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Spring travel plans in limbo for millions of Americans

When will it be safe to book cruises and international flights?
Posted at 11:19 AM, Sep 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-21 11:52:04-04

Back during the initial COVID-19 shutdown in March, many of us assumed things would be back to normal by the start of next year.

It was our pandemic travel dream: The virus would disappear, and travel to Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean and Europe would be safe again by Jan. 1, 2021.

It's not looking that way.

Carnival Cruise Lines is again pushing back its return to cruising from September to November and now says many of its United States-based shipsmay not sail again until spring.

Carnival restarted limited cruising in Italy, but most American travelers cannot fly there to take a cruise.

Even European travel guru Rick Steves doesn't want to travel now, saying he does not want to have to quarantine for 14 days when he gets to a new country.

Besides, Canada and most European countries are still not welcoming Americans except in rare instances, and they don't know when they will.

Spring breaks already on hold

Where are we going for spring break? Maybe nowhere. If you have been cooped up for six months, that stinks.

A growing number of colleges are already canceling spring break to prevent thousands of students congregating in Panama City Beach, Florida, and other common party destinations, where they could potentially catch COVID-19 and bring it back to campus.

However, travel agents say there's one thing already booking up: Beach houses, from travelers using vouchers from last year's canceled trips.

What you can do

So what options do you have?

If you don't mind waiting, you may want to see what happens with a vaccine and the virus in general this holiday season.

If it looks like the virus is disappearing, or if a vaccine starts becoming available, that may be your cue to book that big spring or summer vacation.

Until then, reserving a flight to Mexico or Europe right now remains a leap of faith. And trying to get a refund if you need to cancel will be as frustrating as trying to get a refund this past spring.

Until a vaccine is in widespread use and air and cruise ship travel feels safe again, many travelers will likely stick to road trips.

And so our 2021 travel plans, and great hopes for summer travel next year, remain in limbo.

As always, don't waste your money.


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