What are your summer vacation plans?
According to the U.S. Travel Association, Americans are spending a cool $95 billion on trips, and 6 out 10 are taking at least one summer vacation.
While it’s amazing to see so many people packing their suitcases and starting to explore the world again…things are not the same.
COVID has changed the travel industry as well as how we travel.
- Flight prices are high.
- The crowds are thick.
- Last-minute travel is off the table.
If you’re heading out this summer, here are some things you can expect while on the road.
COVID Entry Requirements and Mask Requirements
Summer’22 is in full swing, and it’s the closest to a normal travel season we’ve had in 2-years.
While that’s definitely something to celebrate, travel isn’t as “easy” as it was in 2019.
Before you book your vacation and pack your bags, you need to check and triple-check your destination’s COVID entry requirements and what you need to get back into your home country.
Some countries like Namibia, South Africa, and the Maldives have scrapped entry requirements for PCR tests if you’re fully vaccinated.
Don’t have the vaccine? You’ll still need to present a negative PCR test on arrival.
Other destinations like the EU have a blanket ban on non-vaccinated travelers. If you want to lounge on a beach in Greece this summer, you’ll need to show your vaccination certificate to gain entry.
When you arrive at your destination, you’ll want to brush up on each country’s COVID etiquette. Some countries like Germany, Spain, and Italy still require you to wear an FFP2 mask when using public transportation.
Don’t have one? You’ll face a fine, or officials will ask you to disembark and return once you have a mask.
Then, there’s getting back home.
At the time of writing, the U.S. still requires a negative PCR test before you step foot on your return flight.
Skyrocketing Fuel Prices
What’s the effect of a global pandemic, a recession, and a war in Europe on your summer travel plans?
Skyrocketing fuel prices.
Gone are the good ole days of EUR5 RyanAir flights.
Airlines are trying to make up for lost income from the last two years, and coupled with the rising fuel prices, you can expect to pay A LOT more than ever before to get to your next vacation.
Remember when one checked bag was included in long-haul flights? Well, some airlines like KLM have thrown that out the window.
Plus, budget airlines like Vueling charge almost the same price as the airfare to bring a checked bag or an overhead carry-on.
Budget accordingly, and where you can, keep your bags light to save money.
Delayed, Overbooked, and Canceled Flights
After two years of little to no travel, the global wanderlust is at an all-time high.
That’s great news for the travel industry, right?
Well, yes and no.
With understaffed airlines and airports and so many people on the road again, air travel is not smooth sailing right now, and things can change quickly.
Almost every day, news reports of delayed, canceled, or overbooked flights create chaos for travelers.
What can you do to help manage these unexpected hiccups?
- Buy travel insurance.
- Invest in air tags (reports of lost luggage at airports are rising).
- Opt for overland travel where you can.
Long Lines at Airports
In Europe, aviation workers are feeling the strain of staff shortages.
It’s led to industrial action over poor working conditions, pay, and job security.
Long lines of travelers trying to check-in bags and get through security.
What can you do?
Arrive at the airport 3 hours before your flight. While some travel advice suggests coming even earlier, you might exacerbate the problem by adding the crowds.
Sold Out Experiences and Transport Options
Good weather and hordes of people with wanderlust can only mean one thing: you need to plan your vacation in advance.
If you’re someone who loves to keep your plans open-ended, this is not the summer to leave things to the last minute. If you do, you might find yourself paying a ridiculous amount of money for a hotel or not being able to get a spot on tour.
Tickets to museums, tours, and experiences are selling out fast. The same goes for bus, train, and flight tickets.
Book your hotel, car rental, and everything else on your itinerary in advance.
Bonus: You’ll save money as prices start to jump with fewer options available
Heat Waves in Europe
Do you feel like everyone you know is heading to Europe for a sojourn?
American travel to Europe is up by 600% this summer, and travelers are itching to get rid of those PTO days.
The only downside?
Europe is experiencing its hottest summer ever. The heat wave is intense,
causing wildfires, evacuations, and heat-related deaths.
What does that mean for your trip?
- Make sure you stay hydrated.
- Pack SPF50+ sunscreen.
- Wear a hat and polarized sunglasses.
- Spend the extra bit of money to book a hotel with an aircon.
It’s also a good idea to bring along one of those portable fans and brace yourself for uncomfortable public transport rides.
With so many people in destinations like Paris and Barcelona, bus and metro rides usually have people packed in tight. When you couple that with the heat, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared to handle any heat-related illnesses.
Planning Your Summer Trip
How we travel has changed, but that doesn’t mean you should put your summer plans on hold.
The new norm means you need to plan a little bit more in advance, increase your budget, double-check COVID regulations, and prepare to navigate through crowds of other travelers.
Do you have any insider tips for traveling this summer? Let me know in the comments below.