By Alicia Doyle
Sunday Signal Staff Writer
While the pandemic continues to pose a host of challenges, planning a vacation in 2022 shouldn’t be one of them, even if it means booking ahead to ensure the price range and desired dates are available. this year and beyond.
“People think they can’t travel and they just can’t — travel has always been open and always will be,” said Tiffany Grummer, owner of Travel with Tiffany in Santa Clarita.
However, “be smart about it,” Grummer advised. “Find out about that country’s guidelines and read the informational emails your travel agent and airlines send you. Be patient – with guidelines that change all the time, there might be longer wait times.
The constant changes in COVID-19 guidelines have created many problems for the travel industry, and the uncertainty has caused many to choose domestic travel, said Shayna Anderson of travel agency Anderson Girls’ Adventures at Santa Clarita.
Anderson conducted a survey in November to find out what people are doing in 2022. Of 28 people who responded, 60% already had vacation plans for 2022 and 10% said they had plans for 2023; just 10% were waiting for restrictions to be lifted and a further 18% said they could not afford to travel. Of the 60% planning to travel in 2022, 43% are traveling internationally, 32% said they had no problem booking international and 3% said Hawaii and Mexico due to fewer restrictions .
“Of the 28 people, 50% are fully vaccinated and plan to travel; almost 18% said they traveled to the country to avoid travel restrictions; only 14% are not vaccinated and hope to wait; and only 7% were hesitant to travel due to uncertainty about how to do so,” Anderson said. Additionally, “40% said they would book a cruise, only 3% said they would wait for COVID restrictions to lift, and 30% said they were simply not interested.”
As we head into 2022, “uncertainty has brought many travelers to a halt,” Anderson said.
That uncertainty has put a big damper on travel, especially for international travel — uncertainty about whether countries would be open, whether vaccinations are required or just testing, and how much testing, Anderson said.
“Travellers are concerned about testing requirements to enter countries, as well as how to get home if they test positive while international,” Anderson said, adding that constant changes in COVID directives have created a lot of problems for the travel industry, and the uncertainty has caused many people to choose domestic travel.
The uncertainty has also caused people to plan at the last minute, instead of booking ahead, Anderson noted. “However, canceled trips are being postponed to the end of 2022, 2023 and even 2024,” she said, adding that advance booking is recommended to secure your desired price range and available dates. .
Typically, January through March is “wave season” for the travel industry – the busy season when everyone books up for the year.
“However, it’s been very quiet with few bookings,” Anderson noted. “Travellers are reluctant to comply with restrictions. Now more than ever, people need a travel advisor to navigate the guidelines for each destination. »
Local travel agents that can help you include Newhall-Valencia Travel in Newhall, which specializes in trips that include family vacations, culinary adventures, cruises and European vacations. The AAA Santa Clarita branch offers a wide range of services, including booking hotels and car rentals, providing free maps and tourist guides to members, and offering information on popular things to see and to do in the destinations.
If you’re planning a vacation this year, “be flexible and use a travel consultant,” Anderson again stressed, adding that a travel consultant “is not someone who just books a trip for you”.
“A travel counselor will have more knowledge about what’s going on in travel right now,” Anderson explained, adding that COVID guidelines are constantly changing and can be very confusing.
“For example, Hawaii changed its COVID guidelines every three months,” Anderson said. “Plus, many companies offer great value for money, not discounts, which means you might get more for your money. Let a travel consultant do the research for you, so you can enjoy your vacation more.
Above all, “have fun — don’t stress,” Grummer stressed. For those considering overseas travel, she added, “Americans are so supportive of other countries…when we’re not traveling, people from other countries are not eating. Support them, go on vacation, support tourism, they need you.
Don’t let uncertainty keep you from traveling, Anderson said.
“This world is an amazing place with amazing places to explore,” Anderson added. “This year is the best time to travel, especially as international travel will see fewer crowds. This means you can explore more with the time you have. Everyone is looking forward to the day the restrictions are lifted. “When that happens, we will see a huge increase in travel, as we saw in the spring of 2021 with all its challenges. Go now and enjoy exploring the destination even more.”