How to Plan a 2021 Vacation

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Published on June 21, 2021

How to Plan a 2021 Vacation

Photo of three little girls sitting on the open trunk of a hatchback vehicle at the beachAfter more than a year of dealing with a global pandemic, many people are anxious to enjoy some type of vacation this summer or fall.

Travel is definitely more doable these days, but it’s not quite the same as it used to be. You may be vaccinated, but there are still people who are not, as well as uncertainty about virus surges and variants. Pandemic-related recommendations seem to change daily. So planning a trip may look a bit different.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued travel guidelines for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. These guidelines include recommendations similar to what we’ve been doing all along—stay at least 6 feet from others not in your household, wear a mask and wash your hands often. Although it’s recommended that you be fully vaccinated before you travel, it is not a requirement but you should take extra precautions.

Whether you’re ready to hit the open road or fly the friendly skies, keep the tips below in mind when planning your vacation.

Enjoy an outdoor adventure

Summer and early fall are great times to travel because the weather is more conducive to outdoor activities and adventures. Skip the sightseeing tours in busy cities and instead opt for a trip that keeps you and your family outdoors, enjoying nature and being physically active—and away from crowds—such as:

  • A road trip, camping along the way or renting an RV
  • A mountain backpacking adventure
  • A secluded lakefront cabin or beachside cottage

Research, research, research

Now is not the time to pile in the car to see where the road takes you. And you won’t be flying somewhere with the intent of “just exploring.” It’s important to research and plan every step these days. This is true whether you’re travelling within the U.S. or abroad. Check current restrictions at your destination and verify them right before you go in case they’ve changed.

  • Do you need a vaccine passport or other documentation?
  • Do you have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test?
  • Do you have to quarantine?
  • What are restrictions like at your destination?

Make reservations

Yes, you probably do need them. And even if they’re not required, they’re definitely a good idea. Call ahead or go online to schedule, verify before your trip and bring confirmations with you.

  • Accommodations: Not just hotels and vacation rentals, but also campsites.
  • Car rentals: There’s a shortage of rental cars because many companies sold off parts of their inventory during the pandemic, so cars are harder to find.
  • Activities: Many tourist attractions and guided tours are operating at limited capacity and on a reservation basis (with staggered entry times), so you can’t just drop in.
  • Restaurants: Reserve a table, preferably outside, at places you know you want to eat. Many localities still have occupancy restrictions and seating may be limited.

Protect your investment

The virus is unpredictable, so know what to expect if you have to cancel or change your trip.

  • Be mindful of airline change fees and refund policies
  • Verify hotel cancellation and refund policies
  • Find out if you can get a refund for pre-paid activities
  • Consider purchasing travel insurance

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