As pandemic continues, local travel agency sees more travelers staying in the US

Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 12:18 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Tuesday was National Plan for a Vacation Day, and while it’s only January, it’s not too early to plan.

The Wishing Well travel agency in Harrisonburg is seeing more people ready to book a trip, but many are finding hidden gem destinations across the United States or within driving distance, and prefer to book domestically due to everchanging COVID-19 guidance and restrictions.

“Travel is still a very fluid situation. We still see restrictions move day to day and week to week,” Terrie Dean, co-owner of the Wishing Well, said. “They are modified as necessary as COVID-19 increases in certain areas or decreases.”

To travel internationally, Dean said there is some extra paperwork and COVID-19 testing that still needs to be done, which leaves some travelers hesitant they will test positive and need to quarantine.

But if you want to plan a getaway, Dean suggests planning ahead at least six months in advance. She said a challenge has been things booking up quickly.

“The availability of where you might want to go might not be there if you wait until three months to go beforehand,” Dean said. “The international destinations, not as much of a problem, but here domestically, you can bet you’re going to have a problem if you want till three months before.”

Another challenge facing the travel industry continues to be staffing shortages at hotels, resorts, cruise lines and airlines.

“They are not all operating at 100% capacity and COVID is still wreaking havoc in the industry, but we’re dealing with it,” Dean said. “People are learning new ways to adjust and they are more accepting of the new travel habits and protocols.”

On Monday, the CDC added five more Caribbean island destinations to its highest level of travel risk for COVID-19: the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Saint Barthélemy, and Saint Martin.

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