AAA Travel Update: Masks, Cruising and the Return to Europe

May 24, 2021 at 07:00 am by WGNS

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New travel opportunities and destinations seem to be emerging by the day, especially for Americans with a desire for international travel.

- Wednesday, the European Union agreed to ease COVID-19 travel restrictions, which would allow Americans to more easily visit top destinations like Athens, London, Paris and Amsterdam. A specific date has yet to be determined.

- Travel to Italy is also reopening for Americans who fly in from select US airports. These travelers would not have to quarantine if they meet Covid test requirements.

- European river cruise itineraries are now being confirmed for June and July.

"Some of the world's top destinations are reopening their doors, delighting both travelers and travel providers alike," said Debbie Haas, Vice President of Travel for AAA - The Auto Club Group. “Announcements like these help us begin to realize the possibilities of traveling this summer, which we've all missed over the past year.”

“Still, with so much pent-up travel demand and limited supply, it's more important than ever to work with a travel advisor like the ones at AAA,” Haas continued. “Opportunities are changing by the day and expert travel advisors can help you navigate through the options and any requirements in place. Time is of the essence. If you're thinking about traveling, just remember, lots of other people are too."

CDC Unmasks More Travel Potential

Last week’s CDC decision to ease mask mandates in the US could create even more optimism among Americans, who were already motivated by widespread vaccinations. Because of this, travel volumes could exceed AAA’s initial forecast of 37 million American travelers this Memorial Day. However, travelers should know that Americans are still required to wear masks on public transportation like trains, planes and when traveling through airports. Travelers can see how Covid restrictions could impact their trip by visiting

Positive Currents for Cruising

Major cruise liners are still awaiting the green light to resume cruising from US ports. Current guidance allows ships to operate with a limit of 200 passengers. Some cruise lines with larger ships are operating out of non-US ports. Even as an official return to sail date remains unclear, Americans are booking cabins where they can.

“Cruise bookings with AAA for 2022 are significantly stronger than what we saw in 2019,” Haas continued. “As cruising comes back, the main challenge will be finding the cabin of your choice. We recommend booking early to secure your spot on the ship.”

While cruise lines hope to get back up and running soon, they likely won’t launch their full fleets until next year. New cruise itineraries are constantly being updated, which reemphasizes the value of working with a travel professional. 

Whatever your plans, AAA encourages you to consider travel insurance. There are various coverage options to protect your health and financial investments from unexpected circumstances before and during your trip. If there’s anything the pandemic has taught us, it’s that you have to be prepared for the unexpected. 

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