American Express Travel: Tips for Safer Travel and COVID-19

Now more than ever, you may be ready to escape from it all with a great vacation. American Express Travel has compiled COVID-19 travel tips and resources to help
get you started. 

A couple sitting in an airport wearing face masks

Whether you're thinking about exploring the great outdoors, relaxing on the beach, or just planning an upcoming holiday getaway—traveling is on a lot of people's minds but, chances are, you also have a lot of questions before you're ready to book your next vacation. While the travel situation is ever-changing, we've compiled the latest information, resources and helpful travel tips to help keep you feeling comfortable and confident about your upcoming travel experience.

How to Stay Informed When Traveling 

Staying updated during your travels is the first step to a positive vacation experience. Using reliable COVID-19 resources is the place to start, as this gives you information about situations in various locales, as well as travel advisories, specific travel restrictions and more:

 

 

 Andaz Scottsdale Resort

Booking Hotels 

Now that you have the specific location information you need, it's important to find out what changes to expect when you arrive at your hotel. For example, many hotel properties continue to update their COVID-19 health and safety information, as well as other travel guidelines. From access to dining and attractions, to available amenities, to hours of operation, to cancellation policies – be sure to have a good understanding of what to expect to avoid any confusion. You can also contact your hotel directly to see how they are focusing on guest safety, which may include increased disinfection and cleaning, plexiglass barriers at check-in, contactless payment and more. You can find information directly from most of the hotels we work with, including Hilton and Marriott, or choose from a dropdown list here.

Booking Air Travel

If you're thinking about booking a flight for your upcoming trip, be sure to review the policies of your airline of choice. Airlines update information on a regular basis. You can check your specific airline's policies directly, including those from major carriers like Delta Air LinesAmerican Airlines and United Airlines. You can also select your airline from a list here to view the latest health, travel hygiene and safety policy information.

A woman wearing a face mask on an airplane
Two people kayaking on a lake

Booking Cruises, Tours, Car Rentals and Beyond

Much like hotels and airlines, you need to stay in-the-know if you've booked a car rental, a tour package, or are hoping to take a cruise again soon. Major cruise lines like Celebrity, Princess and Holland America, for example, are evolving their practices to promote public health. The same is true with major tour providers like Abercrombie & Kent and Kensington. You can select from a dropdown list of our travel partners here to find out more information.  

 

 

Be Prepared

In some cities and countries around the globe, showing proof of vaccination is critical to doing virtually everything – from traveling, to booking hotels, to going out to eat. And depending on where you were vaccinated, how you're able to show proof of vaccination will vary. For instance, if you were vaccinated in New York, you can gain access to a scannable personal QR code on Excelsior Pass that shows your status. Likewise, if you were vaccinated in California, you can use the state's My Vaccination Record to show proof of vaccination. Clear, CommonPass and VeriFly also offer ways for users to show proof of vaccination. However, if you're not comfortable using an app, you should be prepared to show your CDC-issued COVID-19 vaccination record. Or, if you're traveling internationally, be sure to bring your country-issued vaccination record with you.

 

In addition to vaccination records, it's important to understand the testing and quarantine requirements for the airlines or travel services you're using, as well as the countries you're traveling between. (The State Department provides information on testing requirements for entry into the U.S., as well as country-specific requirements for travel abroad).

International Flights

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the risk of COVID-19 transmission in an airplane cabin environment – even on long international flights – is relatively low for several reasons, including the use of on-board HEPA filters, refreshed cabin air 20-30 times per hour, and the position of passengers. To make travel even smoother, be sure you know the COVID-19 policies of each international country and airline before you fly – and have your basic international travel documents in order. Be prepared to show the following:

  • Proof of citizenship, such as a government-issued photo ID and birth certificate with raised seal – or a valid passport. (Tip: Apply for your passport well in advance of your international travel date. U.S. Passport Offices are experiencing backlogs that are causing major processing delays.)
  • Travel visa, if required by the country you are visiting.
  • Customs declaration form, provided by flight attendants.

Travel Flexibility

These days, plans can change quickly – from borders closing to your personal comfort level and COVID-19 status. In order to help you make plans while still having the option to change those plans, many airlines and hotels have relaxed their cancellation and modification policies. For details, check out our Travel FAQs.

Consider Your Destination

Big cities like Paris, London, Rome, New York and Tokyo will always be popular, but these days, national park road trips, beach destinations, mountain retreats and even cities with wide-open spaces are proving more popular than ever. But as people become more comfortable planning travel experiences, some destinations are beginning to rebound – in terms of popularity.

 

According to HospitalityNet, the most popular winter destinations for Americans include: 

  • New York City, New York
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Key West, Florida
  • Miami Beach, Florida
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Anaheim, California
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Savannah, Georgia

Meanwhile, HospitalityNet reports that the top 10 fastest-growing vacation destinations for Americans (from fall 2021 to winter 2021) are:

  • Paris, France
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Rome, Italy
  • Naples, Italy
  • Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Islands
  • Soufriere, St. Lucia
  • Freeport, Maine, United States
  • St. John's, Antigua
  • San Pedro, Belize
  • Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Regardless of where you travel, whether it's domestically or internationally, just be sure to check the requirements for entrance to the country, as well as to the attractions you're planning to visit. 

 

In addition, to make your trip go even more smoothly, it's important that you don't leave home without the essentials. So, be sure to use a good traveling checklist to help you pack and prepare for your getaway.

Are You Traveling with a Pet?

According to a recent survey, approximately 78% of Americans who have pets travel with them each year. For a pet-friendly vacation experience, keep in mind that travel requirements, costs and policies often change, so check with the airline, the hotel and the country you're traveling to before booking.

One Last Check

Once you've booked your vacation and are ready to travel, it's a good idea to confirm everything one more time before leaving. Here's a brief checklist:

 

  • Check your flight status on your airline's website to find out if it's been delayed or canceled. 
  • See if your airline has added any new, updated advice for travelers.
  • Confirm any destination-specific COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Visit your hotel’s website to find out if there are any new closures or updates that may affect your stay.
 One Last Check

While traveling these days can feel like navigating uncharted territory, knowing the facts can go a long way in keeping you informed and in control for a more relaxed travel experience. With policies and restrictions changing often, we encourage you to check back frequently to stay up-to-date on American Express Travel’ partners’ policies, as well as destination-specific restrictions. If you booked through American Express Travel and have additional Coronavirus questions, feel free to visit us online or call the number on the back of your Card.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

†sherpa and Travel Vitals are third party websites that are provided for informational purposes only; American Express does not (in any manner) verify or guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information provided on those websites; by clicking “Learn More” you will leave AmexTravel.com and be directed to those websites. Always review applicable government websites for travel restrictions and requirements before booking and traveling.