(BPT) - Are you dreaming of traveling this year? Whether it’s near or far, a getaway can be a wonderful way to change things up and make lasting memories. But the current restrictions and guidelines around travel can make trip-planning more daunting than ever. With a few safeguards and a bit of planning you can travel smarter and avoid common mishaps.
To help you prepare for your trip, the experts at Expedia created a simple travel checklist to ensure you’ve covered the essentials. For more information visit Expedia.com.
Check health information sources
Visit reputable health information sources to help you decide whether travel at this time is right for you. Whether that is your own doctor, or official guidance from the the CDC website, there's a ton of information out there that will help you travel safely.
Book in advance
Following the lockdowns of 2020, many destinations are continuing to see a ton of pent-up demand from travelers, meaning hotel and car rental inventory is getting snatched up fast. Expedia data advises travelers to book domestic trips at least a month in advance, and international trips 3-4 months in advance for the best prices and availability. For vacation rentals in beach and lakefront locations, aim to lock in plans 6-9 months out.
Review travel advisories
Use the Expedia COVID-19 travel advisor to look up the latest restrictions at both your origin and destination. Look for regulations and changes to documentation requirements.
Consider staying closer to home
Even if air travel isn't in the cards, you can still get the benefits of a well-deserved vacation. Explore nearby destinations and places within driving distance. Hole up in a cozy lodge or plan out a road trip route to see several destinations along the way.
Choose flexible booking policies
Always plan for the unexpected. Filter hotel and flight search results using the “free cancellation” or “no change fees” filters and select refundable rates for greater flexibility and peace of mind.
Learn about cleanliness measures
View Expedia partners’ and suppliers’ updated cleanliness policies and factor in how they will affect your stay. Some properties are spacing out guests, have limited capacity or aren't offering room service in the interest of keeping staff and guests healthy.
Download the Expedia app
Keep all your booking details in one place, message your hotel and modify travel plans easily by downloading the Expedia app. And make sure you join rewards programs to make your dollars go further — Expedia members save 10% or more on thousands of hotels just by logging in and using the app.
Read the fine print on your travel insurance policy
Be aware of what’s covered in your travel insurance so you’re prepared. Often standard policies won't cover cancellations related to COVID-19, so seek out a "Cancel for Any Reason" policy or read the fine print on your plan to make sure it offers the coverage you need.
Confirm attractions are open
A closed museum or theme park can be a big letdown during a trip, so be sure to research your must-see spots ahead of time to review special hours or restrictions such as requiring proof of vaccination or appointments.
Pack personal protective equipment
Carry extra masks, disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer with you.
Schedule necessary testing in advance
Depending on the destination, you may have to present a negative COVID-19 test before, during and even at the end of your trip, so knowing where and how you'll get those tests done before you go is key. Sometimes your hotel might be able to help facilitate the tests, so be sure to ask the property.
How to change your plans
If need be, make changes to your booking by logging into your Expedia account or opening the app. Use the "modify" or "cancel" links within your itinerary or start a chat with the virtual agent. If your flight has been canceled by the airline, try calling the airline or Expedia directly. If you are already at the airport and your flight has been canceled, talk to the gate agent for the quickest resolution.
Communicate any delays
If your flights are delayed or disrupted and your arrival times have changed, be sure to contact the hotel or car rental company so your room or vehicle aren't given away.