’s usually just medical coverage. You will want a more comprehensive that includes Cancel for Any Reason coverage.  You are spending thousands on your dream vacation – for just a bit more you can protect that investment.

BONUS TIP – Use a travel advisor!  When it comes to travel planning, my goal is to make sure you are up to date on all the ever-changing regulations, rules, and requirements of the travel industry. I leave nothing to chance and love reading the fine print so all you have to do is enjoy your trip. I take the stress out of planning your dream vacation.

Ready to plan your trip? Give me a call or email me. You can schedule a consultation online as well. I am booking for 2021, 2022 and even 2023 so let’s get started!

Looking for vacation inspiration?  Check out these posts.

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