For most people, just the idea of traveling has been much more taxing than the traveling itself, said Christine Lucas, a travel advisor at Boscov’s Travel in Pottstown.
She attributes that to the COVID vaccination and testing requirements that have impacted the travel industry since the start of the pandemic. But with a decrease in COVID cases leading to an easing of restrictions, things are beginning to change.
That might make you more inclined to want to venture across the U.S. or out of the country.
“It’s much different now and it’s fairly simple,” Lucas said. “A lot of destinations are easing up on their COVID requirements.”
Depending on where you want to go, each destination might have a different set of COVID restrictions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you should get a COVID test no more than three days before you travel domestically.
If you plan to travel as part of a tour or other group, in most cases restrictions will apply.
“Some of these tour companies require you to be fully vaccinated and sometimes even boosted if they want to travel to the national parks, Canadian Rockies, even Niagara Falls,” Lucas said. “Getting a negative COVID test is even necessary to go to some U.S. territories like Puerto Rico and different islands in Hawaii.”
Easiest place to go
Lucas shared what she believes is the easiest place to go if you want to feel assured that your trip will go as planned.
“The easiest places to travel right now are Mexico and the Dominican Republic because they don’t have any vaccination requirements, and you aren’t required to have a negative COVID test,” she said.
However, there will be some things to consider on your return trip.
“When you leave the U.S., no matter where you go outside of the U.S., you have to get tested before you can get back into the U.S.,” she said. “You can’t avoid that unless you stay in the U.S.”
The war in Ukraine is also having an impact on some European travel, Lucas said.
“We have a lot of people cruising, and St. Petersburg, Russia, is very popular, and it’s been removed from the itinerary on different cruise lines just this week and last week,” she said.
Travelers are getting notifications from cruise lines altering their itineraries for Northern Europe.
“Cruise lines give them options to stick with the new itinerary or they can rebook another cruise,” she said. “They are also refunding and offering cruise credits too.”
Lucas said that at this time she would guide customers to the Mediterranean if they want to be more assured their trip won’t get canceled or altered.
“I would have them do something more like Italy or Greece,” she said. “It’s farther removed from Russia and the Ukraine that you hope it’s not going to be affected.”
For those who are fans of cruising but are leery of venturing into situations with large numbers of people indoors, Lucas discussed the sanitization and COVID measures that she said make it a safe option.
“In order to get on the cruise ship, you have to have a negative test as well as be vaccinated,” she said. “The crew is 100% vaccinated, and the passengers are 95% vaccinated, and the 5% that aren’t, are under the age of 5.”
There are some new masking guidelines on cruise ships., Lucas said.
“They were required indoors before but now it’s optional masking,” she said.
Lucas said that masks are still required on any form of public transportation such as airplanes and tour buses.
All-inclusive options, popular among retirees, enable you to stay put at your resort or venture out to explore. (Courtesy of Kampus Productions)
Many clients who are 65 and older gravitate toward all-inclusive options through Boscov’s travel, and Lucas said one of the favorite destinations is Turks and Caicos.
“Aruba is also a big one, and people love Riviera Maya, Mexico and Aruba,” she said. “Mexico is definitely the biggest spot, and affordability is a factor as well.”
Lucas finds that many retirees love to travel by rail in addition to cruises that include some land time.
“They are always asking for rail,” she said. “It’s a way to sit back and relax and take in the scenery.”
She said that Alaska is a huge destination for seniors.
“If you travel by train through the Canadian Rockies or Alaska, you have this panoramic view of everything around you because there are now open dome rail cars,” she said. “They are the two most popular destinations for our seniors.”
Boscov’s Travel follows up with guests to get feedback on their vacations. (Courtesy of Kampus Production)
A day or two after a trip, Boscov’s Travel welcomes customers back and asks them to give feedback if they would like. She shared the resort chain that gets the best reviews with regard to food, service, clientele and COVID policies.
“Some of the best resorts are the AMResorts,” she said. “They consist of resort brands such as Secrets, Breathless, Dream and Zoetry, among others.”
According to Lucas, a benefit of AMResorts is that they will administer your COVID test right at the resort prior to your return to the U. S.
“If you get a positive COVID test you can stay for up to 14 days at no charge,” she said.
At island destinations, you have many options that can feed into a desire to either relax or add some adventure.
“You have the option of chilling at the resort, but can do horseback riding, dolphin encounters, ziplining, ATV riding, jet skiing,” she said. “There are tours at all of these resorts if you’re looking for something to do.”
For more information
Boscov’s Travel has 18 locations, including Pottstown, Wyomissing, Exeter Township and Lancaster.