The Most Common Mistakes When Traveling Locally in the U.S.
This is an article “The Most Common Mistakes When Traveling Locally in the U.S.” by Marc Pulisci
While the current administration continues to vaccinate at least 70% of the entire population, more tourism destinations within the United States are opening up to local tourists. Given that international travel still has its complications, the next best thing for travel enthusiasts is to explore state-to-state until things return to normal. You could save more money and there would certainly be fewer inconveniences from the many safety protocols still being implemented worldwide.
However, there will always be a few oversights to avoid when you go on holiday. From observing local rules to being respectful to cultures, here are some reminders that you’d want to have on your carry-on before you hit the road:
Check for COVID-19-related requirements
Right now, some stats are different from the others when it comes to completely opening up businesses, including tourism spots. Check if your planned destinations have standing coronavirus-related restrictions in place as most places do and might vary from one another.
Whether you plan to get there by land or air, knowing which checkpoints to tick on the map or what flight rules you’ll have to observe is always going to be your responsibility as a traveler. Sometimes, doing some reading before you pack your bags or listening to the news can prevent you from experiencing major inconveniences that will ruin your vacation plans. From what we’ve learned from COVID-19, there will still be a lot of those.
Some usual things you might want to check are quarantine protocols, swab test requirements, vaccine IDs, and infection guidelines that may still include mask-wearing and social distancing. As of early June, the states that still have some type of travel restrictions in place are California; Connecticut; Illinois; Kansas; Kentucky; Oregon; Rhode Island; Washington D.C.; and Hawaii. These typically involve a 10-day quarantine requirement upon arrival for unvaccinated visitors, with Hawaii implementing a Pre-Travel Testing Program which requires visitors to take the Nucleic Acid Amplification test within three days upon arrival to avoid having longer quarantine periods.
All states still advise travelers to observe Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) guidelines when entering their territories, while some cities may still have their own strict health and safety policies in place depending on how high infection rates are in their area. Regardless of where you’re going, you might as well practice proper hygiene and personal safety measures from now on to avoid any inconvenience during your trip.
Get travel insurance
Most travel enthusiasts would think that travel insurance is necessary for international travel only but many are now thinking twice about securing one for local travel since the pandemic broke out last year. Travel policies can provide ample protection in almost every aspect of travel, including issued flights, weather-related inconveniences, and most importantly, health emergencies.
A travel rewards card can offer certain insurance coverages while some of the biggest credit card companies can only go so far to provide better health insurance. If you ever find yourself immobile and need emergency transportation to your local hospital, your rewards points won’t be able to cover the expenses the way a travel insurance policy can.
The U.S. tourism area is vast and having proper travel insurance gives you the security of exploring new places and activities in a more cost-efficient manner than just leaving everything to chance.
Book a trip with a travel agent
Travel agents know best and since U.S. tourism is only opening up again after the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s always best to consult one when planning to travel cross-country. In fact, one of the biggest mistakes you can commit right now is going about your itineraries alone and not booking your trips with travel advisors.
Regardless of how well-traveled you are, these experts know best because they know how to deal with a range of traveler types that help them make informed recommendations. They know the best promotions which can get you free room upgrades, refunds, or the best tour deals so you can enjoy inexpensive travel packages as you go from state to state.
Travel agents can also help you fast track your required health forms and other such COVID-19 paperwork and also place your safety as top priority, especially these days. Travel group Time and Travel, Ltd., for example, has been active in sending clients requirements just to ensure that proper safety is observed no matter where they go. The problem is that most travel agencies right now have suffered a great deal from all the lockdowns and travel bans of last year.
Fortunately, the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) has already requested the government for a grant program that will help these small agencies (which are mostly led by women entrepreneurs) curb their respective operational expenses and provide ample services for their clients.
Respect local traffic ordinances
When we say local traffic ordinances, that mostly means observing the proper speed limits which may differ from state to state. For example, you can’t go over 80 miles per hour when you’re in Montana, while some areas in American Samoa impose as low as a 30miles per hour maximum. Most interstate highways in the country can have an average speed limit of 65 to 70 miles per hour, but you’d be better off checking local traffic laws and ordinances to avoid getting pulled over.
Incurring hefty fines out of state can greatly hamper your vacation and you can easily avoid them by simply respecting the local rules, being observant of road signs, and using mobile apps like Waze to guide you during your travels. You might also want to check out existing laws against the use of smartphones or other mobile devices while driving.
This year, a few updates on traffic rules have been released by The Press-Enterprise’s On The Road web page, including new legislations on the use of smartphones while driving that can get you more points against your driving record. To be safer, get a hands-free system installed in your rental car if you have to use your mobile phone frequently wherever you are.
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