SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — As the Omicron surge continues around the globe, the CDC added another 22 locations to the list of level four countries where travel is not advised due to the increased rate of COVID-19 cases.
Some of these new countries include popular tropical destinations like the Bahamas, which has led to a busy January for area travel consultants.
“They want to travel no matter what at the moment, just to get out of the cold weather and head to Mexico or the Caribbean,” AAA Travel Consultant Terry TenCate said.
But the recent surge in COVID cases is causing some people to change their plans.
“Since the Omicron variant we have seen an uptick in the number of cancellations or deferments of their trips,” TenCate said.
“The cruise was only about a third full, which is unfortunate because they like to have a full cruise, that’s most beneficial to the cruise line. But we had the benefit of excellent service,” South Dakota native Sara Plucker said.
Plucker just returned from a cruise in the Caribbean on Sunday, including a stop to the Bahamas.
“All the countries we went to, everyone still wore masks everywhere we went, even on the cruise, all the crews were required to wear masks inside and outside,” Plucker said.
As a nurse, she was very impressed by the frequent testing and all of the precautions the cruise lines and the island tourist destinations were taking.
“About a week before, they sent out an email that said if you feel uncomfortable in any way and you want to reschedule, you are offered a refund,” Plucker said.
“Basically saying if you need to cancel because you have COVID or whatever the situation may be, they’ll give credit,” TenCate said.
TenCate says during this recent surge many cruise lines, resorts and airlines have once again started offering opportunities to rebook due to COVID, but even during a surge, he says a refund is never a guarantee.
“We highly recommend anywhere outside the United States, please have travel insurance of some type,” TenCate said.
It’s just another precaution people can take to feel confident about travel during the pandemic.
“Enjoy life, go out and have fun, I’m actually going back out to the Bahamas again,” Plucker said.
AAA Travel says you can still choose to travel to a country listed as Level 4, but the requirements to enter or exit countries may be more stringent.
“What we’re seeing is the governments have made some changes, whether they now include the booster as part of the fully vaccinated requirement now,” TenCate said.
TenCate says those requirements change every day for many different countries. It’s why he suggests always working with a travel consultant who will be up to date on the latest COVID travel requirements each individual country may have.