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Planning your holiday travel this year? 5 things you need to know

  • Holiday Travel Tips
  • Renee Martin
  • 5 minutes

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If this were any other year, you’d be excitedly planning your holiday travel right now. Your biggest worry would be airfare and hotel rooms costs! Holiday travel in 2021 promises to be rather different, as most things are during the extraordinary times we live in. The uncertainty brought on by the lingering pandemic can leave you wondering whether it will be safe to travel in November and December 2021.

Holiday travels have always provided the perfect opportunity to catch up with family and friends or unwind with a change of scenery. However, this year’s winter travel poses some rather curious questions – What will holiday travel be like this year? Will airports see the usual holiday madness? Will airfares and hotel costs go up or remain at their current cut-rate prices? Here are some of the most important things you need to know before planning to travel this year.

1.  Book flights before the holiday season starts

More people are planning to travel in 2021. Last year airfares were slashed to the lowest ever rates. This year that’s not likely to happen. Experts recommend that to score lower airfares, you should book your flight at least 40 days ahead. For instance, the likelihood of getting your hands on low-cost tickets decreases as Thanksgiving approaches. You should expect costs to skyrocket as we move closer to Thanksgiving. Similarly, if you’re planning holiday travels in December, right now would be an excellent time to book your ticket. Last-minute bookings can drive prices up.

2.   Research cancellation policies before booking

holiday travel

Knowing the cancellation policies is very important! No one wants to spend months haggling with the airline or hotel to get their refund if they have to cancel their trip. We’re sure wouldn’t! So read their cancellation and refund policies (yes, even the fine print!) thoroughly before you make your holiday booking. Another thing you need to pay attention to is the deadline to cancel and get a full refund. Try to avoid highly restrictive bookings that prohibit changes or charge you for them.

3.   Choose to go off the beaten path

Fewer people might be traveling this year, but that does not mean that popular destinations won’t see crowds. There’s bound to be plenty of people waiting to cut loose but denied the opportunity to do so for more than a year. While this wouldn’t have been a problem any other year, this year, you might want to give the crowds a miss, if you want to play safe. This is especially important if you or any of your family members have health problems that make you more vulnerable to infection. However, it does not mean you have to put your winter travel plans on hold. This year’s holiday travel plans should be all about going off the beaten path and exploring less-popular destinations. Can’t fly abroad? Not to worry – there are so many US cities where you can feel international without traveling abroad.

4.    Examine health and sanitization measures

This is probably something you’ve never given a second thought to unless you’re one of those people who travel with a black light! Jokes apart, this is the right time to be squeamish about health and hygiene. So, go online and research the safety and sanitization measures offered by your airlines, airports you’ll be passing through, and the hotels you plan to stay at.  Check out which airlines are safest to fly on right now, which hotels offer enhanced disinfection/sanitization, and what safety measures you’ll encounter at airports. This will also help you understand what steps you will be expected to follow to prevent the spread of the virus. If any airline, airport, or hotel needs you to wear face-coverings, follow that and do your bit to curb the virus from spreading.

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5.   Be aware of quarantine and testing requirements

Understand what the quarantine and testing requirements are at your destination. Several states and countries have mandated different tests and quarantine requirements. You don’t want to end up spending a week or two of your holidays in quarantine because you landed without getting the mandatory pre-travel COVID-19 test done! So, wherever you intend to spend your holidays, check out the quarantine and testing measures that are in effect at the time you travel.

Whether you’re spending the winter holidays at a ski resort or staying home, there are a few things you can always follow to prevent spreading the virus.


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