Summer travel tips – The Washington Post

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Travel will be complicated this summer.

It is likely that more Americans will be traveling than at any time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The World Travel and Tourism Council and Oxford Economics project that spending on domestic travel will reach more than $1.1 trillion for this year, exceeding pre-pandemic levels by about 11 percent.

“All indications are that things are going back to the pre-pandemic era of travel this summer,” says Mahmud Khan, professor in the department of hospitality and tourism management at Virginia Tech.

But Khan says the war in Ukraine, high inflation and high gas prices have added uncertainty to the travel landscape, increasing the potential for non-working vacationers to commit vacation.

“Travelers are taking a weak approach to travel as travel restrictions are eased,” says Manny Fernandez, vice president of global operations for FocusPoint International, a global travel assistance company. “They don’t care about the basics of preparing for travel as they did in the pre-pandemic period.”

I’ll be on the road with you this summer: I plan to travel to Turkey, Greece, Ireland and Britain. Hope I don’t embarrass myself. Here’s how you – and I – can avoid the biggest summer travel pitfalls of 2022.

Long wait for reservation. “Some mistakes people are making right now, they’re not planning and booking accommodations or buying flights now, and they’re waiting until the last minute for this deal,” says Amy Jones, a travel consultant in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

But Jones says the deal won’t come this summer. Most hotel rooms and rentals are already close to selling out in areas of high demand. Even if you consider postponing your vacation until October or November, you will still find high occupancy levels.

Failing to find security. “Today, more than ever, security is a major issue,” says Carrie Pasquarello, CEO of Global Secure Resources, a security consultancy. The coronavirus remains a major concern in many places, and some countries still have pandemic restrictions and testing requirements in place.

Pasquarello says anyone traveling this summer needs to dive deep into the health and safety of their destination. This includes research on crime, the risk of contracting the coronavirus, and other potential risks. She recommends starting by searching for your destination on the State Department’s Travel Advice page and checking the coronavirus test requirements on the Sherpa Travel Restrictions Database.

Forget about travel essentials. For many Americans, it’s been a long time since their last vacation. This means that they are a little out of practice when it comes to travel.

The basics are simple, says Rani Cheema, CEO of Cheema’s Travel, a culinary travel agency. Make sure you have at least six months of validity remaining in your passport. “If your passport expires within six months of your departure, you should renew it immediately,” she says. Constantly check your flights, paying close attention to any emails or text messages you receive from your airline. “There is a good chance that your flight has changed due to a lack of crew, pilots, or even seats sold,” she says.

Assuming your plans won’t change. Kimberly Greulich, founder of KG Travel Club, a luxury travel agency, warns that “travel regulations, along with flight and event schedules, remain in flux.” Covid restrictions may look as if they are over, but the effects are still with us.

Greulich also says you shouldn’t assume that all airport or hotel amenities will be available this summer. A labor shortage may mean that restaurants operate reduced hours. Housekeeping service may not be available at the hotel. If there is something to count on at your destination, ask before you arrive.

Ignore the insurance. Travelers often assume that travel insurance or a medical evacuation membership will cover anything that might happen to them. But it might not be — and it’s not the summer to find out. For example, earlier this year, Covac Global, a company that provides coverage for travelers infected with coronavirus while they are away, added a new evacuation requirement to its list: The company must consider an evacuation “medically wise to avoid hospitalization.”

If you rent a car, here are some expert tips: Talk to your insurance company before you leave. Christopher Seabrook, an insurance agent for Country Financial in Atlanta, says travelers often overlook the details of their car policies, specifically whether they have roadside assistance coverage. “In general, your car policy should apply to the rental car while driving within the United States, including the withholding,” he says. “Always read the contract carefully, and ask the rental agent to explain anything if you are not sure.”

Avoid Europe. Kate McCauley, a tourism blogger who lives in Prague, says Americans are needlessly worried about security in Central Europe. “Time and time again I get messages from Americans saying things along the lines of, ‘We are not going to central Europe because of the turmoil right now,'” she says.

Only one problem: “No disturbances. Zero. Prague, Budapest, Krakow [in Poland] And many other cities are operating normally, only with more yellow and blue flags hanging from the windows.” This might be the only area where deals are still available, so you might miss out on an opportunity to save money.

Visiting the wrong place. If you’re still not sure where to go this summer, try a place that just reopened for tourism. This is the advice of Carlos Greider, a remote working expert who blogs about being a digital nomad. He recommends heading to places like Thailand, Vietnam or Indonesia, which recently reopened, rather than destinations like Mexico, which have more lax regulations on epidemics.

“Take advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity this summer to target classic destinations that have recently opened,” says Grider. “You can try it in a fun, uncrowded, welcoming, inexpensive state that probably won’t happen again.”

Prospective travelers should take local and national public health guidance regarding the pandemic into consideration before planning any trips. Health Travel Notice information can be found on the CDC’s interactive map showing travel recommendations by destination and the CDC’s Travel Health Notice web page.

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