ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the average for new COVID-19 infections has doubled in the last month. As more travelers hit the roads, rails, and airways, health experts predict another uptick in case numbers this summer as immunity from vaccines wanes.
Even with rising case numbers, many people are eager to get back to making bit summer plans, which is the main reason that travel bookings started climbing dramatically at the beginning of the year.
However, despite easing pandemic restrictions, the American Automobile Association (AAA) and Roanoke Valley travel agents recommend taking some extra steps before packing your bags.
A Roanoke Uber driver, Ebdulfadah Diljo, makes frequent stops at the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport.
“Most people wear their masks, but some say that for breathing, it’s no good,” he said.
Diljo says he’ll be picking up and dropping off all summer as plenty of travelers board their flights.
Before passengers hop on planes, though, AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesperson Morgan Dean highly recommends doing research on any coronavirus restrictions in your travel desination, especially if it’s outside of the country.
“The more information a traveler knows before they ever leave, the better off they are,” said Dean.
Although some restrictions are lifted, there’s still a lot of uncertainty out there. Dean says travelers insurance is the way to go when it comes to booking your trip.
“If there’s something that disrupts that, be another climb in cases or something else out of your control, that could be a way for you to get back some of the money for that trip,” he said.
It can be a lot to keep up with planning your actual vacation. He says that’s the purpose of travel agents.
According to Carrie Overstreet, a Roanoke Valley travel consultant with MousePros Travel Agency who specializes in Disney and Universal Studios destinations, ” We have seen more people are starting to use travel agents because they know, especially things like cruises, there are so many COVID restrictions still on cruise lines that they’re very afraid of ‘what happens if I get to the port and I do test positive?'”
Overstreet tells WFXR News she’s seen an increase in people booking flights out of Roanoke for this summer and even for the summer of 2023. She says she’s also noticed that many families have less concerns about COVID-19, but it’s her job to inform them of any changes.
“A lot of people don’t realize that we’re here and we’re free to use, that our services are complimentary,” said Overstreet. “So that’s one thing that I would definitely want everyone to know.”
Overstreet says the main reason she’s seen Virginians canceling trips now is high gas prices. Some of those people are turning to other means of transportation or booking shorter trips.
You can check out the latest travel guidelines from the CDC by following this link.