HARTFORD, CT (March 4, 2021) – For the first time since the stay-at-home order went into effect last March, local AAA travel advisors are seeing an increase in new travel bookings.
“Despite many COVID-related restrictions still in place, we are seeing consumer confidence is growing in tandem with the vaccine roll out and excited travelers are beginning to make plans,” says Dianne Bourgoin, spokesperson for AAA Travel. “Some are making plans for the immediate or near future, while others are beginning to book travel six months or more down the road.”
AAA is anticipating that the positive trend toward travel will continue as eligibility for the vaccine expands and travel restrictions ease.
“For those who do choose to travel, now more than ever it is critical to plan ahead and take all necessary precautions to ensure the safest, most enjoyable experience,” Bourgoin added.
Travel restrictions and guidelines continue to change so AAA recommends planning ahead by checking CDC’s state and local health department guidance and AAA’s COVID-19 restrictions map along your route and at your destination prior to leaving.
AAA encourages anyone considering travel to seek the advice of a trusted travel advisor, well-versed in the various travel options that will meet budgetary and time constraints and able to provide the latest pandemic safety information.
The 'new normal'
Travelers should anticipate a 'new normal' that may require screening for COVID, reduced capacity in lodging and on cruises/tours and new safety protocols, including the wearing of masks.
AAA offers the following tips for those planning to travel:
- Seek the advice of a trusted travel advisor – travel advisors can guide you through planning, outline options and offer insight into openings, closures, policies and what to expect along the way to minimize surprises and maximize positive experiences.
- Follow all CDC travel recommendations which may include taking a viral COVID-19 test 1 to 3 days before your trip.
- Refer to AAA’s COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map and TripTik.AAA.com for the latest state and local travel restrictions and to help determine which rest stops, gas stations, restaurants and hotels are open along your route if driving to your destination.
- Check the state and local health department where you are, along your route, and where you are going. State and local governments may have travel restrictions in place, including testing requirements, stay-at-home orders and quarantine requirements upon arrival.
- If traveling internationally by air, you will be required to produce a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID‑19 before boarding a flight back to the United States. Travelers who don’t provide this to their airline will be denied boarding. There are no test requirements for domestic travel at this time.
- Abide by all requirements for face coverings on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within or out of the United States, and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and train/bus stations. Outside of these transportation requirements, states—and some establishments—have mandates and/or restrictions on where and when masks must be worn.
- Consistent use of face masks combined with social distancing (at least 6 feet) and regular handwashing are the best ways to lower your risk of contracting COVID-19. Be sure to pack face masks, disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer and a thermometer to help protect and monitor your health. Also pack water and extra snacks to reduce the need to stop along your trip.
- Prior to any hotel stay, call ahead to inquire about precautions being taken to protect guests. Ask about social distancing protocols like capacity reductions in common spaces and hotel staff requirements to wear masks at all times. Also be sure to understand what amenities are and are not available to guests—room service, fitness center, restaurants, etc. For extra peace of mind, wipe down surfaces using disinfecting wipes. In a hotel, that includes door handles, remotes, faucets and light switches.
- If renting a car, ask what has been done to clean the vehicle. Hertz, for example, has introduced Hertz Gold Standard Clean, an enhanced vehicle disinfectant and sanitization process. For extra peace mind, use disinfecting wipes to wipe down door handles, steering wheels, shifters and control panels.
If you are driving to your destination, before you head out, be sure your vehicle is ready for the trip to avoid a breakdown along the way. Make sure your vehicle is road trip ready; take it to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. If you do require assistance, AAA makes it easy to get help—by phone or text (1-800-AAA-HELP), app or online.