FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) -- Planning family summer vacations is getting tricky as restrictions return because of COVID-19 hotspots in the U.S. and abroad.
Travelers are feeling the effects of changing mandates, which is causing some to scrap plans while others move forward with their getaways.
JoAnne Weeks, Vacation Division Manager at Acendas Travel, says stress-free travel is rare. That is why she takes on the pressure to plan the perfect vacation for her clients. The pandemic has created even more hurdles with guidelines, restrictions, and mandates changing at any given moment.
“In 25 years, I've never told people ‘don't go' or 'wait until next year,’ but right now it's okay,” explained Weeks.
Weeks started planning Trent Guyer’s family vacation in 2019, before the pandemic. The family of five had big plans for an African Safari adventure but has had to postpone multiple times already. Last week, the airline canceled their flight and Weeks had to scramble to rebook them just weeks out from their set departure date.
“We joke that by the time we get to go finally, if it doesn't happen this year, our kids might be moved out of the house,” said Guyer, who emphasized he won’t be convinced until his family is on the plane headed to South Africa.
While on vacation, the family will have to take multiple COVID-19 tests because of restrictions within South Africa. Trent, his wife, and their 14-year-old are fully vaccinated but their youngest, 9 and 11, are too young to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
While international flights can be trickier to navigate, domestic flights are also experiencing restrictions in some areas. Newlywed Angela Jackson-Sampel planned to honeymoon with her husband in Hawaii in June. The couple researched mandates on the island and found a website stating the only requirement was full vaccination.
“It was on the night of our wedding that one of the guests came up to us and he was like, ‘Oh my gosh, where are you guys going to go on your honeymoon?’ and I was like ‘Hawaii.’ He was like, 'Oh, so do you have a test?'” recalled Jackson-Sampel.
The couple took a rapid test at CVS the day after getting married and left for Hawaii the next day. When they arrived on the island, airport staff told them they needed a COVID-19 PCR test from specific locations and taken within a certain window of time. The couple was forced to leave the island or quarantine for more days than they were scheduled to be on vacation. After the rental company denied them the car they paid for and the hotel refused them a room key because of the restrictions, they opted to reroute to San Diego.
Weeks says she’s heard stories like Jackson-Sampel’s and says it’s hard, even for the avid traveler, to navigate the changing restrictions.
KCTV STANDS FOR YOU
Here are some tips to consider when planning your honeymoon or vacation this summer.
- Sign up for the U.S. Department of State travel alerts. Depending on where you are traveling, you’ll receive updated information if requirements change.
- Plan ahead. Book car rental and hotel stays far in advance.
- Strongly consider buying travel insurance.