Tour operators and cruise lines are looking forward to welcoming travelers after a challenging time due to COVID-19. With cabin fever on the rise, many people are looking at how to safely ease back into travel.
“Tour operators are finding that people are asking for more close-to-home travel and staying at home right now,” said Lisa Anciaux, AAA Director of Travel Products. “I think that’s what we’re going to see here this first year out is a lot of that closer to home travel.”
“Bubble travel” is another way many people plan to stay safe while vacationing. This means that instead of larger tours, people will travel in their own groups with friends or family in their "quarantine bubbles" (those they are around often).
Cruise lines will ensure travelers are safe by complying with rules and regulations from the CDC. These include COVID-19 testing for crew members and passengers, enhanced sanitation practices and air filter systems. Safety practices are not just on cruise ships, but also will be put in place for excursions and check-in areas.
There will be closer-to-home cruise options to sail down the coast, and later this year Alaskan cruises will open back up. These ships won’t be filled to capacity, allowing extra room for social distancing.
Many cruise lines and tour operators are currently offering deals to promote future travel.
“Now is a great time, even though you’re not traveling maybe this year or right now,” Anciaux said “The tour operators and cruise lines are offering some great specials for all the way into ‘22 and ‘23.”
2021 Virtual Cruise Shows
How do you find the best cruise for you? AAA Washington is holding virtual cruise shows through February, offering virtual presentations to get folks excited about travel again. More than 30 travel providers will talk about when travel will resume and new protocols to keep travelers safe. The complimentary shows are live, so you can get questions answered during a Q&A session. They are also recorded to view later.
Many of the travel companies are offering eased cancellation policies for future travel, allowing a safe way to put a deposit down and still get money back. While 90-day cancellation policies are usually the norm, many companies are offering up to 24-hour cancellations. These flexible terms won't last forever -- making now a great time to plan for future travel.
“Get your deposit in and start dreaming about that trip for ’22,” Anciaux said.
To learn more about the virtual cruise shows and booking travel, visit the https://wa.aaa.com/travel.