Hello, CKE Blog Readers! Rosalyn Cooper here, Founder and Lead Travel Consultant at Social Butterfly Express. Let’s face it, we all have different comfort levels these days when it comes to wanting to travel now or waiting until next year. With travel looking different for both domestic and international trips, here are some helpful tips as your interest level starts to peak.
What Domestic Travel Looks Like:
Traveling within the U.S. has never been so popular than it is today. As each state starts to reopen, they all have different sets of rules and regulations that you must follow. Of course the main one is wearing a mask while in public areas and entering different hotels, restaurants, malls, etc. But did you also know that some states require you to quarantine upon arrival. For example if you are traveling from certain states (31 on the list), Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico going to New York you are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Please believe that they do popup calls and visits to make sure you’re at the place you said you’re staying at.
Just like resorts, hotels must go through numerous training upon reopening to be in compliance with COVID-19 protocols. Most hotels seal each room once they are cleaned and once you arrive you break it upon entering the room. Keep in mind that room service might not be available as well as other amenities that you’re used to getting. If your hotel has a pool, they are required to have a set limit of people for certain hours and clean in between. I have had clients that just want to stay in AirBnB but they also must follow the rules. The last thing you want to do is book a private rental and it hasn’t been deemed certified for people to stay. Don’t be afraid to ask if they have gone through the proper procedures to operate.
Pro Tip: Before booking your flight check to make sure you don’t have to quarantine upon arrival.
Proper Travel Identification
For all domestic flights, you can travel with state issued identification, passport card or passport book. I have had clients ask what if their state issued identification expired and they are leaving before they get the new one. As we all know that when you go to get your state licenses renewal it gets mailed to you, but they also give you the expired one and the new one on a piece of paper. Very Important! You must carry both the expired id and new paper one if you are traveling before the new one comes in the mail (usually takes 14 days). So yes you can travel with an expired license as long as you have the paper one accompanied with it. I have seen people try to go through TSA with just the paper one and they had to go through additional screening because they didn’t have another form of identification.
The Real-ID Requirements go into effect October 1, 2021. This means that everyone must be in compliance with the Real-ID Act which will have a STAR on your license or state identification in order to fly. https://www.dhs.gov/real-id
You can certainly upgrade your license or state identification before than but you must have the following documents with you:
Current license or state identification cards
Birth certificate (Passport can be used if you can’t find Birth Certificate)
Social Security Card
Paper Bill or Bank Statement with current address
Pro Tip: The Real-ID is only for Domestic Travel ONLY!! If you plan to travel internationally, you will still need to apply for a Passport Book.
What International Travel Looks Like:
International Travel was hit hard as COVID-19 put a halt to everyone’s travel plans for Spring and early Summer 2020. As each state begins to reopen its borders things are very different as they’ve had to adapt to new travel norms as well. As of August 6, 2020, the US Department of Travel lifted the Global Do Not Travel Advisory which is a very positive sign if your comfort level is leading you to plan a trip for Fall/Winter 2020. Each country has very different requirements needed before your arrival and the best sources are Travel Advisors and Tourism Boards for your destination.
A few things to keep in mind as you begin to plan your trip:
All Resorts/Private Rentals must be deemed COVID Certified before reopening and go through training to make sure protocols are followed.
Resorts are only operating at 30% occupancy.
Self served buffets have been eliminated.
Limited excursions are available to practice social distancing.
Pro Tip: Always purchase travel insurance! Travel Insurance is extremely important and should be purchased for EVERY trip, even if you are only traveling within the US. Costs associated with travel insurance are low, and the reassurance of knowing you're covered in case of an emergency is well worth the price and helps ease your mind. A few of my favorite destinations have reopened and I am going to give a brief overview of the requirements.
Mexico Requirements: International Flights resumed June 8, 2020
Mexico does not require COVID-19 tests before or after arriving.
Travelers must have valid Travel Insurance that covers COVID-19 for the duration of their trip.
Cancun recently made a new law and is now issuing fines for those that refuse to wear a face covering.
Jamaica Requirements: International Flights resumed June 15, 2020
ALL travelers traveling from ANY STATE will be required to upload a valid negative PCR Test taken within 10 days prior to arrival date. Test results must be uploaded to the Non Resident Online Application before traveling.
Children 11 years of age or younger will not be required to upload a negative test.
Approval to travel to Jamaica will be dependent on the upload of the test and may take up to 48 hrs.
You will not be allowed to board your flight without being approved first.
Dominican Republic Requirements: International Flights resumed July 1, 2020
ALL travelers who wish to enter the country must show proof of a Negative PCR test results , no older than 5 days before their arrival date.
If no proof of testing is available, government personnel will perform a quick test at no additional cost to the passengers
As part of immigration and customs forms provided by the airlines or by Dominican authorities,passengers will be required to fill out and submit a Traveler’s Health Affidavit.
Costa Rica Requirements: International Flights resume September 1, 2020
Americans will need to have their driver’s license or state identification on hand to prove that they’re a resident of an approved state.
ALL travelers will be required to provide proof of a Negative PCR test 48hrs ahead of departure.
ALL travelers must also have insurance. The policy needs to cover up to $50,000 in medical costs should a traveler become sick while on their trip
Pro Tip: If you have a destination in mind that you want to know more about ask your friendly Travel Advisor.
When COVID-19 hit that put a stop to Passport Processing rather you were a new/renewal applicant. As of today, passport processing has been restored but the turnaround time is taking several months before you will receive your new passport in the mail. Also, expedited services have not resumed unless it is an emergency. Six passport agencies and centers are entering Phase Two and Thirteen agencies and centers have entered Phase One of the Three part process.
Pro Tip: For Fall/Winter 2020, If you do not already have a valid Passport, Do Not book an international vacation. If you have a vacation planned for Spring 2021, I highly recommend that you start the process of getting your passport NOW.
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