AAA Travel Tips / 5 Essential Travel Tips for 2022

5 Essential Travel Tips for 2022
By Samantha Brown , Host of “Samantha Brown's Places to Love”
March 10, 2022
As you know, the last two years have been a bit challenging, especially for the travel industry. On the bright side, however, we are seeing more and more countries opening borders, inspiring our excitement to reconnect with friends and family again and encouraging us to book those long-awaited vacations. With that in mind, I’ve put together some of my essential travel tips for 2022 to ensure you and your loved ones can travel in confidence and with the safety assurances to help you through your journey.

1. Plan Ahead and Be as Flexible as Possible

If you haven’t taken a trip in a while, then you are probably feeling a bit overwhelmed. I get it. Travel, in general, can feel this way sometimes. This is why understanding what resources have improved and what has been introduced lately can alleviate some of your worries — and you’d be surprised how much has changed! Did you know, for example, that some major airlines have digitized a lot of their pre-travel processes? Many airlines have increased their contactless experiences even further, so that by the time you get to the airport, everything from your passports to your vaccination cards to your COVID-19 test results have already been uploaded and approved online, helping to speed up your check-in process and reducing your time in line.
This is the case for most points of contact now, from renting a car to checking in to some hotels. Before booking, make sure that you have the necessary apps downloaded, and, if necessary, just give yourself a little extra time for flexibility around crowds.
Also, don’t worry too much about booking tours or general attraction tickets too far in advance (unless, of course, they are for high-demand experiences, such as Broadway tickets or theme parks’ exclusive attractions!). Sometimes too much planning can ruin the vibe of spontaneity, which is always fun to keep in mind.

2. Know the Local Rules for Your Intended Destination

In this day and age, every country has a different set of rules and restrictions for travel. On top of that, these rules often change from month to month. For example, if you plan to visit Italy, know that you cannot bring just any old face mask. Italy requires either FFP2 or KN95 masks for indoors, and you must show your vaccine card at most places. But then again, by the time you read this, who knows what changes may have taken place!
But please, don’t add more stress by just guessing and going. In fact, I recommend leaning in for a helping hand, especially if keeping track of all the rules feels overwhelming. For example, use a travel advisor! They do more than just book travel, keeping track of all the moving parts during your trip so you just get to relax. It feels like quite the luxury, something this working mom can certainly appreciate!
I also recommend checking with the U.S. embassy or consulate in your destination. They should all have an up-to-date COVID-19 information page. While you’re there, you should also enroll in their Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This program allows you to receive up-to-date information via email and provides the nearest U.S. embassy with your emergency contact information.

3. Book Refundable Travel

When you begin to book your trips, check the refund policies. Of all my essential travel tips for 2022, this is one of the most important. It’s better to pay a little more to be able to cancel, should something happen.
Remember though, airlines are still not charging change fees, so you can always rebook. That's a savings of $100 on domestic flights or up to $400 for an international ticket. Woo-hoo! (Fingers crossed this continues.)
Any country that requires a PCR or rapid antigen test for COVID-19 usually has a testing window of 72 hours or less, so you won’t know until the very last minute if you need to cancel or reschedule. Nothing feels worse than spending hundreds of dollars on a trip and not being able to go or even recoup your losses!

4. Pick Accommodations That Put Safety First

One thing that COVID-19 exposed is how many hotel cleanliness standards are really not up to par. Now more than ever, it’s important to book accommodations that put safety first. Every booking platform has its own guidelines, but I especially love the thoroughness of the AAA Diamonds standards. When you use AAA’s search platform for hotels, flights, cars and cruises, you’ll know you’re booking the cleanest possible options no matter where you go.
Even before the pandemic, AAA spent over 80 years doing unscheduled hotel inspections with trained experts to ensure all hotels in their database pass a set of stringent standards. It’s clear AAA goes the distance. Click here if you want to know the nitty-gritty about AAA’s Diamond standards.

5. Get Travel Insurance

Last but definitely not least, get travel insurance. This is something I recommend regardless of global circumstances, but it’s especially important these days. Even more important, check the COVID-19 coverage in your travel insurance policy.
For example, Allianz Travel now has an “Epidemic Coverage Endorsement” in specific annual travel insurance plans. This means these plans will cover trip cancellation due to a COVID-19 diagnosis, trip interruption if you are ordered to quarantine, travel delay, emergency medical care and emergency transportation — all the little details you don’t want to be worrying about while enjoying your time away.
And there you have it! My most essential travel tips for 2022.
Happy travels as you explore a new place in this new world and remember, wherever your adventures may take you, don’t forget to make it count!