While we wait for travel opportunities to open up again, those with adventure in their hearts are still dreaming of their next vacation or getaway. But with all the changes in the world, just what will travel look like in the coming year? No one knows all of the answers to that question and it is a very fluid situation. So, while we hope to give you some insight into changes to the world of travel, some of the information here may not be accurate a week or a month from now.
You will need a U.S. passport to travel outside the U.S. and U.S. territories. The Department of State has cut back like many organizations and companies, and you will experience “significant delays of several months” if you have applied for a new or renewed passport within the last few months. Click here to stay current. You can however cruise with an original birth certificate, though we strongly recommend a U.S. passport any time you are leaving the country.
There are some great rates right now. But buyer beware! Our suggestion is to book refundable rates only. This will cost more, but it is not worth the risk to book anything non-refundable at this time unless you are booking very far out. Make sure you review all change and cancellation policies, or better yet, let your travel agent do that for you.
I went on a cruise on March 3rd to the Bahamas. The care and attention that the crew members took to make sure everything was clean and we were safe was astounding. Once sailings resume, I believe cruise ships will be cleaner than they have ever been, and once the protocols are in place, safer than ever. If you are thinking about booking a cruise, make sure you book with a refundable rate unless you are looking for mid to late 2021 or later. Exactly when cruising will start up again, no one knows. But many of the cruise lines are offering relaxed cancellation and change policies to make it less worrisome to book that cruise.
Since these more intimate ships accommodate a max of 200 people, there is a little less apprehension about river cruising. Still, they will be putting safety and health protocols in place as well. Most European river cruises are suspended through July 31. You can still book many itineraries after that and most companies are offering relaxed cancellation and change policies. When exactly you will be able to sail, again, no one knows for sure right now.
The thought of air travel right now worries me more than going on a cruise ship. We all know that recycled air is not healthy. The airlines and TSA are busy putting protocols in place. You will have to arrive at the airport earlier than usual. Expect to have temperature checks. You will probably have to wear a mask. We strongly recommend you do not book any flights that are non-refundable in the next few months. Check on government restrictions for the destination you are flying to before you book. For instance, travelers entering Alaska are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine in a home or hotel room. Not how you want to start a vacation!
While we expect to be able to start traveling domestically at least, very soon, it will look different. More screening procedures will be in place everywhere from airports to train stations. Masks will be required at many locations. You may encounter closures for attractions you were hoping to visit. Places you like to visit will have crowd capacity limits. Overall, you will need to pack an abundance of patience!
Although these protocols change the way we travel, remember they are there to keep us healthy and are temporary. Remember the adage, “Man Plans, God Laughs”. We will all have to be more flexible in the coming months about our plans but we will travel and we will be able to make those special memories! We may just have to pivot a bit.