As the saying goes, there’s nothing constant but change. That’s especially true of the travel and hospitality industries these days.

Here’s the latest… 

🆔 REAL ID

The DHS has extended the deadline for U.S. citizens to get their Real ID-compliant driver’s licenses or state ID cards has been postponed from October 1, 2021, to May 3, 2023. However, there’s no time like the present to apply for yours since the demand for travel is quickly increasing. Effective May 2023, U.S. citizens will need to present a Real ID in order to get through TSA security lines at U.S. airports. For more information, check out these FAQs.

😷 COVID-19 UPDATES 

Updated Threat Levels for 80 Countries – Since the CDC and the State Department’s systems of rating travel risks often show conflicting threat levels, travelers have been left scratching their heads about which warnings to heed. On April 19th, the State Department announced that it was adjusting its rating system based on the CDC’s science-based Travel Health Notices that outline current issues affecting travelers’ health.   The result? About 80% of countries will carry the Level 4  “Do not travel” label. 

Although several countries including Iceland, Croatia, Greece, Israel, and the Bahamas are welcoming or about to welcome vaccinated Americans, the State Department still warns Americans to reconsider all travel as the pandemic continues to pose “unprecedented risks” to travelers.

COVID-19 Cases Surge in India – “The Department of State advises that U.S. citizens not travel to the country or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so as the country. “Hospitals are reporting shortages of supplies, oxygen, and beds for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 related patients,” the State Department statement said. “U.S. citizens are reporting being denied admittance to hospitals in some cities due to a lack of space.” The surge in COVID-19 cases 

According to the Associated Press, India set a global record for coronavirus cases, with an average of 350,000 new daily cases over the past week. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, India has reported more than 18 million confirmed cases of the virus as well as at least 204,832 deaths.

Updated CDC Mask Guidelines – The CDC announced that people who are fully vaccinated no longer have to wear masks outdoors.  However, those who have been vaccinated should still wear masks indoors and in areas where social distancing isn’t possible.

✈️​  AIR TRAVEL

American Airlines (AA) – The airline recently introduced 2 new policies – 1 negative, 1 positive:

  • Policy #1: Carryon Bags – AA will start charging passengers a checked bag fee if their carry-on doesn’t fit in the gate-side bag sizer. Exceptions apply to you are an AAdvantage elite member, someone who travels in the premium cabin, or if you hold certain co-branded credit cards.
  • Policy #2: Companion Baby – Parents traveling with an infant under 2 who can sit on their lap during the flight have to pay about 10% of the cost of the parent’s ticket for their child’s ticket. If the parent was upgraded, the child’s ticket cost would go up accordingly. Now, AA will not require parents to pay the higher amount if they are upgraded; the child’s ticket cost will be based on the cost of the parent’s original ticket price. 

🚢​ CRUISING

There’s new hope for cruise lovers. The CDC recently announced that cruise lines may be able to resume sailing in the U.S. by mid-July and bypass the previously required simulated sailing voyages carrying volunteers. This timeline is dependent on how quickly cruise lines can hire crew and make sure they are compliant with the CDC’s Framework for Conditional Sailing Order set forth earlier this year. Testing and quarantine requirements for passengers will be updated soon to align with the CDC’s guidance for fully vaccinated people. 

🏕️ CAMPING 

With more and more people wanting to get back outside, the increasing demand is making it harder and harder to find an available campsite. If you are considering booking a campsite, book as far in advance as possible.

If you’d like to bypass the stress, click here to learn more about different types of camping and for a list of resources to help you find and book a site. 

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