(WBNG) — Spring is here and for many people, that means travel is in the air too.
However, between soaring gas prices and war overseas, can and should you travel? Travel Expert Meena Thiruvengadam of TravelWithMeena.Com says you can and tells us how!
World-renowned journalist and traveler Meena Thiruvengadam has traveled to 47 US states, 53 countries, and six continents. She describes herself as a spontaneous traveler who enjoys showing up at the airport and going they can send her.
However, Meena shares that the pandemic has changed its approach tremendously.
“I try to book my international trips, at least a month out and might domestic trips as well. Sometimes I will try to book three weeks in advance but once you get into that range, you might start paying more for your ticket and nowadays with fuel surcharges and everything else; that’s not what you really want to do!” says Thiruvengadam.
In addition to having to plan trips earlier, Meena says that travel now requires a novel approach, “airports are a busier and more chaotic. They are also understaffed due to the labor shortage which a lot of businesses are having to deal with this year.”
She suggests arriving early because basic tasks such as checking in will take a longer time because there are more people, and everyone is out of practice.
“If you thought airport lines were annoying before, just wait until your next trip,” Meena says. She also highlights conducting extensive research before traveling to ensure you are aware of what is happening at the destination you plan to visit.
While the United States sees a decline in COVID cases and infections, Meena suggests being prepared for COVID restrictions despite the easing of mandates.
“You should be planning to bring a facemask with you. There are some places that require masks indoors like Panama and Portugal. There are other places where you are going to need masks outdoors. So, you will want to have that with you and plan to take potentially a lot of COVID -19 tests. Fewer countries now require coronavirus testing for Americans who are vaccinated traveling abroad, but the United States is still going to require you to take a COVID -19 test and test negative on the way back into the country. Also, certain island destinations in the Caribbean are going to have you test a few times during your stay,” says Meena.
Finally, for overseas trips, especially where there is conflict or war, Meena is stressing the importance of being a compassionate traveler, especially in consideration of refugees.
“The biggest thing that I recommend to people is to be thoughtful about where you are going. You might find that tourist accommodations are in high demand for refugees,” says Meena.