Things to know before you travel – Delta variant and more with WGRZ Buffalo

With vaccinations on the rise and mortality rates related to Covid-19 going down in Europe and other parts of the world, many people are making plans to travel this summer and beyond. But experts say the quickly circulating Delta variant is a new concern for travelers, particularly those who are unvaccinated. The European Union said on June 18 that the United States would be added to its “safe list” of countries, a decision that should allow even unvaccinated visitors from the U.S. (who can provide proof of a negative coronavirus test) to enter its 27 member states for nonessential travel. These countries, however, can impose their own restrictions and requirements for entry. 

So if you’re wondering how the variant will affect your travel plans, what do you need to know before booking a flight?

So far, the variant, first identified in India – has spread to more than 80 countries as of June 16 – so if you’re out and about this summer, chances that you’re going to encounter the Delta variant, either in the U.S. or in Europe. But if you are fully vaccinated, particularly with a two-dose vaccine, there is really need to be worried. Also the C.D.C. has a global variant map – that shows the countries where different variants have been identified. It lists the risk level by country – but you may ALSO want to look online on the – national health department website –  for the country you are planning to visit –  to get more specific data. 

Are there any precautions should travelers take?

Rules around testing and requirements to enter another country are evolving – and can CHANGE quickly from one day to the next. Make sure to check the requirements for your destination country before booking your flight – but also in the days before you travel –  make sure you are following the most updated rules. In terms of insurance, I have mentioned before that there are air medical transport programs out there like MEDJET that, if you are hospitalized while traveling, will arrange medical transportation to your hospital at home. Most travel insurance only evacuates to a nearby hospital, while they get you moved home. MEDJET added Covid-19 transport benefits last year, for domestic travel and international destinations as they opened up.  

With travel returning, are there any deals that people should be looking out for? 

There are but keep in mind  it’s going to be harder to find good prices as more people get vaccinated. The prices for hotels, rental cars and flights are going up. Look early for flights and set up email or text alerts so you can see when prices change, and don’t forget to bundle. When you make your flight arrangements, you’ll usually get a notification that says – would you like to add a hotel or would you like to add car rental, click those buttons and see what kind of bundled deals you can get. Also avoid the weeks around the July Fourth holiday and – if possible – start your trip planning by first checking on which destinations are cheap, before you decide where to go.

Should travelers avoid flying this summer? Are we going to see another summer of the ‘road trip’ being the most popular mode of transport?

I myself have started taking some great road trips in the northeast while the weather is good!  A few of my recent favorite stay-cations included Gloucester beach in Massachusetts, where I stayed at the gorgeous Beauport Hotel on the water, which boasts a breathtaking rooftop pool and fabulous restaurant. I also visited the charming town of Northport in Long Island, where I stayed at the quaint Harbor Rose B&B overlooking the harbor. If you do want to fly this summer, there’s couple things to keep in mind. Look at alternative airports in the same areas to save money. Don’t forget to use miles which may have built up during the pandemic, and utilize those credit reward cards, which may offer perks.

Beauport Hotel, Gloucester Beach MA

Summer Travel on Newsmax

It’s been over one year since Americans were told to cancel their travel plans due to the coronavirus pandemic, and there’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel for those pining for a getaway. With vaccinations mounting in the U.S. just in time for warm weather, many will be venturing out further than their backyards for the busy summer travel season. So what does this summer hold for travelers?

1. Can we expect any good deals…what destinations will be the most popular this summer? 

Despite the influx of travelers booking trips, there are still deals to be had and there are some clear trends emerging…

Florida – Has been a popular travel spot throughout the pandemic with its warm weather and outdoor activities – and it continues to trend in flight bookings this summer. I recently visited Captiva’s gorgeous South Seas Island Resort, located right off of Florida’s Gulf Coast. The resort’s paradise appeal goes without question situated on two-and-a-half miles of powder-white beaches in a destination that offers world-renowned sailing and fishing. Right now they are offering their Advanced Purchase Promotion, where you save up to 20% on your hotel reservation by at least 30 days in advance.  

Puerto Rico and Hawaii – Puerto Rico is the third most-booked destination for summer 2021, according to Priceline, with Orbitz naming it the most popular search destination for those living on the East Coast. Hawaii equallyseems to be surging due to its far-off feel – Oahu and Maui ranked 5th and 14th, respectively.according to Priceline’s 15 most booked destinations for summer 2021.

2. What about city breaks, or urban entertainment hotspots – are these due to have come-back this summer?

Hotel prices dropped during the pandemic in urban environments more than rural ones, due to the exodus from crowded cities during the pandemic, but now is the time to grab deals on city breaks before prices rise again.

Los Angeles – Despite what some may think, every sector of the visitor experience from museums and restaurants to theme parks and outdoor live events is open in Los Angeles. This spring, a bunch of new and exciting hotels will open like the Fairmont Century Plaza and the Downtown L.A. Proper. There are tons of brand-new restaurants opening throughout the city, concerts and football games are being held at the SoFi Stadium, and The Music Centre in downtown LA is hosting live performances. If you head to you’ll find some great deals on hotels, restaurants and more, good thru June 30th. 

New York and  Las Vegas – There’s nothing quite like spring in New York and given that the average daily hotel rates in the city were under $150 this March, according to Priceline, travelers are jumping on the opportunity to see the city open up. Also travel deals to Las Vegas from major air travel hubs have plenty of travelers opting to kick off their return to Sin City, the second most-booked summer destination on Priceline this year.

3. What other changes can travelers expect when they fly, specifically when it comes to insuring their trips this summer?The pandemic changed how airlines and hotels handle flexibility, with many eliminating change and cancellation fees altogether. 

In turn, many travel insurance companies also specifically added Covid medical and trip interruption or flight reimbursement coverage. You’ve got air medical transport programs out there like Medjet that, if you are hospitalized while traveling, will arrange medical transportation to your hospital at home. Most travel insurance only evacuates to a nearby hospital, while they get you moved home. They added Covid-19 transport benefits last October, for domestic travel and international destinations like Mexico, Costa Rica and the Caribbean as they opened up. In general, how people insure their trips and protect themselves, may change for good, after this past year.