Travel industry takes a hit; some eager to travel again

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- It is no surprise that the travel industry has taken a hit during the pandemic, but whether people are ready to get back to traveling is uncertain.

Travel agents around Michiana said the travel industry has taken a hit like never before.

“The travel industry has never experienced anything like this ever,” Kimberly Brooks said, Discovery Travel.

As a travel consultant during the pandemic, times have been wavering.

“It’s been interesting,” Teri Gordon said, travel consultant, Rejuvia Vacation Club. “A lot of clients have had to cancel trips for different reasons.”

Other people, however, are ready to go and look forward to take that next trip.

“Phones have started ringing again and people are looking to go somewhere, mostly domestic,” Gordon said.

“We’re kind of confident, but we were kind of feeling guilty even trying to sell travel during the hectic time because how can anybody think about going out and enjoying themselves on a cruise ship when there are still quarantined cruise ships out there,” Brooks said.

The uncertainty of people shows, with a lot travelers still hesitant to go too far.

“I’ve got a lot of clients driving this year,” Gordon said. “They’re not going to fly, they’re going to do the rest of the vacation with us.”

Some people are looking at booking trips to the Carribean, as well, according to Gordon. So far, national parks have been a hit with people even opting to take domestic cruises instead of heading overseas, according to Gordon.

Still, people are going to have wavering opinions on whether now is the time to book a trip.

“If you’re not comfortable, then don’t go,” Gordon said. “The people that are comfortable can go and enjoy the experience.”

For some families, the pandemic is not going to stop them from traveling to their favorite hotspots.

“You’ve got your die hard Disney fans who are going to go,” Gordon said. “Do what you’re comfortable with. If you think that you’re not comfortable with going somewhere and trusting that things are going to be the way you want them then this may not be the year, let’s wait a year.”

Many people may wait to travel until fall, which could be a good time to go as more places open up, according to Gordon.

If you are planning to take a trip, make sure you pay close attention to the destination because some popular spots will require 14-day quarantine, according to Gordon.

There are also a lot of changes coming to the travel experience. One change people will notice is the amount of liquid travelers can bring on the plane.

One 12-oz bottle of hand sanitizer will now be allowed.

“Everybody wants to provide a safe travel experience,” Julie Curtis said, Vice President of Marketing & Air Service Development.

To provide a safe travel experience means travelers will see changes at the airport.

At the South Bend International Airport, everyone will be required to wear a face covering over your nose and mouth, while still maintaining social distancing.

Another way to minimize contact while at the airport is to use the mobile boarding apps on personal devices, that way travelers can get the boarding pass online and even pay for a check bag—all while skipping the check-in counter, according to Curtis.

More people are starting to travel and that number is expected to increase, according to Curtis.

Gordon encouraged people to get to the airport early because changes will be coming to TSA.

“People think people aren’t traveling, they can get there late,” Gordon said. “TSA is going touchless, so you’re going to have to hold your boarding pass, hold your ID for them. Then, if they see something in your bag, they’re going to send you out of line to go fix what’s in your bag and then go get back in line and come back through TSA.”

Gordon highly recommended that anyone planning to take a trip to get travel insurance and protect the trip.

The cost of insurance will vary based on a number of factors, such as age and type of trip, but it is well worth it, according to Gordon.

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