Travelers Continue to Face Pandemic Challenges in 2021

HYANNIS – AAA Northeast said that residents should expect a different travel experience this year amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

AAA Spokesperson Mark Schieldrop said that more residents are planning trips as increasing vaccination rates provide more certainty in 2021, but challenges imposed by the pandemic still persist.

“People are more excited about travelling and making up for lost time and we’re seeing renewed interest in travel here at AAA. But people need to be mindful of the fact that even if it seems like the worst of the pandemic is over, it’s going to be a lot different when you’re travelling, at least for the next year,” said Schieldrop.

He said that with some groups still unvaccinated, such as younger adults and children, travelers will still need to be mindful of state and local public safety guidance. 

According to Schieldrop, even those who have been vaccinated will likely still be subject to safety restrictions.

With some private businesses, such as hotels, also having varying restrictions from the state they are located in, he said that researching the rules at destinations will be a vital part of travel.

“Things like face coverings are still going to be required on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation. On road trips, you may encounter road closures along the way, there may be restrictions along the way. You definitely want to call ahead and make sure that hotel you plan on popping in to and booking a room is actually open,” said Schieldrop.

International air travel also poses some obstacles, including the possibility that travelers may be denied boarding without documentation of a negative COVID-19 test or recovery from the disease, he said.

Travel advisories across different states are also ever changing, including in Massachusetts, where the state recently announced that travelers with proof of vaccination no longer need to quarantine upon arrival to the state.

Schieldrop said that research will be the most important part of travelling this year, and that travel agents will likely be able to answer any questions travelers may have. 

AAA advises that residents should get vaccinated before traveling if they are able. 

They also recommend taking a viral COVID-19 test one to three days before departing for trips and keeping a copy of the negative test results at all times while travelling. 

After returning residents are urged by AAA to take another viral test three to five days after arrival and quarantine for a full week, even if the test result is negative. 

If travelers do not get tested upon return, the CDC advises staying home and self-quarantining for 10 days. 

Those who test positive for COVID-19 should not travel, said AAA.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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