Travel is back. Several cruise lines are experiencing record bookings. Land tours sales are rising. Vaccinations are making many of us feel safe traveling again.
So why are we getting more questions from our readers wondering if they should travel outside of the US. Over the last couple of months our advice has changed.
Airlines aren’t reliable
First, air reservations have become unreliable. Airlines, especially American Airlines, has been cancelling flights and leaving customers stranded. While it is frustrating when US flights are cancelled, it is worse for overseas flights where re-booking options are more limited. Every customer we’ve booked on an American Airlines flight has experienced cancellations on at least one-leg of their flight. Several have had flights cancelled on both in-bound and out-bound flights. Some have had flights cancelled on either out-bound or in-bound cancelled more than once.
In another example, a family was flying American to Hawaii for a vacation. On the day of departure American notified them of a flight cancellation. American advised them they could put them on flights the next day, which meant the loss of a vacation day on an already short vacation, or they’d accommodate them the same day for an EXTRA $2,000 – that’s just offensive.
This is most problematic when travelers have firm dates for cruises or tours. Cruise passengers are missing cruise departures. Others are getting stuck at the end of their vacation.
Part of the problem for international travel is that the US isn’t allowing many (most) foreign travelers to enter the US. This means the planes between the US and Europe are limited to US residents substantially reducing the airlines expected passenger volumes. Similar restrictions apply to most other countries. With these limitations, the airlines are cutting back their flights to and from the US.
Second, rising case numbers of Covid-19 are raising concerns amongst the traveling public. This is true even among those who are vaccinated. Also, the additional hassles of Covid testing before departure and before returning to the US creates extra anxiety. A positive Covid test means you won’t be allowed to enter many countries, NOR be able to return to the US. If you test positive overseas, you’ll need to make arrangements to quarantine in country until you are cleared by another test. This can be costly are you’ll need to cover your additional hotel and meal expenses until you depart.
Also, many countries are re-imposing vaccination and mask requirements for bars, restaurants and public facilities. For some, this diminishes the vacation experience.
So when we get asked whether it is wise to travel in 2021, we layout these issues so that our clients can make the best decision for themselves. It’s a question of balancing the risk and rewards. If you have questions or concerns, just give us a call.