Planning to travel somewhere this spring?
The coronavirus global pandemic has shut down most travel, with ongoing travel restrictions from the U.S. State Department and recommendations from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changing plans daily.
Many of the most popular vacation destinations are closed, including Europe, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Mexico— even Las Vegas and the entire state of California in the U.S., plus beaches in most of Florida.
Disney has closed all of its parks worldwide and Universal theme parks are shut down in Florida and California. On March 18, the border between the U.S. and Canada also was closed.
“Policies are changing by the minute,” said Ingrid Ream of Superior Travel, with an office in Fenton. “Almost everything is shut down.”
Cruise lines are all cancelled through April 11, said Ream, and Princess cruises have cancelled until May 10.
There are still options for domestic trips by air or by car, but travel restrictions continue to tighten daily. Most airlines have announced major reductions in flights.
“Most people are getting vouchers for future trips,” Ream said. “The important thing now is to re-book your trip soon. If you wait, you’ll find lots of dates unavailable, plus higher prices. There are so many sales on right now, you can take advantage of great deals.”
“We were supposed to leave on March 28 for a seven-day cruise,” said Mary Ann Brostek, 66, of Fenton, who cruises every year with her daughter, son-in-law and 6-year-old grandson.
We’ll re-schedule our trip with the cruise credit from Royal Caribbean. It’s good through Dec. 31, 2021.”
A lot of the work being done by local travel agents is in the urgency of re-scheduling clients who had trips planned in March and April.
Lisa Essett of Travel Brokers in Fenton was working Wednesday to take care of travelers who arrived at Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, on the same day the country was closed to travel. “Now we have to assist in getting them home,” she said. “It’s a great case for using a travel agent, so we can get you ‘unstuck’ when you are stuck somewhere and need to get home.”
Whatever your own travel situation this spring, one thing is clear: it will likely change tomorrow. “Contact your travel agent even if you’re traveling domestically,” Essett said. “What’s going on today doesn’t mean it will be happening tomorrow.”
Should I stay or should I go?
Ask yourself these questions:
• Is COVID-19 spreading in the area where you’re going?
• Will you or your travel companion(s) be in close contact with others during your trip?
• Are you or your travel companion(s) at higher risk for a more severe illness if you get COVID-19?
• Do you have a plan for taking time off from work or school, in case you are told to stay home for 14 days for self-monitoring or if you get sick with COVID-19?
• Do you live with someone who is older or has a serious, chronic medical condition?
• Is COVID-19 spreading where I live when I return from travel?