Local travel agent weighs in on COVID-19 vaccine passport, when to book vacations

Updated: Mar. 22, 2021 at 8:19 AM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Although over a million South Carolinians are in the process of receiving their COVID-19 vaccine, health officials continue to warn against air travel.

A motto many travel advisors have is ‘book now, travel later.’ The reason is because prices are expected to skyrocket as more cities, towns and countries open back up.

If you’re the type to take cruises, Our Destination Travels LLC owner Apphia Webster-Williams weighed in on when you should book.

“People are booking cruises for 2022, 2023 because they know that price is going to jump up once cruises are allowed to hit the water again,” Webster-Williams said.

Webster-Williams specializes in beach vacations, and Myrtle Beach is one of her destinations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting tested for COVID-19 before and after your trip.

A travel consumer advocate said for those looking to book a trip, make sure you’re able to cancel or change the flight without a penalty. The same goes for hotel plans.

Another hot topic being discussed are COVID-19 vaccine passports. It would be a form of documentation, likely digital, allowing people to prove to border officials or other gatekeepers they’re vaccinated against COVID-19 or have tested negative for the virus.

Over a dozen airlines are testing out International Air Transport Association’s test app called Travel Pass, with United Airlines and American Airlines looking to join.

Officials said it’s safe to use with all of the information staying on the device, plus the consumer has the power to decide who the information is shared with.

Webster-Williams said it’s good to have a COVID-19 passport.

“If you think about it, if you travel to Africa or other countries, you have to have Yellow Fever or certain vaccines you have to have already. So technically in the system, you already have registered. They have already submitted something when you get that vaccine, so really this is just going to add on to it,” Webster-Williams said.

Keep in mind, airlines are responsible for ensuring passengers have the correct documentation to fly to any country before they board a flight. In a sense, an airline check-in desk is the equivalent of a border crossing.

The COVID-19 passports will be most common on international flights.

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