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Everything You Need to Know About Planning Your Next Family Vacation

Looking to plunge back into travel with a family trip? Here's how to get started.

Asking a kid to wait is asking a lot. Yet since the start of COVID-19, we’ve had to ask it of them, over and over again. Wait to see friends and family. Wait to go back to school. Wait to play sports, go to concerts, and eat out. Family vacations, stress-relievers we’ve always been able to rely on when nerves start to fray and energy fizzles out, were pushed back or put on hold.

But not any longer.

While safety precautions like mask-wearing and social distancing are still essential, declining numbers of positive cases and rising vaccinations are enabling more and more Americans to finally get back to doing what we love—including travel. When approached responsibly, family vacations can once again be taken safely. By working with a professional travel advisor and ALG Vacations™, you can plan a trip the whole family feels good about taking.

So is now the right time for your family vacation? Here’s what you need to consider.

WHEN TO GO

This year or next? It depends on your comfort level and where you’re looking to go. If you want to stay stateside, now’s an ideal time to visit places like Orlando that will start to gain crowds as restrictions loosen up. The Caribbean and Mexico remain budget-friendly options with smaller zones of contact, since guests typically stay on-resort. Summertime-favorite Europe could reopen as soon as June, but vaccination will be required.

As for how comfortable you are with traveling, that’s something only you can determine. Currently, the CDC recommends limiting travel to domestic trips, and then just if you’ve been vaccinated; nonetheless, many travelers have decided they feel at ease heading to familiar destinations like Cancun and Punta Cana. Before making any plans, it’s important to have a discussion with your family on how you each feel. If you are ready to travel in the short term, expect to find the best deals, bookable through your advisor, as hotels seek to fill newly available rooms.

Of course, planning further ahead has its own benefits. Family members who are unsure about traveling may feel more peace of mind. Flexible policies and trip insurance, like our Travel Protection Plus plan, provide options in case you need to cancel or change the dates. Booking early also lets you lock in savings that won’t stick around. With prices still some of the best we’ve ever seen, rooms are booking up faster than usual … which means waiting runs the risk of paying more or getting shut out of your top resort. Working with your advisor now for 2022 can secure your space while giving you the time you need to be ready to travel.

VACCINATION STATUS

Although not required by all destinations, travelers who have been vaccinated will find more choices open to them. Since kids under 12 can’t receive a vaccine (Pfizer-BioNtech was granted emergency authorization by the FDA for its vaccine in kids ages 12 – 15 on May 10), what does that mean for family trips?

Many popular vacation spots for families, including Mexico and the Dominican Republic, don’t require vaccination or negative tests for arriving guests. All-inclusives have long been a staple of family getaways, and leading brands like Dreams Resorts & Spas, RIU Hotels & Resorts, and Iberostar Hotels & Resorts have gone above and beyond with their health and sanitation programs, offering free antigen tests—a requirement for anyone 2 years or older flying into the U.S.—and quarantine if needed.

If you’re booking ahead, keep in mind that vaccination limitations could change as soon as this year. Pfizer has already begun a new clinical trial for children as young as six months.

Another factor to note is CDC guidelines. Anyone returning from abroad, vaccinated or not, is encourage to get tested after 3 – 5 days (unnecessary for domestic travel), with non-vaccinated travelers advised to stay at home the week after returning. Check with your workplace and school district before you go to see if they have any restrictions of their own.

HEALTH & SAFETY

Like with any activity during COVID, it’s important to remember that there are some risks, and it’s up to each of us to do our part to keep everyone safe. If you’re traveling outside of the U.S., you’ll need to plan where and when you’ll get your antigen test; your travel advisor can let you know if it’s included in your stay. Though the chance of testing positive is small, it is one you should be prepared for. Advisors can go over any areas of concern, and guide you to the best course of action for your family.

Getting back to normal is still a work in progress. But there’s one thing we can happily check off: family trips no longer have to stay a dream.

Talk to your travel advisor to find out if you're ready to vacation again. They'll be able to guide you every step of the way, and make recommendations that suit your family's needs.

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