Get out there: Local travel professionals share their post-pandemic travel advice

Dubrovnik, Croatia. Stock photo

The world is opening up again, and travel has never been easier—or more desperately needed—since COVID-19 restrictions have relaxed around the world. inRegister asked three Baton Rouge travel agents for guidance on taking trips in this new era, along with recommended destinations and insider tips for making our next vacation the journey of a lifetime.

Experts say now is the time to take that trip. Resorts and cities reliant on tourism have never been more clean and more service-oriented, says Tiffany Ellis, a Virtuoso travel adviser with Tiffany Ellis Travel. “These resorts are ready to get back to making guests feel welcome, and with that is an extra layer of service and priority,” Ellis says.

Additionally, many overseas locales aren’t yet seeing the usual influx of guests, which means more amenities for those who can travel, says Kristin Diehl, a travel advisor and SmartFlyer affiliate. “With global tourism down, African safaris are seeing an increase in animal sightings for the perfect chance to glimpse the Big Five—lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and cape buffalo—due to reduced foot traffic in the bush,” Diehl says. “There will never be a better time to safari than this summer before our European neighbors rejoin guests in Africa.”

Currently, travelers should take advantage of many airlines waiving their change fees, which will allow for more flexible travel and cover unforeseen cancellations, Diehl says. These change fee waivers are perks that won’t last forever. “For now, rest easy knowing your plans can be fluid, and remain patient with the ever-changing regulations and entry requirements of your destination,” says Diehl. “For later, book early to take advantage of flexibility for travel, especially international plans, through summer 2022. If you want preferred rates and room categories, book now while the availability is there. It’s unprecedented that European hotels have released their summer rates this early, and travelers are aggressively planning for summer 2022.”

Caitlin Stolzenthaler, a luxury travel advisor with Rove and Roam Travel, says people are ready to make up for lost time. That’s the idea behind “revenge travel,” Stolzenthaler says. “Everyone has been affected, and with so many stuck at home with no way to escape their daily routines, they are eager to travel,” Stolzenthaler explains. “With a new perspective on life, people are planning more bucket-list trips, realizing travel shouldn’t be taken for granted.”


Hot Post-Pandemic Destinations


Croatia

Croatia is a safe and welcoming destination for travelers seeking to explore the nation’s beautiful coastline along the Adriatic Sea and experience its traditional culture. Don’t miss unique tours truffle hunting in Istria or adventuresome Hvar Island Jeep safari tours. For foodies, try specialty olive, honey and grappa tastings or visit local oyster farms. Lay your head down in luxury at the Palace Elisabeth Hvar, the Hotel Villa Dubrovnik or the Palace Judita Split.

South Africa

There is no better time to safari in South Africa! Safari drives are naturally socially distanced with plenty of open space and outdoor activity in addition to countrywide safety protocols. Enjoy game drives at The Farmstead with expert rangers and trackers through Thornybush Private Game Reserve adjacent to Kruger National Park. Whale-watching season kicks up this summer (South Africa’s winter), and Cape Town’s art and culture scene is back in business. While in Cape Town, stay at Ellerman House, Silo or One&Only, and eat at Beyond, which focuses on seasonal, sustainable and simple delicacies.

Bahamas

Set on the pristine white sands of Nassau’s Cable Beach, Rosewood Baha Mar offers the ultimate destination for a luxurious resort getaway. Guests can tee off at the Royal Blue Golf Club, a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course; play tennis, or relax in beach cabanas for beachfront cocktails. Dine at the resort’s Costa restaurant for a delicious twist on traditional seafood cuisine.

Belize

One perk of visiting this Central American country is that COVID-19 tests are not required for entry if visitors have proof of full vaccination. Stay at the private island retreat Cayo Espanto for pure luxury. With only seven villas on this four-acre island, it’s the perfect tropical location to ease back into travel. Arrival to the resort by helicopter is definitely worth the splurge for the gorgeous view.


Not interested in traveling abroad? Domestic travel within the United States can be just as fulfilling and exciting. Here are two travel destinations in the U.S. that are popular right now: 

Montana

Fly into Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport and, in just a 25-minute drive, reach Sage Lodge, a wonderful escape with blue skies and fresh air. Think fireside cocktails, topnotch dining and late-night hot tub soaks at this five-star luxury ranch. Sage Lodge is the perfect base camp to explore Yellowstone National Park just 35 miles away. With no travel restrictions, Montana is wide open for visitors.

Hawaii

Hawaii is a bucket-list destination, and with limited tropical vacation options, many travelers are taking this time to check it off their list. Each of the six major islands is unique, so talk to your travel advisor about which island’s gorgeous beaches and exhilarating activities are right for you. As of spring 2021, as long as visitors have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure taken by an approved Hawaiian partner, visitors do not have to quarantine upon arrival.