Canadians anxious to travel south this winter face more complex travel restrictions
TORONTO -- Now that the federal government is no longer advising against non-essential travel, more Canadians are thinking of taking a winter getaway down south.
Millions of Canadians put off their annual vacations to Mexico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic last winter.
“I think people have been waiting a long time for travel to open up and people are excited to start dreaming about booking trips,” said Kaitlynn Furse, Director of Corporate Communications with CAA.
If you do decide to book a winter getaway, you'll want to do your research to have the proper documents, COVID-19 tests and travel and medical insurance so you don't get turned back at the airport.
“We just want to reinforce to travellers that you still need to be mindful of the risks of travelling internationally at this time," said Furse.
CAA said it's important to research the destination’s COVID-19 situation before booking to understand the type, timing and cost of COVID-19 tests thatmay be required, which can cost between $40 to $200 each.
Confirm your ticket's change, cancellation or refund policies in case of a disruption on your trip and buy travel insurance and understand what is covered.
Due to the pandemic, it's also recommended to purchase trip cancellation insurance.
"It's never been more important because things are so complex and ever changing, having a little more protection in case you do run into a problem can offer you more protection," said Furse.
Popular destinations for Canadians include Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Mexico, and the Travel Industry Council of Ontario (TICO) said many resorts are expecting Canadians tourists this winter.
"I know in speaking with tourist boards in the Caribbean, they are all preparing themselves for the influx of Canadians this winter," said Richard Smart, CEO of TICO.
TICO said that because of the added documentation, research and COVID-19 protocols to deal with, it advises that to avoid disappointment on a trip you should only deal with a registered TICO travel agent.
"It's now more important than ever for consumers to use a registered travel agency and travel advisor" said Smart.
You can find travel advice through TICO’s website.
Travellers are also advised to check between their booking and departure dates to make sure the pandemic has not changed or disrupted their travel plans.
You'll want to allow for extra time throughout the travel process and while some people like to "completely unplug" while on vacation, that's not recommended now as it’s best to monitor travel advisories in case something changes.