Travel questions continue as the new omicron COVID-19 variant causes fresh concerns about spreading illness and tighter border restrictions.
While vacation travel demand generally is lower this time of year, pent-up demand from the pandemic is driving more movement this year.
“This is typically our slow season,” said Chad Cotter, an agent for Cotter Travel. “This year and winter have been very busy and we’ve been having record sales in the travel industry.”
Prague and Rome are top Christmas travel destinations worldwide, as both cities completely transform with elaborate scenes. However, the Czech Republic is at a level-four warning due to COVID-19, meaning “do not travel.”
If someone plans to fly internationally, even when vaccinated, a negative COVID-19 test must be provided within a day of travel. Those who have had COVID-19 within the past 90 days need to show documentation of being recovered.
“Top destinations for people in the United States still continue to be Mexico and the Dominican Republic,” Cotter said. “December prices are normally until you reach Christmas week.”
Departing on Christmas Eve or the day of Christmas will cost on average $400. Flights any other day during the week of the Dec. 21 to 29 will cost about $550.
Gas prices, on the other hand, have the potential to drop below $3 a gallon. Checking gas prices on apps, using fuel point programs and slowing down behind the wheel all can help save a buck when traveling for the upcoming holidays.
“It’s more important than ever to book with a travel agent this year to know about ongoing and new COVID-19 restrictions,” Cotter said. “I also want to urge people to allow more time at the airports because of crowds and airplane police.”
Officials with the Centers for Disease Control still recommend those who are unvaccinated wear a mask when gathering with family and friends. Vaccinations also are being encouraged to protect those who are under 5 and unable to get the vaccine.