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After a record visitation year in 2019, the coronavirus pandemic brought Hawaii’s tourism industry to a screeching halt, delivering both residents and the environment a much-needed breather. Now, tourism has roared back — almost too loudly.
For the week spanning June 1-8, the state saw 2,000 more arrivals than it did in the same period in 2019. Standard room rates at luxury resorts are pushing $3,000 a night, in some cases quadrupling the typical rates, and a rental car shortage has led some tourists to hit Hawaii’s fragile coastal roads in U-Hauls.
Restaurants need to be booked weeks in advance, surf lessons and snorkel tours are sold out through summer, and even with a reservation, lines for popular attractions such as Maui’s Haleakala National Park face unprecedented wait times.
Tourism is the state’s economic lifeline, responsible for at least a quarter of all jobs. Without it, the state’s gross domestic product declined an estimated 7.5% last year. But the return of tourism is exposing other issues across the state, from a crisis of livability to an alarming labor shortage.
Without visitors, Hawaii’s previously low unemployment rate of less than 4% skyrocketed to one of the highest in the nation: some 15%. But hiring hospitality workers back has been unexpectedly problematic. At Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, it’s been so hard to staff back up that Mark Simon, director of marketing, says he’s recently been delivering room service items, clearing restaurant tables and assisting guests with luggage.
Across the island chain, an estimated 40,000 hotels and restaurant jobs are going unfilled, according to a database from the State of Hawaii Workforce Development Division. Mufi Hannemann, president of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, says that’s partially because of the ongoing lure of stimulus checks and unemployment benefits and partially because of migration.
With a greater number of opportunities and more favorable living costs on the mainland, many islanders have left the state altogether: An estimated 16,000 have disappeared from Hawaii’s labor force since the pandemic began, according to the Economic Research Organization at the University of Hawaii. Hannemann says the hospitality industry was especially affected, with furloughed workers turning to jobs in other industries during the long shutdown.
That’s coinciding with a season so busy that it feels like Christmas. Four Seasons’ Simon says every beach chair and pool lounger at his resort is snagged by sunrise, and restaurant and spa reservations are booked out. To meet demand, he’s been asking staff to work additional hours and wear all hats; managers are busing tables and bellhops are helping at the front desk.
The same is happening at restaurants along the strip in Waikiki, where restaurant windows have signs urging guests to be patient due to lack of staffing. “We have a minimum of 10 job openings, which is unheard of,” says Michael Miller, director of operations at the locally owned Tiki’s Grill & Bar. “And people aren’t even coming in for interviews.”
As a result, restaurants are now working only off reservations. Locals who kept neighborhood dining haunts afloat during the pandemic can no longer score tables, even midweek. “We want to welcome everyone back, but not all restaurants are in tip-top shape,” says Sheryl Matsuoka, executive director of the Hawaii Restaurant Association.
Companies are so desperate for help they’re offering job incentives such as hiring bonuses. At PacWhale Eco-Adventures in Maui, Blake Moore, director of operations, is doling out complimentary snorkel tours to the famed Molokini Crater just for applying — although those tours are sold out weeks in advance.
Hawaii’s popularity this year is due to strict covid-19 testing protocols and mask mandates, ultralow infection rates and ample air seats, as many airlines diverted long-haul planes to Hawaii when Europe was slow to reopen.
In April, the state received 484,071 monthly visitors — about half what it reported for the same month in 2019. But Hawaii feels twice as crowded as during peak holiday seasons, says Ben Rafter, a member of the Hawaiian Tourism Authority Board.
Prohibitive rules around island hopping that were relaxed in mid-June have so far prevented most visitors from spreading out, resulting in denser volumes in fewer areas. Add ongoing social distancing requirements and labor shortages, and the scales of supply and demand keep tipping further out of balance.
It’s particularly bad in Maui, which has the most direct air travel from the mainland. Chelsea Martin, founder of boutique travel agency Passport to Friday, has seen her Hawaii bookings more than triple those of 2019. Maui, she says, is her top request.
“We’re seeing luxury spend like never before,” says Jonathan McManus, co-owner of Hotel Wailea, a 72-suite Relais & Chateaux property. “Our treehouse dinners, including wine pairings, cost about $2,000 for two people and are booked every night through the month. It’s staggering.”
Debbie Misajon, owner of Hawaii-focused agency Coconut Traveler, says she’s booking 10-day family itineraries that push $50,000, not including accommodations. “Who spends that in Hawaii?” she asks.
Among those splurging is Greg Kroencke, a financial adviser from Houston. He recently visited Maui and the Big Island with his wife and three children and says it turned out to be one of the priciest family vacations they’ve ever taken. His SUV rental on Maui cost more than $500 a day, and he’s never paid more for a hotel room. Scenic helicopter flights on Maui were sold out, so he nabbed one on the Big Island for $1,600 for an hour. “It seemed like a deal, compared to the $6,500, two-hour option my wife found,” he says.
During his five days in Maui, Kroencke barely managed to get a single zip-lining ticket for his kids or to score restaurant reservations before 9 p.m. “Over the next few months, visitors need to mentally prepare themselves to be patient and not do everything on their wish list,” he says.
The situation is troublesome for both visitors and residents. Despite raising rates, Brett Sheerin, the owner of surf school Maui True North, is so busy he’s turning travelers away. “I appreciate the business, and the economy needs it, but it’s frustrating for locals to have the traffic and crowds back,” he says. “The government talked about curbing tourism in 2019, and it’s as if they forgot how intense those numbers were for locals and the land.”
In November, the Hawaii Tourism Authority launched a campaign in conjunction with the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau urging visitors to explore beyond the famous attractions in the spirit of “malama,” or caring for the land. But recent behavior suggests that tourists still see Hawaii as paradise, not a place people call home.
“We don’t begrudge tourists wanting to see the waterfalls and black-sand beaches,” says Jon Benson, general manager of Hana-Maui Resort, the sole hotel in a remote East Maui town on the famed Hana Highway. The problem, locals say, is tourists clogging traffic by parking illegally and stopping in the middle of the road to take photos.
“Visitors forget locals commute to work on that road,” says Benson. “You wouldn’t stop to take photos on the 405 [interstate] in California. We need to find a healthier balance of respect.”
Come to these round-ups each week to learn about the countries relaxing entry rules, the attractions reopening the doors and the places that have shuttered because of Covid-19 outbreaks.
Good news for Americans! The European Union‘s governing body has recommended that the bloc lift restrictions on non-essential travel from 14 countries, including the US, a move that would allow visitors from these destinations to vacation in Europe far more easily.
One country conspicuous by its absence is the UK, where things haven’t been going so well. Grand plans to lift the UK’s remaining Covid restrictions on June 21 have been delayed until July 19, due to rising cases of the Covid-19 Delta variant.
Arrivals are allowed into Italy from most of Europe. Rome’s Trevi Fountain iis pictured in June 2021.
Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images
Croatia is also welcoming vaccinated travelers, as well as those who present a negative PCR test or proof that they’ve recovered from Covid-19 within the past 180 days, and no less than 11 days before they arrive.
Ireland, which has had one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns, will reopen to the EU, UK and US on July 19. Non-EU unvaccinated travelers will have to arrive with a negative test, then self-quarantine until they take a second post-arrival test.
California lifted most of its Covid-19 restrictions Tuesday as part of a grand reopening in which the state will end capacity limits, physical distancing and — at least for those vaccinated — mask requirements. CNN’s Dan Simon reports.
Here’s a peek inside Singapore’s Jewel Changi Airport, a stunning new addition to the “world’s best airport.”
Catch you all next Saturday for another travel round-up.
CNN’s Aya Elamroussi, Tamara Hardingham-Gill, Marnie Hunter, Alexandra Meeks, Hollie Silverman and Amanda Watts contributed to this report.
Trip.com Sells a Portion of its Tripadvisor Holdings
(“What’s Going Wrong Between Tripadvisor and Trip.com Group?,” June 1, 2021 via Skift Travel News) (subscription may be required)
Last week in a financial filing, Trip.com announced that it sold approximately 20 percent of its shares in TripAdvisor. No reason was given for the sale, but the two parties described the sale and new commercial agreements as a strengthening of the parties’ strategic partnership. One of these new agreements calls for Trip.com to provide Tripadvisor preferential pricing on approximately 10,000 hotels (the majority of which are in the United States) for use in Tripadvisor’s new subscription program, Tripadvisor Plus. Time for those Trip.com suppliers to watch carefully when and how their properties might now appear on Tripadvisor Plus.
Are Flexible Payment Options the Key to the Travel Industry’s Return?
(“Is Buy-Now, Pay-Later the Future of the Travel Recovery?,” June 4, 2021 via Skift Travel News) (subscription may be required)
Fintech providers, Fly Now Pay Later and Uplift, sure think so. In each instance, the buy-now-pay-later company provides travelers the opportunity to book airline tickets, hotel rooms, vacation packages, etc. today, but pay later over time. London-based Fly Now Pay Later currently has partnerships with travel brands Malaysia Airlines, Kayak and Lastminute.com, among others. Another prominent fintech provider, Uplift, has partnerships with several global airlines (notably Lufthansa, United and Alaska Airlines) and every low cost carrier in the United States (including the recent addition of Southwest Airlines). Uplift offers travelers both no-interest and simple interest options. American Express is also entering this space with its “Plan It” feature, which allows holders of its consumer cards to defer payment on airline and hotel bookings made through AmexTravel.com.
Interview: Expedia’s New Leaders From Apple and Verizon Hope to Help Travel Giant Bounce Back
June 4, 2021 via GeekWire
In 2001, Expedia Group embarked on a shopping spree. Over the course of nearly two decades, the Seattle-based travel platform snatched up more than 40 companies with a combined worth of nearly $13 billion. Among the brands Expedia controls today are Travelocity, Hotwire, CheapTickets, Orbitz, HomeAway, Vrbo, Egencia and Hotels.com, to name just a few.
The Future of Travel: How Paytech Can Drive the Travel Industry’s Recovery
June 2, 2021 via Fintech Times
The travel industry has been one of the worst-hit by the pandemic. The industry came to a complete standstill during the peak of the pandemic as countries across the globe were demanding their citizens stayed at home as lockdowns became the norm. As these measures are eased and countries give the green light for tourists to visit again, different companies in the travel sector are looking at ways to optimize revenue, outside of the traditional means.
Why Hotels Are Experiencing a Sweet Moment in Direct Sales
June 4, 2021 via Phocus Wire
Direct selling, both telephone and website, has gained a large share of sales during the pandemic. This huge increase has meant that many hoteliers have changed their passive or neutral attitudes toward direct sales, considering it a strategic pillar in their distribution.
Each week, we answer frequently asked questions about life during the coronavirus crisis. If you have a question you’d like us to consider for a future post, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: “Weekly Coronavirus Questions.” See an archive of our FAQs here.
I live in the U.S. and am considering a trip to another country. What do I need to know about international air travel at this stage of pandemic?
First of all, you have plenty of company. International air travel is expected to surge this summer. Americans are thinking of European vacations again. “We’ve had people asking a lot about Europe,” says Chicago-area travel adviser Kendra Thornton of Royal Travel & Tours. “Not necessarily booking but wanting to keep tabs on it.”
In addition, residents of the U.S. with family members in other countries are eager for a reunion after pandemic-enforced separations. People may be traveling abroad for work as well.
They’ll run into quite a range of travel restrictions and entry requirements.
NPR correspondent Jason Beaubien was surprised to see his face on a giant screen in an airport in Sierra Leone, where thermal scanners take the temperature of everyone in the crowd simultaneously. Airport personnel takes aside anyone who registers a fever for evaluation.
Travelers headed to Peru should pack a face shield. You have to wear it in crowded spaces such as an airport.
What’s more, the protocols may change as new variants, such as the highly contagious Delta variant, spread and take hold in different countries.
So if you’re itching to travel abroad or have already booked a trip, you probably have a lot of questions. Here are some guidelines that might help you deal with the new rules of international flight:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says to get vaccinated before you go. Air travelers should be fully vaccinated regardless of the risk level in the country you’re visiting, according to the health agency. There’s still a lot of virus circulating.
Keep track of the ever-changing guidelines and restrictions for your destination. You can check specific travel requirements through the U.S. State Department website or your destination’s Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health.
In addition, the CDC provides guidance on travel to other countries, which are ranked from “very high” risk of COVID-19 transmission to “low” (among them China, Iceland and Rwanda).
Avoid countries in the “very high” category unless it is essential travel. There are 60 countries on this list, ranging from Argentina to Yemen.
Some countries are closed to visitors but make exceptions. Belgium, Canada, the United Kingdom and Uruguay are a few examples. But some of these “no visitor” countries may make exceptions for the death or serious illness of a family member. If those are your circumstances, you may be able to visit. But the authorities might not/will not take your word for it. Expect to have to show proof of the reason for the visit, such as a death certificate or a doctor’s note about a family member’s illness. You can inquire about rules in your destination by contacting the American Embassy or Consulate there, or the country’s embassy in the United States.
And changes occur almost daily in this matter, so it’s good to keep an eye on the State Department’s or the country’s official website for updates.
Bring your vaccination card. Some countries want to see your vaccination card, so make sure your official CDC vaccination card is filled out with the date of your dose or doses (if you received a two-dose vaccine). It’s a good idea to make a copy of the card or have a photo on your phone as backup, suggests Thornton, the travel adviser.
Lost your card? Reach out to your vaccination provider or contact your state health department’s immunization information system.
You can also present the World Health Organization international certificate of vaccination, also known as a yellow card. You can ask your vaccine provider to add your COVID-19 vaccination info if you already have a card. Or if you need one, you can purchase it through the U.S. Government Bookstore, which tells NPR it has seen a 55% increase in sales in the last six months. Cards are on back order but should be available by the end of June. Or you can purchase one from the WHO, which means waiting at least a week for shipment from Switzerland.
What about vaccine apps? Vaccine apps that show your record could be accepted as well, but there’s no guarantee that border control will accept these as proof, so bringing a paper record is a good idea.
Citizens of the European Union will soon have a Digital COVID Certificate system that provides a scannable QR code to verify vaccination status and coronavirus test results. This should smooth travel between member states but won’t help a vaccinated tourist from outside the EU.
Airlines are trying to help their customers meet the vaccination and testing requirements of various countries by developing their own apps. The International Air Transport Association has rolled out its own IATA Travel Pass, which many major airlines around the world will use.
But officials say calling it a vaccine passport, as many people are, is a bit of a misnomer.
“It’s more of a digital credential associated with your vaccination or testing profile,” the IATA’s Nick Careen says. “So the consumer can use that to help them through their passenger journey.”
British Airways, Japan Airlines, Qatar Airways and Emirates are among the global airlines running trials of IATA’s travel pass app, which is expected to go live soon.
Other airlines, including American, will be using an app called VeriFly.
American’s Preston Peterson told NPR that “because the requirements for entry differ by almost every single country and, in some cases, by the region within a country,” the app will give the customer “the peace of mind to know that they comply with those different regulations.”
“A customer can submit their documentation, have it verified and then they receive a green check mark, or effectively, an OK to travel status, that we as the airline trust, the customer can trust and then they know they’re ready to go,” Peterson says, adding that the app will update in real time as entry requirements for various destinations change.
But even proof of vaccination may not be sufficient to ease your entry. Some countries don’t care if you have a vaccine card, as they can be easily faked or forged, or a digital vaccine pass on an app. They’ll still insist on a PCR test to determine if you’re infected several days before flying into and out of their airports. Most countries are asking airline personnel to verify the test. A positive result means the trip is off. That’s the case in Egypt, some European countries and Israel. And you can’t leave Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, after arrival in the country without taking a coronavirus test; airport personnel usher everyone to the clinic tent right after baggage claim.
Even if you’re vaccinated and tested negative for the coronavirus, you may have to quarantine. Samoa, for example, requires a minimum 21-day quarantine for all incoming passengers.
Keep up on testing requirements before your departure. They definitely change. Because of the high rate of cases, Namibia on June 1 changed its visitor entry rules from a simple self-test for the coronavirus to a typically more expensive laboratory test conducted before leaving your home country and not older than seven days before your arrival.
The State Department site dates its updates so you can see when a change was made, and it also provides links to specific country guidelines provided by U.S. consulates and embassies.
Check the latest requirements three days before your flight just to make sure. Some airports, such as Chicago’s O’Hare International and Los Angeles International, offer on-site coronavirus tests, but these can be pricier options than you might find elsewhere. And airport testing sites might have limited hours, so check before you head to the airport.
Get alerted. It’s a good idea to sign up for notices on international travel from the State Department, says Zane Kerby, president of the American Society of Travel Advisors. In Portugal, for example, increased cases of the COVID-19 variant known as Delta, identified as likely more transmissible and causing more severe disease, has put the country at a higher risk level.
Bring proof of health insurance. Even if you’re a veteran traveler who knows that your insurance carrier covers you overseas, be sure to check on COVID-19 coverage before you leave. Some countries, such as Argentina, require that you have a notice from your health insurer that specifically mentions COVID-19 coverage as proof that you are covered for the virus. Cambodia requires all foreigners to purchase insurance from the government on arrival: $90 for 20 days of coverage. Also check to see if your policy covers medical evacuation insurance, or consider buying a separate policy if not. Travel specialists say it’s a wise investment during a pandemic.
The CDC offers great background information on health insurance and foreign travel on its site. If you buy a supplemental plan, the State Department site recommends looking for one that will pay for care directly rather than reimburse you so out-of-pocket expenses are limited.
Brush up on testing requirements. All air passengers coming to the United States — residents who have traveled abroad and visitors as well — are required to have a negative coronavirus viral test no more than three days before travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past three months before they will be allowed to board a flight to the United States.
That test can be either a so-called molecular test done at a laboratory that can detect specific genetic material from the virus and is the most precise test, or an antigen test — which can be done as a self-test — which detects proteins on the surface of the virus if you were infected.
Embassy and consular notes on the State Department’s travel website offer detailed information on locations for a molecular test in each country if available. In some countries. the test is free. Or it could cost up to $200. Check the State Department travel site, which offers frequently updated, detailed testing requirements and resources for many countries.
Self-tests are a limited option. Right now, only two airlines are making self-tests easily available United and American – and you need to be able to perform the self-test while conducting a telehealth visit with a designated clinic. For more information, contact United or American if you will be returning home on either carrier or eMed.com, a telehealth company handling the testing to see if you qualify for the self-test, even if you’re on another carrier.
If you’re not vaccinated, though, you may want to choose a lab test rather than the self-test for re-entry, “especially if you’re returning from a country experiencing high rates of COVID-19,” says Matthew Binnicker, vice chair of practice in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the Mayo Clinic. That’s because the lab test can be more accurate than the self-test, according to guidelines published by the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
Don’t forget your mask. While some jurisdictions around the world are beginning to loosen COVID-19 restrictions, the Transportation Security Administration in late April extended its mask requirement to Sept. 13 (and could extend it further) for U.S. airports and on board U.S. airlines. Many foreign carriers have the same rule.
Fran Kritz is a health policy reporter based in Washington, D.C., who has contributed to The Washington Post and Kaiser Health News. Find her on Twitter: @fkritz
Miami Beach, Florida
Artur Debat | Moment | Getty Images
Interest in travel is picking up as the pandemic winds down, and cooped-up Americans are itching to hit the road again, two recent surveys have found.
Travelers are thinking about booking trips to warm and sunny domestic climes — be they Sun Belt cities or beaches and national parks — and are also more open to planning trips abroad.
Separate surveys from websites Booking.com and Skyscanner, which partnered with customer engagement platform Braze and app intelligence provider Apptopia, found that Las Vegas, Miami and Orlando, Florida, are among the top destinations searched online by potential U.S. vacationers.
Mark Crossey, U.S. travel expert at Skyscanner, said Americans are looking for short, domestic trips — 87% of trips booked at the site are for a week or less — and are favoring spots with fewer pandemic-related restrictions.
“Both Florida and Nevada no longer have travel restrictions for visitors and California anticipates its restrictions will soon lift, too,” he said. “All of these destinations enjoy warm summer weather and have plenty of activities for people to enjoy after a quiet year.”
Crossey said he expects to see Americans continue to travel in their own backyard throughout 2021, and anticipates “a resurgence in foreign trips as soon as international travel restrictions relax and popular European destinations reopen.”
The top five destinations from Skyscanner, Braze and Apptopia are, in fact, all cities: Las Vegas, Orlando, Los Angeles, Miami and New York. All but L.A. and the Big Apple, meanwhile, made Booking.com’s own list of top 10 destination searches for summer travel, which also featured seaside spots such as Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Ocean City, Maryland. The site’s survey found 61% of people plan to hit the sand at some point this summer.
“New Booking.com research shows that Americans are looking to get away this summer, and more specifically, a majority (62%) say they are optimistic they’ll get to the beach when it is safe again to do so,” said Leslie Cafferty, senior vice president and head of global communications at Booking Holdings.
“With nearly 70% of Americans looking to travel closer to home, it’s no surprise that U.S. destinations like Myrtle Beach, Virginia Beach, Miami, Ocean City and Destin were among some of the top searched vacations on Booking.com in May for check-in dates within 90 days.”
Like Skyscanner, Booking.com also found that Americans now favor shorter trips, with 54% of survey respondents saying they’d prefer more short breaks to fewer longer stays. Sixty-one percent also said travel is “critical to their emotional well-being,” according to Booking.com.
That jibes with findings from the Skyscanner-Braze-Apptopia survey, which queried not only Americans but people in the Europe-Middle East-Africa and Asia-Pacific regions, as well. Sarah Spivey, chief marketing officer at Braze, said that prior to Covid, 75% of U.S. travelers said vacations were important to them.
“This level of importance prior to the pandemic reflects U.S. consumers’ desire to travel as restrictions are lifted,” she said, noting that 33% of Americans feel comfortable traveling, compared to 13% of Asia-Pacific and 20% of Europe-Middle East-Africa residents. “While consumers from other regions appear more cautious, Americans are eager to travel.”
Spivey said that increased willingness also shows up in greater online travel agency app usage in the U.S. compared to other major markets. Use of such smartphone apps is up 41% compared to pre-Covid times.
“The contrast between U.S. [app] usage to that of Europe and Asia can be attributed to a greater willingness to travel overall, and subsequently a greater recovery in its travel industry,” she said.
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SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – For the first time in over a year, Pacific Beach resident Ashlyn Lipori-Russie is planning a big trip with friends.
“We’ll try to undo some of the burnout that we’ve accumulated over the past year and a half,” she says. “So we’re going to go spend a few days at an adults-only resort and try to unwind.”
Lipori-Russie and her friends leave for Cabo San Lucas in Mexico on Wednesday. But before booking the trip, she needed answers to a lot of questions.
“Am I going to be able to get in and out of the country, easily, seamlessly? What hoops am I going to have to jump through to do that? And how will the experience be impacted by potential COVID precautions that are still in place,” she wondered.
Even though the land border crossing between Mexico and the United States is closed to all but essential travel, Mexico allows people to fly in with no restrictions.
Other countries aren’t as lenient. Some require proof of vaccination. Others want a negative COVID-19 test. Some make people quarantine when they arrive.
That’s why travel agents say anyone planning an international vacation should proceed with caution.
“This has been challenging,” says Laila Matarwe, the owner of Five Star World Travel in Oceanside. “From country to country, it varies. It’s crazy.”
As of the start of June, about 70 countries allow tourists from the U.S. That includes including some of the most popular destinations in Europe and the Caribbean.
With each country having its own rules and restrictions, Matarwe says you have to do your homework.
To help, the U.S. State Department has a full country-by-country breakdown on its website.
Even with that information, rules and regulations change as infection numbers rise and fall, so Matarwe tells her clients to be flexible and invest in travel insurance.
“If you’re going to plan it, make sure that we can cancel or change our arrangements without a lot of penalties,” she says.
But just because you can travel doesn’t mean you should. The very first sentence on the top of the CDC’s page for international travel says, in bold letters, “Do not travel internationally until you are fully vaccinated.”
The CDC also sorts countries into four color-coded levels of COVID-19 risk. The vast majority of countries on their map are labeled “Very High” or “High” risk for infection. That includes most of the places allowing American tourists.
In addition to the rules in other countries, the US also has rules for people returning from a trip. Anyone flying into the United States must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test from within three days before their flight home.
Matarwe says people need to account for all of the extra time and costs of testing as part of their travel plans. Her advice: get a travel agent who can help sort it all out for you.
“Having somebody on your side that really knows and does their research and who can make it a more seamless trip is prudent,” she says.
She also tells people to book now, as demand and prices will increase throughout the summer.
But for Lipori-Russie and other people planning to travel this summer, all the extra rules and restrictions will be worth it for a chance to travel again.
“We’re just aiming for smooth sailing,” she says. “I’ve done a little bit of research, but we wanted to take the trip, and we’re gonna take it, regardless of any hindrances that might pop up.”