With so much uncertainty in the world, thinking about getting back into travel can be stressful. Our AAA Travel Experts are here to answer some of the most common and important questions to help you get back out into the world safely and with confidence.
Where am I allowed to travel?
Unless your travel is deemed essential, there could potentially be restrictions. In general, to find out which states and countries are open to travelers, you can check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website under Travel Recommendations by Destination. It will highlight risk assessment levels and give you necessary details for key information.
Where can I get tested for Covid-19?
In many cases, it can be necessary to get tested before and after arrival to your destination and upon return. Testing costs and coverage are based on your current health insurance. Check with your health provider for more clarification. To find testing sites in in New York, contact the NYS Department of Health. To find sites convenient to your travel destination, first and foremost, find out from local government or embassy what is required on the other end. Then, get contact info for testing sites. Some places may have testing sites upon arrival. Of course, if you are feeling sick and/or displaying symptoms, we recommend delaying travel.
What are the quarantine rules for traveling?
As of early 2021, proof of negative results within a certain window and temperature checks are required at time of arrival at your destination. Some places may require a quarantine prior to travel and some may require additional quarantine upon arrival. Check with local government or embassy for what is required. The CDC also recommends self-quarantining for a period of time upon return.
What if I already have been vaccinated?
While vaccination does give you a bit more freedom, we recommend that before you travel you check with your AAA Travel Agent and/or the destination itself for the current guidelines.
What is a realistic booking window?
This really depends on your level of comfort. We always recommend booking in advance to get the best packages and benefits. Although, if you feel more comfortable waiting to book, trips can be arranged closer to time of travel date. Sometimes, last minute deals are still available.
How can I lower my travel risk?
If you are looking to travel but want the safest way to lower your risk, we recommend a drive trip. Whether it’s in your own car or a rental, getting from here to there with lowest exposure would be driving yourself. Airlines are being proactive, removing availability for middle seats to allow for physical distancing as well as updating air filtration systems. Additionally, most transportation and hospitality providers have also increased their protocols for cleaning and disinfecting. Plus, technology has expanded as far as contactless room keys, boarding passes, and event or attraction admission. Another way to lower your exposure would be to avoid crowds and make sure you are equipped with proper PPE.
What do I have to pack?
Squeezing everything into your suitcase was already hard enough, but now you need to make sure you leave room for your PPE. Pack plenty of face masks that cover both your nose and your mouth. Include travel size hand wipes and sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol. Utilize packing cubes and antimicrobial pouches to limit the amount of contact your personal items have with foreign surfaces. We recommend that you wash your hands whenever possible. Look into ultraviolet sanitizing boxes for high touch items such as masks, keys, credit cards and phones.
Can I travel with pets or other animals?
According to the CDC, it is still unknown how differently animals could be affected by Covid19, but it appears that it can be spread from people to animals in some situations. Increased restrictions have been put into place for animals allowed on transportation such as airplanes. Contact your veterinarian for recommendations.
Is there travel coverage I can purchase should something unexpected occur?
Travel Protection has always been recommended by AAA Travel Agents. Whether concerned about protecting yourself or your investment, having travel protection can cover you for things like trip cancellations, trip interruption, lost luggage, medical and more. One of the most popular policies during the pandemic has been TripAssist Family Care Plan with Cancel Anytime by Allianz. This plan will give you the peace of mind that you can cancel if you choose not to go or can’t. Reimbursements can vary depending on your reason for cancelation. It is always better to be prepared!
Always check with travel providers and destinations prior to departure for the most up to date information. When you are ready to start planning a trip or if you have questions about upcoming travel, contact a AAA Travel Agent. We are here to help guide you every step of the way! Plus, check and make sure your passports are valid for six months from your return travel date. If you need to renew your passport, don't forget that as a AAA member, you have access to discounted or complimentary passport photos depending on your level of membership.
John Kusek is the Manager of the AAA Hudson Valley Travel Agency.