Everything you need to know about this summer’s travel bans

summer travel bans

Everyone wants to know where they can — and can’t — go this summer. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a list with everything you need to know about this summer’s travel bans?

Well, ahem, now there is.

To get an idea of how difficult it is to tell if you can, or can’t, travel, consider what happened to Barbara Glavish. All she wanted to do was visit her family in Australia and New Zealand.

Between news reports, the State Department advisories and the information published online by the governments of Australia and New Zealand, it wasn’t easy to tell if she could go. But then the countries took decisive action in March.

“Australia and New Zealand closed their borders,” says Glavish, a retired occupational therapist from Incline Village, Nev. “And they’re still closed.”

That’s when Glavish canceled.

“I’m hoping to make the trip maybe next May,” she says. “I have airline vouchers good through December 2021 and plan to use those for my rebooking.”

Yes, it’s an upside-down summer for travel

This sure is an upside-down summer, isn’t it? Yesterday, I did something I thought I would never do: I wrote a column in USA Today urging people to cancel their summer vacations. All of them. But people still have travel plans, and travel questions. How did you find out about the bans? Can you get around the bans — and should you try? And what steps should you take if your travel is banned?

“Travelers should be aware of travel restrictions when planning summer travel,” says Jaimie Meyer, a Yale Medicine infectious disease specialist. “While the E.U. may be barring U.S. citizens from entering while there is ongoing high-level disease transmission in the U.S., even travel within the U.S. may be restricted.”

How to find out about your summer travel ban

Here’s where to find out if travel is banned or restricted:

International travel restrictions

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map lists every country’s entry and exit requirements for COVID. Light blue means fewer restrictions; darker blue means more restrictions. Click on the country to get details. Visaguide.world also has a helpful map of coronavirus restrictions.

European travel restrictions

If you’re headed to Europe, you’ll want to bookmark the European Commission page on Europe’s entry requirements. I’ll save you the trouble: You can’t go if you’re based in the United States. America still has too many COVID cases. But check back later this summer to see if that changes.

U.S. travel restrictions and quarantine requirements

There’s no federal clearinghouse for state quarantines. However, the National Governors Association has a page with quarantine and closure information. Private companies have also stepped up to provide travel restriction information. Metasearch site Kayak publishes one of the most reliable maps of summer travel bans. It also includes an updated list of all states and their quarantine requirements. This information is incredibly difficult to keep up to date. Each state has its quarantine requirements or recommendations for incoming visitors across state lines. For that information, you have to find the state requirements. (Here’s New Jersey’s, for example.)

Attractions and monument closures

If you want to know if an attraction is open, there’s a site for that. The travel site Headout has compiled a list of 800 attractions on its Global Travel Reopening Tracker. Want to know if the Empire State Building is open? Or Yellowstone National Park? This site will tell you. “We strongly believe that access to high quality and live data that informs and educates the public is the key to building consumer confidence,” Headout CEO Varun Khona told me. (Of course, you can always check the attraction’s site, which will have that information, too.)

COVID spread at your destination

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers information about whether it’s safe to go. To find out about the COVID situation in the state you plan to visit, check out the CDC’s COVID Data Tracker map. Also, review the CDC’s travel advisory and information section.

What do you do if you’re barred

Here’s a common question that travelers like Glavish have: What if my destination is closed? She canceled her flight and accepted the credit, but if you wait until the airline cancels, you may be able to get a full refund.

Glavish didn’t have to worry about accommodations because she planned to stay with her family. But hotel refunds can be tricky, with some properties unwilling to offer full refunds. At my consumer advocacy nonprofit, we’ve had to advise some travelers to take up the matter with their credit card companies. A chargeback is sometimes — but not always — successful.

“For the travelers whose plans have been blocked because of the ban, I would look into moving your trip to next summer when we are hopeful things will open up again,” says Julie Banning, a travel advisor with Embark Beyond. “Most countries want to welcome you and are flexible on changing your dates to a future visit.”

No one wants to give up their vacation. There’s so much talk about “compromise” vacations — either a staycation or a short driving trip. But even a camping trip to the mountains has its risks — now more than ever.

Can you get around the summer travel bans?

There are workarounds. For example, Ireland and the U.K. don’t have travel bans for Americans, but they do have strictly enforced quarantine requirements. Jonathan Epstein, CEO of Celebrated Experiences, says there’s an opportunity for savvy Americans to enjoy Europe this summer.

“Many schools will have remote learning, and many parents do not need to work from offices,” he explains. “Therefore, they can travel to these destinations, quarantine at a hotel or residence for two weeks, and then have an enriching, extended stay and cultural experience.”

For example, an American family can live near Killarney National Park in a two- or four-bedroom home. Others with higher budgets can even rent a castle or manor house for weeks at a time. Others may choose to move from location to location and have varied experiences. Because of the time difference, you can spend the morning hiking, fishing, kayaking, or visiting museums. Then, in the afternoon, school and work can begin.

“Obviously, this is not for everyone,” he adds.

There are other ways around the summer travel bans and quarantines. In the United States, quarantines for travelers coming across state lines aren’t strictly enforced. Instead, authorities generally urge travelers to take “personal” responsibility for others’ safety by submitting to a 14-day quarantine. (You have to search hard to find the punishment for violating quarantine and even harder to find many examples of people who fell afoul of the rules.)

Getting around the bans for an overseas trip is more complicated. There’s been some online chatter about people entering Europe via a third country, but every expert I speak with says that’s a terrible idea.

“Trying to dodge travel bans is somewhat unethical,” warns Ralph Cope, a travel consultant and adventure tour guide based in Italy. “Travel bans are in place to protect the local population and limit their exposure to a potentially lethal virus.”

What if you can’t travel?

Any definitive guide to summer travel bans will make you consider canceling your summer vacation. And maybe your fall vacation and your holiday getaway, too.

So what if you can’t go? You’ll have to cancel or reschedule. And that might be a real hassle, says Shylar Bredewold, owner of Odyssean Travel.

“This summer’s travel restrictions can bring more headaches for consumers,” he says.

For example, if you cancel a flight, you might be entitled to a flight credit from a U.S. airline. But your hotel may not be as forgiving and could decide to keep your deposit or charge you for the full amount.

His advice? If you’ve purchased a package tour, just wait. “If you cancel your flights today for an October departure, you risk loss based on the terms you agreed to at the time of initial purchase,” he says. But if government restrictions force a cancellation, the tour operator might be more flexible, and possibly offer a full refund.

Stay home this summer

If there’s no definitive guide to summer travel bans, it’s because the restrictions are changing so quickly. But one thing is unlikely to change. With COVID cases rising, travel remains risky. You should carefully consider any travel plans before you commit to a summer vacation. Listen to the experts and think about your safety and the safety of those around you.

And remember, there’s only one way to avoid a travel ban this summer: Stay home.

Posted in Smart Consumer Tagged , , ,

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can’t. He’s the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes weekly columns for King Features Syndicate, USA Today, and the Washington Post. If you have a consumer problem you can’t solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

Underwritten by

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by AirportParkingReservations.com

With nearly 20 years in the industry, over 128 airport covered in the U.S. and Canada, and over 1,000 Hotel and Parking Partners-we provide travelers the best options on how to get to the airport when flying. Whether you want to; drive yourself and park near an Airport (Airport Parking), stay the night before your flight at an airport hotel and leave your car (Hotel and Parking Package), or take a shared Shuttle/Private Car/Limo to the Airport- we got you covered. The best deals can be found online, and booking a reservation has never been easier. You can explore all of our options by visiting us at AirportParkingReservations.com, ParkSleepFly.com, AirportParking.com, and ShuttleFinder.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Generali Global Assistance

Generali Global Assistance has been a leading provider of travel insurance and other assistance services for more than 25 years. We offer a full suite of innovative, vertically integrated travel insurance and emergency services. Generali Global Assistance is part of The Europ Assistance (EA) Group, who pioneered the travel assistance industry in 1963 and continues to be the leader in providing real-time assistance anywhere in the world, delivering on our motto – You Live, We Care.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Seven Corners

Seven Corners has helped customers all over the world with travel difficulties, big and small. As one of the few remaining privately owned travel insurance companies, Seven Corners provides insurance plans and 24/7 travel assistance services to more than a million people each year. Because we’re privately held, we can focus on the customer without the constraints that larger companies have. Visit Seven Corners to learn more.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. Learn more at Sodexoinsights.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelex Insurance Services

Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. We offer comprehensive travel insurance plans with optional upgrades allowing travelers to customize the plans to fit their needs. Compare plans, get a quote and buy online at Travelexinsurance.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Insuremyrentalcar.com

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at  Mediacomcable.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Arch RoamRight

Arch RoamRight is one of the fastest growing, most-highly rated travel insurance companies in the United States. Travel advisors love working with us, and travelers feel protected with our trip cancellation and travel medical insurance coverage. We also make it easy to file a claim online with our fast, paperless claims website. Learn more about RoamRight travel insurance.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit  Virtuoso.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

VisitorsCoverage is one of the world’s most trusted providers of travel insurance for millions of global travelers in over 175 countries. Working with top-rated travel insurance partner providers, VisitorsCoverage’s award-winning search, compare and purchase technology simplifies the travel insurance process and finds the best deals for the coverage you need to explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at VisitorsCoverage.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. Elliott.org readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by TravelInsurance.com

TravelInsurance.com makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at  TravelInsurance.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on  Squaremouth.com to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, SinglesCruise.com, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Generali Global Assistance

Generali Global Assistance has been a leading provider of travel insurance and other assistance services for more than 25 years. We offer a full suite of innovative, vertically integrated travel insurance and emergency services. Generali Global Assistance is part of The Europ Assistance (EA) Group, who pioneered the travel assistance industry in 1963 and continues to be the leader in providing real-time assistance anywhere in the world, delivering on our motto – You Live, We Care.

%d bloggers like this: