Travel

Where to travel? Families switch vacations to avoid COVID

Where to travel?  Families switch vacations to avoid COVID

EAST AURORA, NY (WKBW) – Across the country, Americans are ready to go. New AAA figures show online travel bookings for January were up 247% from January 2021, and even surpassed pre-pandemic levels – up 20% from January 2019.

Hotter destinations are at the top of the getaway list.

Through April, the top five destinations booked through AAA Western and Central New York include:

  1. Orlando
  2. Fort Lauderdale and Miami – Cruises and South Florida Beaches
  3. Cancun
  4. Punta Cana
  5. Montego Bay

As you can see from the two main destinations, many people are currently choosing to stay in the continental United States – some are even changing their international travel plans to stay in the country.

The Thompson family from East Aurora did just that for their winter getaway this year. The family of five planned to visit an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean island nation of Saint Lucia – but decided to adjust the trip due to COVID-19.

Thompson family

Thompson family on vacation in Naples.

“We thought – maybe St. Lucia isn’t such a good idea considering what could happen,” Jerry Thompson explained.

    Currently, when you return to the United States from another country, the CDC requires you to show a negative COVID test. The family decided that leaving the country was too risky at the moment. Instead of going to St. Lucia, they decided to stay in the United States and booked into Naples, Florida.
    “We weren’t so afraid of getting sick, we were afraid of the results if we did. What is the health care system like in Saint Lucia? What happens if one of us tests positive a day before we return? Am I going to leave my 18-year-old son in St. Lucia?” Thompson asked. “We had visions of the five of us in quarantine for another week before we could return to the United States. United – and it costs me ten grand at an all-inclusive resort to sit in a room.”

    These are concerns that Triple A travel advisors say they hear every day.

    There is the possibility of testing positive to go home – which concerns many people“said Matthew Covert, the company’s senior travel advisor.

    He says people are more comfortable traveling these days, but they might not be ready for international travel just yet.

    “We attract a lot of people who want to travel to the United States. We have 50 beautiful states here. There is a lot to explore. Hawaii and Walt Disney World are two places that are seeing huge travel demand these days,” said he declared.

    If you’re comfortable traveling internationally, Matthew says make sure you plan ahead and build in whatever flexibility you might need.

    “Everyone should be prepared,” he said. “The possibility is there. We never expect to test positive, but things do happen. Make sure you have the right one
    insurance – that’s the big deal. As long as you have the right travel insurance policy, coverage is there for you in these situations.

    Thompson says he had the insurance he needed, so travel changes weren’t a big deal for his family.

    “Not a problem at all,” he said. “We called our travel agent Joann, she took care of everything, gave us alternatives right away.”

    Family says this time around Florida was a perfect, warm getaway

    “It was probably one of the best times we’ve ever had. We’re looking forward to the next one.”