GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — For the first time in a year, more people are becoming comfortable traveling again. April has seen some of the highest travel numbers since the start of the pandemic.
“We definitely went through some times where I don’t think people were traveling pretty much at all. The last couple of months it’s definitely picked up quite a bit,” said Nicole Kelly, owner of Chic Travel Boutique.
Between physical safety protocols, travel bans and quarantine requirements, there has been a lot to keep up with this past year. Kelly said even though more people comfortable traveling again, the rules are still changing all the time.
“It’s definitely been a challenge for me and my travelers. There has been so many different regulations and different things that have been changing in the travel world and just kind of managing and figuring out where people can go, the different regulations that airlines are having, that resorts are having, that hotels are having — everywhere is different,” she explained.
That means every single destination that her clients are interested in requires research on her end to keep up with the rules and regulations that often change weekly and sometimes even daily.
She said one of the things now that many people might not know is that some places are requiring you to get tested before you travel. Kelly encourages scheduling those appointments in advance to ensure you’re able to get it done with enough time.
“Usually, it’s 72 to 75 hours prior to departure. Sometimes you have to get re-tested once you get into the country that you are traveling to. A lot of countries are requiring people to quarantine for X amount of time. So, it just really depends. Everywhere is so different. Every single country has different regulations right now,” she said.
Kelly believes as more people get vaccinated, we will see even higher travel numbers as those people start feeling more comfortable going places again. Her biggest piece of advice if you are planning a trip is to get travel insurance.
“It’s an extra expense, so a lot of people kind of overlook it. At least in the past I’ve overlooked it pre-COVID,” she said. “You never know what’s going to happen and that goes for anywhere that people are going to want to be traveling in the upcoming months.”
Despite the challenges of the past year, Kelly is optimistic for the future of the travel industry in the upcoming year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people who are fully vaccinated from COVID-19 can travel safely within the U.S.
People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Those people are less likely to get and spread the virus, however, international travel poses additional risks and even fully vaccinated travelers are at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading new variants.
During travel, you should still wear a mask, avoid crowds and stay socially distanced from anyone who is not traveling with you.
The CDC says you do not need to get tested or self-quarantine if you are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past three months. You should still follow all other travel recommendations.
If you’re not fully vaccinated, you should get tested one to three days before your trip and while you’re traveling, wear a mask, avoid crowds and stay socially distanced. After you return, you should get tested within three to five days and self-quarantine for a full seven days. If you don’t get tested, the center recommends you self-quarantine for 10 days.