Today’s traveler is much more resilient than many were pre-pandemic. While the omicron variant of Covid-19 has been spreading rapidly around the world, travel advisors last week reported that, for the most part, bookings remained intact.
Of course, as with any other Covid-related news, omicron has caused some cancellations and some rebooking headaches (again). But the good news is, most of the people who want to travel aren’t worried about the new variant.
What is impacting travel, in some cases, are things like travel restrictions and flight cancellations as airlines have smaller crews because of omicron cases.
As a result, there have been some issues, said Karen Magee, senior vice president and general manager of In the Know Experiences, part of Internova Travel Group’s luxury division Global Travel Collection. Those issues have caused some clients to become increasingly concerned.
“With that said, again, they’re all very aware of travel restrictions because of how clearly advisors at the various brands within Internova Travel Group, and our team at In the Know Expeiences of Global Travel Collection, have been communicating prior to their travels,” she said.
“They’re very flexible in making adjustments, if that’s needed,” Magee said. “For cases where we’re seeing travelers testing positive during their journey, we’ve worked with them on making sure they’re in a comfortable and safe environment while they ride out their quarantine.”
Travel restrictions likely aren’t going anywhere, either, Magee said, especially as omicron continues to spread. More leniency is expected — she pointed to the CDC’s reduction of quarantine time for those found to be Covid-positive as an example — but in the meantime, In the Know Experiences has shared some sage advice with its advisors.
I’m sharing that advice from Magee here, verbatim:
• Set expectations up front as to the potential scenarios involved with international travel. We’ve provided our advisors resources and guidance to navigate these policies along with verbiage to share with their clients so they’re not held responsible for Covid-related disruptions.
• Offer travel insurance to offset any potential costs in the event of quarantine, and have the clients sign a waiver if they decline.
• Be very mindful of cancellation terms and communicate them clearly. Partners have generally been very accommodating, but clients should assume they’ll be able to receive a credit.
In the Know Experiences also suggested advisors recommend the following:
• Take extra precautions in the week leading up to your trip to reduce the likelihood of a positive test before or during the journey.
• Diligently follow the health safety guidelines put in place by the hotel and airline carriers while you travel.
• Even if your destination doesn’t require a test prior to departure, take one anyway as you’ll need to test negative before arriving back in the U.S.
• Bring antigen test kits just in case there is a limited availability of tests in your destination. We recommend eMed.com. It’s virtually proctored, so it’s accepted as a formal antigen test.
“As we’ve advised from the beginning of the pandemic, every person has to decide their comfort level in navigating their life and travel based on personal and familial circumstances,” Magee said. “There’s a new level of risk involved with the recent frequency of transmission, no doubt, but there are also measures that you can take to mitigate the impact of those risks, and that is why we’re here.”