What you need to know about trip planning right now

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(CNN) – New year, new prospects, new travel plans.

Now is the time when many people usually map their annual stays around school calendars and family events, nice weather and big festivals, exhibitions and concerts. Covid-19 did not receive a note again.

Towards the third year of the global pandemic, as Omicron spreads around the world, there are still a number of variables that need to be considered.

Can we plan a trip now?

Yes, for sure, says CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen.

The biggest ticket for smoother travel

In fact, those who have some immunity from Covid may be in a very good position to see the world.

“Those who have been vaccinated and then recently received Omicron are unlikely to be reinfected so soon. It would be perfectly reasonable for someone in such a situation to plan a trip,” Wen said, reminding him to be careful when returning and to quarantined and tested by him. see everyone who is medically vulnerable.

No, you shouldn’t try to get infected. Here’s why.

Fortunately, those who are vaccinated and strengthened are also well placed to travel, said Wen, an emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at the Milken Institute of George Washington University.

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise people to delay until they are fully vaccinated. Although the Agency did not add a booster dose to its definition of “fully vaccinated”, it is recommends one if you qualify.

So is travel advisor Dave Hershberger for another reason. More destinations include boosters in their travel rules.

In Austria, for example, visitors need proof of revaccination or a negative PCR test in addition to proof of vaccination. The Czech Republic allows for enhanced passengers bypass testing requirement for vaccinated arrivals.

Capturing images is “the first box you should check if you are going to travel right now,” said Hershberger, owner of Prestige Travel in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Despite the continuing interruptions and complications of travel right now, the prospects are very different from a year ago, when vaccines were just being introduced.

“If you’re vaccinated, traveling probably won’t get you to the hospital,” Hershberger said.

Travelers who have received booster injections can bypass testing and get to the Czech Republic, where Prague is the main attraction.

Michal Čížek / AFP via Getty Images

Essentials: Research and testing

Travel restrictions change, change and then again. And there have been several major air traffic disruptions – more about them here.

It takes travel advisers two to three times longer to organize the same trips than before the pandemic, Hershberger said. Professional help can save you a lot of time.

Whether you use a counselor or do it yourself, patience is key.

“This is not traveling in 2019. This is different and will probably stay here for a while, so you have to be flexible, you have to do research.”

“And if you check out a month, you have to look again for two weeks and you have to look again a week before you go,” Hershberger said.

Prior to Omicron, Ashley Les, a travel advisor to Protravel International, directed cautious travelers to direct flights to places that required pre-trip testing.

So before the holidays, she told CNN Travel that almost everyone on the plane had recently tested negative for Covid-19. You won’t get such flying in the United States, she said.

He is now proposing even more tests.

“Even if your destination doesn’t require a test, TEST!”, Les said via email this week. “That’s how you know you’re traveling without COVID.”

The forest also suggests minimizing interactions with other people a week before your trip.

Packing a few quick tests for “peace of mind” if you start to feel bad is also a good idea, Hershberger said.

What you do when you reach your destination is as important as the precautions you take during transport.

What you do when you reach your destination is as important as the precautions you take during transport.

Jewel Samad / AFP via Getty Images

Additional insurance: insurance

For travelers from the United States and many other countries, homecoming testing has become the standard. And in many places it has become quite simple, Hershberger said.

“It’s not that hard. If you’re in a resort-type area, it’s very easy. If you’re on a cruise, they do it for you,” he said. Here they are all details from the CDC on acceptable tests to enter the United States of America.

The real challenge is if you take a positive test, which is not uncommon with Omicron in vaccinated people.

Then you will have to extend your trip and quarantine for a while – often at your own expense if you do not have travel insurance.

“I wouldn’t think about traveling without some kind of third-party travel insurance to help me with something like that,” Hershberger said of international travel in particular.

Hershberger was recently in Argentina, where visitors with a positive test are required to quarantine for seven to ten days at a state-approved hotel “up to $ 400 a day, plus you paid for a doctor’s arrival.”

Passengers could spend another $ 4,000 or more to extend their trip. This would be covered by a proper insurance contract from a provider such as Travel Guard, Allianz or Travel Insured International.

SquareMouth.com allows users to compare travel insurance offers from different providers.

Les agrees that “travel insurance is always a necessity”.

Destination selection

However, we know that people regularly travel to and from countries that are constantly rising and reducing their risk based on the number of Covid cases. Wen calls the CDC classification “one useful tool.”

“Baud rates are one point of reference,” Wen said. “The next is what precautions are required and followed where you go, and the third is what you plan to do when you’re there.

“Do you plan to visit a lot of attractions and go to indoor bars? It’s very different from going somewhere where you plan to lie on the beach all day and not interact with anyone else. It’s very different. These are very different levels of risk.”

And preventive measures in places you go are also important. A place that requires a vaccination certificate for restaurants or sports venues makes these types of activities safer for you.

Bottom line

Of course, standard safety precautions still apply – wear high quality N95, KN95 or KF94 for air travel and when you are in a crowded interior and follow the rules of your destination.

Rolling with the unexpected is a pandemic way of life and traveling is no exception.

“If you’re the type of person who can’t make a last-minute change, I’d suggest you stay home for a while,” Hershberger said. “You have to be able to go with the flow.”

Top image: General view of Mount Fitz Roy, near El Chalten, Argentina, August 29, 2021. (Ronaldo Schemidt / AFP via Getty Images)

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