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AAA warns travelers to be ready to adapt as COVID-19 cases rise

Health and safety restrictions may limit where people can go and what they can do while on vacation.

BOISE, Idaho — Many Idahoans may be considering one last vacation before summer is over and school starts. But with COVID-19 cases surging because of more-contagious delta variant, AAA is advising travelers to be ready to adapt to rapidly-changing conditions before and even during their trip.

"As we grapple with the unknown in this latest phase of the pandemic, people are generally going to fall into one of two categories – those who may be more reluctant to travel, and those who are anxious to hit the road before health and safety restrictions limit their ability to do so," said AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde. "Those who make the very personal decision to travel need to do their homework before they go."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have advised that fully vaccinated people can travel domestically with little risk. However, some destinations and travel providers may require proof of vaccination before traveling, including those who are returning to the United States from an international location.

"Mask requirements vary from place to place, so it's important to have one for every person in your party, especially if you're traveling by plane, where face coverings are still mandatory," Conde said. "Fortunately, the air on a plane circulates regularly, and according to the CDC, most viruses and germs don't spread easily."

The National Park Service has also issued policy updates requiring visitors to wear a mask in all indoor areas, and in crowded outdoor spots, such as narrow trails, if distancing isn't possible.

For the latest information on health and safety precautions at your destination and the places you'll visit along the way, travelers should consult AAA's COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Map and TripTik.AAA.com.

AAA says travel activity has been strong throughout the summer, with several popular destinations and theme parks reopening to the public. But visitors should double-check a day or two before visiting in case hours of operation, capacity limits or other circumstances have changed.

During the pandemic, hotels have significantly expanded their cleaning protocols to protect the health and wellbeing of their guests. 

"As an added precaution, take along disinfectant wipes to clean high-touch surfaces such as light switches, television remotes, and doorknobs," Conde said. "You should also plan for a very different hotel experience. If you're staying for more than one day, housekeeping staff at some hotels will only clean the room or replace the linens upon request. And your dining options may be somewhat limited, such as pre-packaged items instead of a traditional hot breakfast."

Families with children who are not yet eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine face additional questions about whether to travel.  Road trips can provide a safer option, with fewer opportunities to transmit the virus.  If you choose to fly, everyone over the age of 2 will be required to wear a mask on the plane and in airports.  Masks are also required on trains and buses.

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