Isn’t it time to plan big trips abroad?

Reynisfjara is a world famous black sand beach located on the south coast of Iceland.

Luis Cajao Photography | The moment | Getty Images

Iceland has been the center of my wanderlust for the better part of two years.

The country is a fabulous landscape of natural beauty: the black sands of Reynisfjara, the towering icebergs of the Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon and the steep, jagged peaks of Vestrahorn.

I was forced to postpone my carefully planned trip there in 2020, like many other travelers who postponed excursions during the Covid pandemic. Since then, I’ve wondered: When will an overseas adventure be possible again?

Perhaps soon.

According to travel experts, the outlook for overseas travel in 2022 is brighter than ever, especially for Americans booking trips in the summer or later. But they should expect more planning and flexibility.

“Since March 2020, there has not been such a promising time as now,” – Sebastian Modak, editor-in-chief of the magazine Lonely planet and the New York Times 52 places for travelers in 2019, they talk about trips abroad.

“It really comes down to the traveler’s own threshold of risk and comfort, as things can go a little bit awry,” he added.

A year to get big

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According to Expedia’s upcoming 2022 Travel Trends Report, the majority of U.S. travelers – about 37% – are planning both international and domestic travel next year.

After nearly two years of pent-up wanderlust, more than two-thirds of American travelers plan to “make great strides” on their next vacation – whether it’s a once-in-a-lifetime overseas trip to a luxury hotel. according to the report.

Although travel plans only within the country remain The most popular, attractive to 59% of US travelers, interest in overseas destinations is growing.

G Adventures, which offers guided group trips around the world, increased bookings abroad by almost 35% in November over the same period in 2019. Travel to Peru, Costa Rica and Morocco is “in high demand,” according to the company. Benjamin Perlo, US Managing Director.

Searches to major European cities have also grown significantly in a short space of time, according to Expedia – 65% from Los Angeles to London and 110% from New York to Paris, for example, between September and October, according to Expedia.

Warm-weather hotspots near the United States such as the Riviera Maya, Cancun, Isla Mujeres, and Punta Cana, all in Mexico, were generally the most popular with American tourists traveling in early 2022, according to Expedia.

“I think 2022 will be a year of great success and milestones,” said Christy Hudson, travel expert at Expedia.

‘Big tailwind’

Ruins of Machu Picchu in the Andes, Peru.

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There are many reasons for consumer optimism. First, the number of Covid vaccinations is on the rise, which means Americans can travel with relative safety.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends vaccinations before travel abroad, legal vaccinations for children aged 5 to 11 in early November, making travel with the family more affordable.

In addition, travel restrictions are being relaxed. Many countries have reopened their borders to Americans and abandoned rules such as mandatory quarantine periods. New Zealand, which had one of the longest-running tourism bans during the Covid era, said On Wednesday, it will open its borders to vaccinated non-citizens from April 30th.

(Testing requirements are still widespread, even for vaccinated tourists. Travelers can find country-specific requirements at the US Department of State. Web site.)

There hasn’t been a promising time since March 2020 as it is now.

Sebastian Modak

Lonely Planet Editor-in-Chief

United States raised his travel ban for most non-citizens on November 8. It probably also inspired more Americans to take chances abroad – the proportion of those who gave up international travel hit a pandemic-era low of 55% in mid-November. according to Assignment analysts.

“I have been doing tourism research for almost two decades, and [the desire to travel] seems incredibly strong right now – the strongest I feel I’ve ever seen, ”said Erin Francis-Cummings, President and CEO of Destination Analysts.

“I think 2022 will be a great tailwind for all types of travel,” she added. “People seem to be more open to new experiences or a return to international travel.”

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And for those who book a trip, there may be lucrative offers, experts say. For example, the average price of an international round-trip flight is 35% lower than the cost of 2019, according to a joint annual survey. report published by Expedia and Airlines Reporting Corporation in October.

Of course, the health situation can quickly change and thwart plans. A new variant of Covid, found in South Africa, has several mutations that could make it more transmissible or able to escape vaccines, although scientists have warned that more data is needed to make an assessment.

A new wave of Covid infections Europe pushed Austria to quarantine on Monday; Germany may soon do the same.

Auckland, New Zealand.

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Some countries have remained closed to American tourists or have yet to abandon strict health policies.

Tourism experts believe this is especially true for Asian countries. China for example requires The Americans are quarantined for at least 14 days at a government-selected facility. Japan does not allow any tourist trip.

Some travel companies still get it wrong on the US travel side. For example, Fodor’s Travel has limited its annual Go List in 2022 due to uncertainty about traveling abroad, although this added some optimism.

“Like many of you, we are still committed to international travel,” Fodor wrote. “And travel abroad can still be in the cards for the fearless.

“If you can travel there safely and responsibly, do so — go anywhere in the world,” he added.

Warranties and flexibility

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Travelers should take certain precautions, mainly in the interest of protecting against financial loss.

Experts recommend travel insurance that reimburses travel expenses in the event of trip cancellations or other unforeseen circumstances.

However, there are different types of policies. According to experts, the “cancellation for any reason” policy is generally the only one that allows travelers to have a refund if they cancel a trip for a Covid-related reason. (Most baseline policies do not cover such a case.)

However, even “any-reason cancellation” options may not offer full refunds, and insurers may require travelers to cancel a day or two before travel. It is important to understand the specific terms of the policy before purchasing.

Experts believe that travelers should also weigh airline tickets and hotel options that allow for refunds, travel credit, or changes, even if those options are slightly more expensive.

“I think you can feel comfortable booking that October trip to Egypt if you have insurance and perhaps booked a flexible flight with airlines,” Modak said. “Make sure you have contingency options where, if the situation in Egypt gets dire, you can book a flight for May 2023 at no financial cost.”

Many companies have retained additional flexibility regarding their policies ahead of the pandemic.

I have been doing tourism research for almost two decades and [the desire to travel] seems incredibly strong right now – the strongest that I feel, that I have ever seen.

Erin Francis-Cummings

President and CEO of Destination Analysts

G Adventures, for example, allows customers to rebook a trip or get full travel credit if they cancel their trip 14 days before departure. (Previously there was a 60-day threshold.) This policy will remain in effect for 2022 trips booked through March 31st.

“There really weren’t such options for any company before Covid,” Perlo said.

It’s also important to have a budget “just in case”, Modak said. For example, if a traveler contracted Covid overseas and must go through quarantine before returning to the US, how much money might they need to cover the additional costs for a week or two?

It is important to note that travelers should approach travel abroad with individual flexibility and empathy. Please be aware that certain actions may be limited or unavailable. A city with a legendary nightlife could prove more docile than expected if, for example, bars and restaurants close earlier than expected in the Covid era. Travelers may need to change directions and should research their destination in advance.

In addition, not all countries or their citizens have equal access to vaccines, so adherence to mask requirements and other local regulations is paramount.

“It’s still an odd time to travel,” Modak said. “Bring a level of patience and grace on the journey.”

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