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Feeling Stir Crazy and Starved for Sun? Take These Steps for Safe Travel

You might be hoping the end of February will be a turning point from this cold, snowy Winter, but chances are were in for many more chilly days in March. So if you want to travel south in hopes of sunny skies and turquoise seas here are some tips from Angela Armutcu from Rehoboths Jetset Travel.

Covids still here so make sure youre crystal clear on travel rules for your destination, and that your passport wont expire for at least 6 more months.

The good news is that if youre vaccinated against Covid and have a valid card to prove it, youre able to travel throughout the Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Puerto Rico, the Mexican Caribbean and the Dominican Republic. That doesnt mean itll be easy though. All of these destinations including individual Virgin Islands  have their own regulations, which are changing by the day. 

It can be more difficult getting back into the U.S. than getting out, Angela says. In a lot of places you have to take a Covid test within 24 hours of departure to return. Some of the large resorts offer testing on-site shortly before you fly home, and it might even be possible to get tested at the airport. But please make sure you know exactly when and where you can get that test, and make sure the result will be accepted when youre ready to take off or land.

Another point thats especially relevant to folks who are retired is that a positive test might delay your return. Which is going to be less of a problem if you dont have to be back in the office on Monday morning, but another hurdle if youre still in the workforce.

And take a good look at your passport! It has to be valid for at least six months following the expected date of your return.

Make sure you know which Covid test results are valid for travel, and eliminate any risk that you wont get your results back in time to fly.

Different airlines also have different rules for which tests are valid (e.g. home tests verses those done in a lab) and for when you have to take the test to ensure a negative result will be accepted. Many also have different rules for when you can take the test in order to fly out verses when you want to return. If youre flying American for example (as of February 27), you have to take the test within one day of leaving the U.S. and within three days (72 hours) to return.

Simply put, you need a detailed checklist:

  1. When do I have to take the Covid test in order to fly out?
  2. What proof of vaccination status will I need to show to board the plane and when I land?
  3. When do I need to take the test in order for its results to be accepted when I return to the U.S.? 
  4. Where will I be able to take that test?

Work with a travel agent to simplify the process, secure your plans, and save money.

Yes, the Internet has revolutionized travel, with various Web sites enabling you to book airfare, hotels, package deals and tours directly. And although its certainly possible to come upon a fantastic price at just the right time, youre apt to save more money and gain more control if you work directly with a travel agent. 

Reason one: In most cases reputable travel agents arent paid by the consumer. Their income comes from the industry, including airlines, hotel companies, tour companies and cruise lines, so working with one wont make your trip more expensive. In fact youll probably save money since the agents have access to many, many more special pricing options than those that are discoverable by individual consumers.

Reason two: The agents can do the legwork to ensure youre Covid-compliant and secure your plans. Yes, you can usually find the testing and vaccination requirements for airlines, hotels, resorts and local governments at their web sites, but itll probably take a lot of time and might make you a little nutty given how quickly the rules change. A travel agent will do all of this for you, again without charge.

Know where to go for Covid tests which are becoming easier to find.

Health care providers in Delaware have done a terrific job in responding to the need for widespread Covid vaccinations and testing. If you still need to get vaxxed, visit this site to for a list of locations, including pharmacies, hospitals and community health centers and clinics .

It's also become a lot easier to get Covid tests and ensure you have the results in time to fly (again, based on the requirements of the airline you choose). Aspira Health is particularly adept, although you might have to pay more if you want to ensure you have your result within the allotted window of time determined by your airline.

You can also find many testing sites through Curative. Just go to the site and tap in your zip code to find out where you can get tested, and which types of tests are offered. Before you book your test though, make sure the results will be accepted by your airline and wherever youre traveling to.

Yes, all of this can be a hassle, but if you plan carefully and turn to travel agents for support you really can jet away to a special place in the sun and create a few more memories to make the best of your active adult lifestyle.