COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The travel industry has been among the hardest hit during the pandemic — from airlines, to resorts, and cruise liners.
However, even with COVID-19 restrictions, people are still finding ways to travel and navigate the challenges that come with it.
“There’s always that thought of like, ‘What happens if somebody winds up testing positive?'” admits Matt Ramah of his upcoming trip to Hawaii.
The trip won’t take place until October, meaning plenty can change between now and then.
“We have the time to kind of monitor things and see how the restrictions stuff loosens up as we get closer to it with more people getting vaccinated,” Ramah luckily describes.
Ramah and his wife visited Hawaii just last February. Plans this time around aren’t coming without some additional mental baggage.
“Their strict quarantine process is a pretty big deal when it comes to planning this,” says Ramah.
Time is a luxury that Brandon Gerber and his wife-to-be don’t have as they prepare for a once-in-a-lifetime week in Mexico this March.
“We’re getting married, and this is our honeymoon trip, so at what point do we kind of put our life on hold instead of just dealing with the calculated consequences?” Gerber asks.
There are other questions too for those looking to escape the cold or COVID cabin-fever.
“If I go down to Mexico, can I get back into the United States? Yes, you can,” assures Fred Kerner, a travel agent with Grandview Travel. “The biggest question is safety. Is it safe to go?”
Answering those questions is where experts like Kerner have stepped in to re-assure travelers like Gerber.
“I can’t tell you how many emails that I’ve got that show all the different requirements that are changing almost weekly, or sometimes daily,” says Kerner.
“I’m just relying on the experts as far as the vaccine goes, as far as the travel goes,” says Gerber, who admits using a travel agent relieved their planning burdens.
With safety restrictions varying by location, the CDC now requires COVID testing before international travelers return.
“A lot of the resorts are offering either free or very low-cost COVID tests 72-hours prior to arriving back in the U.S.,” says Kerner.
With hotels and resorts already taking every safety precaution, it’s getting to and from their destination that has some travelers concerned.
“The airport and then the airplane are probably the biggest stressors in making sure that we’re masked up and other people are respecting our distance,” Gerber admits.
Right now, the CDC is not recommending COVID tests for domestic travel, with President Joe Biden saying that science doesn’t support that measure needing to be taken.