As we approach the third year of the pandemic, we can say with confidence that we have learned to be more careful and flexible in our plans. And as the Omikron variant dominates the headlines, travel rules and Covid concerns are likely to change from month to month in 2022.
This means that vaccines and booster vaccines are widespread, international borders are opening up (although some are also closing), and countries, airlines and hotels now have systems to greet visitors safely, despite frequent fluctuations.
We are adapting to life in the world with COVID-19 and the travel and tourism industry is mostly open to those who are ready.
Travel outlook for 2022
If you’ve been to the airport lately, you’ve noticed that people are on the move again. Even with the rise of the omicron variant, air traffic is growing every day travel numbers get closer to what they were before the pandemic.
Despite growing concerns about the new options, research shows that travelers still have a positive outlook on the future. Destination analysis—A research firm studying how the coronavirus affects people’s perceptions of travel safety — recently said Americans’ travel prospects for 2022 are “promising,” with 76 percent of American travelers ready to go. One-third of U.S. travelers say they will take more leisure trips next year, and nearly 25 percent say they plan to increase their international travel.
And it’s not just individuals who feel optimistic. Many airlines are finally removing aircraft from storage and restoring international routes that we have all missed. As Australia finally opened after two years of border closures, Qantas has resumed many of its long-haul flights, including its most popular routes to Sydney from London (LHR) and Los Angeles (LAX).
How to take advantage of travel offers for 2022 now
With more routes reopening and airlines trying to fill their planes, now might be the right time to book a flight, especially if you can get the coveted offer for international summer travel.
National travel poses a lower risk
Traveling between countries is unlikely to be limited, so it may make sense to catch domestic tickets when you find a reasonable price. If you plan to visit a popular destination such as Florida, New York, Las Vegas, California, Hawaii, Texas or a national park, you should book as soon as possible. The same goes if you book with points; price availability will be competitive for flights and accommodation.
Examine the requirements for international travel
While international travel during pandemic times is unpredictable, booking a trip outside the US for 2022 is possible. Do your research and make sure you are protected.
While more and more countries are “open” to passengers, each has its own list of rules and requirements and all are subject to change. Most countries require some proof of vaccination or a negative test for COVID-19 before entering, and many require you to complete government-issued travel confirmation forms.
It is definitely the easiest way to travel abroad if you are fully vaccinated. If you are not vaccinated and plan to travel anyway (nevertheless current CDC guidelines If you want to postpone the trip until you are completely vaccinated), you will need to take double due care of your transit and destination and be prepared for a lot of nasal swabs. Some countries will not allow any unvaccinated visitors to cross or enter, while others will require quarantine or more stringent testing requirements for those who are not fully vaccinated.
Prepare for the worst
Above all, you must be prepared to change your plans immediately; You never know when illness or shutdown may prevent you from escaping. If you can afford to attach travel insurance to a non-refundable flight, it can give you peace of mind; just make sure the insurance covers the Covid-related cancellation.
Trust your gut
Traveling in 2022 is possible, but it is not the best choice for everyone. Always put your health and safety first and be aware of your comfort at risk. If you are not ready for international travel, domestic travel is great. And if you’re not ready to board the plane, it’s still a good idea to take a trip and stay close to home. Do what is best for you as we adapt to what the new year brings.
You can cancel or reschedule your trips
When traveling in 2022, never forget that change is our new norm. Organize your trip as if you had to cancel it at the last minute – or even change it in the middle.
Read the fine print
Make sure each flight or hotel room you book is flexible, exchangeable and refundable. If you are booking with credit card points, check with the credit card program, hotel or airline through which you are making the reservation to make sure you can get your points back and adjust your itinerary. And if you spend a lot of money on an organized trip, cruise or other prepaid adventure, do your homework and get some travel insurance.
Book directly with airlines
If you can, book directly through airlines or hotels, if possible, and not through a third party (such as Expedia or Kayak). It’s not that third-party sites don’t have great deals – they just make it harder to refund or cancel a change.
Most airlines still have flexible change rules for domestic and international flights originating in the US – unless you book basic or more advantageous fares. Of course, the rules are likely to change all the time, so check them out before you buy.
Airline cancellation policy
|Alaska Airlines||Cancel non-refundable bookings and have the funds deposited in My Wallet or used for exchange. No cancellation of Saver tickets except 24 hours from booking.|
|American Airlines||No change fees for domestic flights, international short-haul flights and selected international long-haul flights at Premium Cabin, Premium Economy and Main Cabin tariffs. Basic Economy tariffs purchased on or after April 1, 2021 are non-refundable and unchanged.|
|Delta Airlines||Cancel any ticket in the main cabin and above and get a Delta eCredit valid for one year. Basic Economy tickets remain the same and non-refundable.|
|JetBlue||No fees for change or cancellation of fare, except Blue Basic.|
|Southwest Airlines||In most cases, Southwest does not charge for changing or canceling the flight.|
|associated airlines||United Airlines has permanently removed change fees for flights within the US or between the US and Mexico or the Caribbean and for international flights originating in the US All other international flights will not be charged if the ticket is issued by January 31, 2022. Basic Economy tickets are not may be changed unless issued before 31 December 2021.|
Check your travel credit card strategy
After a long travel break, it makes sense to ensure that your credit card reward strategy is optimized. An annual remuneration audit is a good way to refresh your memory where you have saved all the points you have earned.
It may also be time to upgrade those cards that you have expired because you did not take advantage of the lounge or luggage. Personally, I have returned to a sufficient number of domestic trips, so I am ready to regain the Business Platinum Card® from American Express. In 2020, I downgraded the card, but I’m ready to re-access the American Express Centurion Lounge.
You can also take advantage of a bonus when checking in for an airline or hotel card, many of which have enough points to earn at least one national return trip anywhere in the US or a few free hotel nights on your first trip in 2022.
Covid is still with us and will probably stay here. Nevertheless, the planes are still full, business travelers are back in the sky and there are offers to be seen as returns from travel and tourism. If we have learned anything, we all know that we can never know for sure what the new year will bring. But it is my greatest wish for all of us to make 2022 a wonderful year to return to whatever travel is best for each of us.