There’s no denying it’s been a tall challenge this past year getting anywhere, driving, flying, or cruising. This viral cloud has lingered much longer than expected and continues to rattle cages, from seasoned travelers to medical experts. So what’s a journey hungry human to do? First, let’s get our docs in a row…
Check that passport validity ~ Most countries require minimum 6 months validity beyond visit dates. With the recent $20 increase, renewals are up to $130, for first timers, $165. While processing times have improved to 2-4weeks turnaround, apply early to avoid delays. See https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports.html
Skip the security line ~ Got multiple trips on the horizon? Save time with TSA Pre-Check, $75/5years for domestic travel, enjoy shorter waits at security checkpoints. Better yet, for $25 more, apply for Global Entry to include international travel. USA re-entry is a snap with quick kiosk processing at US Customs. Go to https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry/how-apply
COVID – If you’ve been COVID positive or recently recovered prior to an intended trip, you must obtain “Documentation Of Recovery” from a licensed physician. Given that positive test results frequently occur 90days after infection, this is a must for travel. Per CDC: If you have had a positive viral test on a sample taken during the past 90 days, and you have met the criteria to end isolation, you may travel instead with your positive viral test results and a signed letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official that states you have been cleared for travel. The positive test result and letter together are referred to as “documentation of recovery.” A letter from your healthcare provider or a public health official that clears you to end isolation, e.g., to return to work or school, can be used to show you are cleared to travel, even if travel isn’t specifically mentioned in the letter. The letter must have information that identifies you personally (e.g., name and date of birth) that matches the personal identifiers on your passport or other travel documents. The letter must be signed and dated on official letterhead that contains the name, address, and phone number of the healthcare provider or public health official who signed the letter.
Get a Lyft? Or park? With fewer drivers across the US, ridesharing services are being reported as unreliable and expensive, especially if inclement weather prevails. Rethink airport parking. Rates have dropped at numerous locations to entice travelers to park and fly. Our local RDU airport garage is now $15-$22/day for prepaid parking, an easy 5-10 minute walk to terminals with offsite parking as low as $10/day.
Then – get off the sidelines and plan a trip! Waiting may be expensive. Airfares are rising along with hotels experiencing higher costs for labor and goods. With proper planning and professional assistance, there’s a trip for most reasonable budgets. Various far flung destinations can be a complex tangle of rules; regulations change abruptly as COVID cases spike and drop. Good news is there remain numerous destinations to experience and enjoy. Let’s put some pins on our travel maps!
“A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships were built for.”
– John A. Shedd