COVID-19 and Group Travel 2021 – Everything You Need to Know

The return of in-person meetings and foot traffic is well underway worldwide following the vaccine drives in January 2021. However, COVID-19 remains a risk in group settings, especially with the more contagious Delta variant wreaking havoc around the country and reminding people we’re not out of the woods yet.

In this post, we’ll talk about COVID-19 and group travel in 2021, sharing everything travelers need to know before booking group tours and vacations with their friends or families.

What’s Changed in 2021?

The arrival of 2021 has marked a new chapter for group travel during COVID-19. Many Americans are fully vaccinated, and quarantine requirements have eased down in the last few months stateside and abroad. Now, there are over 100 destinations worldwide that have been marked safe for travel by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As a result, both travel companies and travelers are taking full advantage of returning mobility and booking landmark trips and group tours. However, things are still not like they were back in 2019 and people still need to proceed with precaution due to uncertainty – from fluctuating flight schedules and new travel requirements to new safety guidelines and operational changes at vacation spots.

Let’s check out some of the changes we’ve seen so far in 2021:

Travel Documents and Regulations

Passport renewal services for international group tours during COVID-19 have resumed with potential delays depending on your location. For local tours, most states recommend waiting until you’re fully vaccinated. However, you can still travel as long as you follow the CDC’s recommendations for unvaccinated people along with local regulations and business policies.

Regardless of where you’re going, you still need:

  • To wear a face mask, especially when on planes, buses, trains, airports, and stations.
  • To self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and isolate if you develop some.
  • To self-quarantine, if you’re not fully vaccinated or haven’t contracted the virus yet.
  • To check local, state, or territorial travel restrictions, including testing requirements, and quarantine requirements.

Mode of  Travel

Travel has almost returned to normal, even with the Delta variant slowing the pace down. Experts consider driving to be the safest form of transportation for unvaccinated people, especially if you’re headed to a group vacation destination that’s only a day’s drive away. Flying is also safer than it was back in 2020.

However, airlines require passengers to wear masks onboard and limit onboard movements. Traveling by bus with a group may require extra vigilance, especially if you’re unvaccinated, due to simpler ventilation systems. Since June 2021, several cruise lines have commenced summer operations following new CDC guidelines. In this time, many ships have received major makeovers, and hundreds of companies nationwide are offering private yacht and sailboat group tours at discounted prices.

Hotels and Restaurants

With group travel picking up, hotels and lodges are getting busier while hosting thousands of summer guests with upgraded safety measures, such as extra sanitization and indoor mask requirements. The biggest difference is that group vacations will be more comfortable than last summer, thanks to the peace of mind the global vaccination program has provided. Moreover, eating in restaurants is likely fine, depending on where you’re going and your vaccination status. Many group travel vacations companies have taken extra measures to facilitate customers with the best dining options available.

COVID-19 Group travel Vacationing Tips by Expert Travel Consultants

Traveling with friends, family, or a large group can be stressful, especially with the ongoing health crisis. If you’re planning a long-overdue vacation, you must exercise an abundance of caution when booking group tours in cities, mountain ranges, the countryside, or exotic beaches. Here are some tips from expert travel consultants and advisors:

  1. Pack Cleaning Supplies
    While most travel companies will have you sorted, there’s no harm in packing additional COVID-19 protection, such as sanitizers, masks, and small disinfectants, just in case.
  2. Research State and Local Regulations
    Public travel and safety regulations vary from state to state so you should research your destination to ensure you’re fully compliant. For example, Colorado has not issued any travel restriction during the Delta variant outbreak for vaccinated people. However, unvaccinated people must quarantine for a specified period.
  3. Review Lodging Policies
    No matter which group tour package you’re opting for, don’t forget to inquire about specific policies or requirements to ensure compliance and minimize problems.
  4. Travel in Small, Known Groups
    While going on a group vacation is a great way to expand your circle, you should prioritize safety by minimizing exposure and trying to keep the group as small as possible.
  5. Avoid Contact with Others
    Even if you’re fully vaccinated, try to avoid contact with others and wash your hands frequently with water and soap every time you do.

Plan Your Next Group Vacation with Travel’N’Relax

After a forgettable 2020, we finally have the chance to connect with people in person without living in fear, thanks to the vaccine rollout. Therefore, group tours and vacations are rapidly surging nationwide with thousands of people planning their destination weddings, long overdue outdoor adventures, ocean & river cruises, and honeymoon getaways, etc.

At Travel’N’Relax, we help like-minded people relax and unwind by offering great group travel deals while taking care of all the details and planning. This way, you can write your new life stories during the pandemic with your favorite peers or new friends and make your experience one in a million.

Tips for Booking Group Vacations

There’s nothing quite like traveling with the people you love. Getting to see beautiful new sights, try exotic and delicious new foods and drinks, experience local customs and excitement – all of it is better when you have a friend with you. Better yet, keep the fun rolling when you travel with a bunch of friends, otherwise known as group traveling.

Sharing journeys and making memories with friends is one of the greater gifts in life. However, take it from any group travel agent, things can quickly and easily go awry when you try to plan a vacation with a number of people. Everyone has different taste, preferences, budgets, wants and needs. Trying to balance all of that while in a new place can be stressful at a minimum and a nightmare in its worst iterations.

Rather than having a massive fight and blowout during the trip, or even before it stats, plan ahead to ensure smooth sailing, or flying if you aren’t going on a cruise, and heed these words of wisdom from Denver travel agents that have seen it all and know how to mitigate any troubles.

Agree on a location

Obviously this is the first thing you should all do if you decide to travel as a unit. Oftentimes, people default to majority rules, but that will often leave one to a few people left out and bummed out about the choice. Always be open to suggestion and compromise. Consider one location for this trip, and a different one to give the others a chance to take the lead. Even if you all agree on location, the net big concern is money.

Set a budget

Some people like to live lavishly when they travel and stay in five star hotels, throwing their credit cards around for the finer things in life to feel pampered. Others might want to take a more modest and conservative approach and spend their funds on other endeavors. Set the budgets ahead of time so no one feels uncomfortable later. Make sure everyone is willing to pitch in on essentials, such as accommodations and groceries for group meals; feel free to discuss optional activities that people can opt out of if it isn’t for them.

Let the planner take the reigns

Every group has that one friend that loves to plan every minute of every day. Let them be in charge of booking and making decisions to make things easier, assuming everyone else is on board with that hierarchy. There’s nothing worse than 5 friends arguing about where to eat for dinner at 8pm when you’re all already famished from a full day of activities.

Book flights and hotels early

Waiting till the last minute means you’ll be greeted with sky high airline fares and top dollar per-night charges for hotel rooms. By booking in advance, you can lock in low rates, meaning more money for the important actives and meals.

Collect shares before confirming bookings

There’s nothing worse than spending hundreds to thousands of dollars on a big excursion to have people back out last minute, driving up the cost for everyone else. Before you hit confirm on some plane tickets, or a hotel website, make sure you receive everyone’s payments. This way, if people find out that they need to back out, you have time to come up with a backup plan. Additionally, agree as a group that deposits are non-refundable to avoid any headaches later.

Enjoy your vacation

Don’t hesitate to break off from the group for a little solo adventure; don’t forget, this is your vacation as much as it is the group’s! Explore on your own if you have the energy, but everyone else is feeling a bit worn out from travel, or from an earlier activity. Don’t miss out on something you want just because the others don’t want to go.

We’ve got plenty more expert travel agent tips to help you make an unforgettable trip (and not an unforgettable nightmare). Contact us today for help with planning your group vacation and we’ll be happy to assist.