TRAVEL BLOG

Summer Airfare Prices are Cheap (But Maybe Not for Long)

As people all over the country get fully vaccinated and have the CDC’s okay to travel again, they’re starting to put plans back in action. Post-pandemic trip planning is in full swing, with domestic summer travel plans really starting to heat up.

two women floating in swimming pool

Cheap Summer Flights

A quick look at the CheapAir Summer Flights page tells quite a favorable story for travelers right now. Airfares are lower than typical, and you can get a good deal on flights for most of the summer. Usually, June and July are quite expensive compared to late August on into September, but right now the difference between the lowest average fare and highest average fare is less than $100 in total.

That’s fantastic news for travelers, but we urge you to buy early, rather than wait until later since fares are only going to rise. There are a couple of contributing reasons for this. First, this phenomenon is almost always the case. Fares stay in the “reasonably-priced zone – what we call the prime booking window) for a time, and then usually see a steep increase as we get closer to the travel date.

Challenges for Air Travelers

Next, while the jury is still out on how many aircraft and routes will be at full capacity this summer, we know that the airlines had sharply cut both to deal with pandemic flight demand. At some points during the height of the pandemic, flight demand was very low. Even though the airlines are now staffing back up and getting more restricted routes back online, the demand for travel may outstrip the available flights. If and when this happens, shoppers will generally see a spike in airfare – and depending on the destination – could give you some serious sticker shock.

A lot of our airlines also issued vouchers when people canceled flights during the height of the pandemic. Some of those vouchers start to expire in 2021 (about 55% of those issued in 2020). People will want to use the credit before they lose it. Book that flight now so you don’t compete with those ticket holders!

Finally, Europe is a popular summer destination in most years. This year, there are a lot of places still closed to American (as of this date’s publication). It’s unclear how prepared European destinations will be for tourism crowds as they struggle to bring their own vaccination plans online. Because of this (and also because many Americans might like to stay closer to home this year), we can expect the demand for domestic flights to be high.

Protecting Your Price

Not everyone agrees that fares will spike. You may read some news articles that say the opposite – that fares may stay very low because of the competition between airlines. We have a feature that we think can help you out in this regard as well. It’s called Price Drop Payback and what it means (in simple terms) is that if you buy a ticket from us and the fare price goes down, you can get your money back.

This is not a special promotion that will go away at some point, but rather a feature of our customer service promise to you. We like to give you a little peace of mind. If you buy a flight from us and the fare goes down, we’ll issue you a credit back (up to $100 per ticket) for future travel.

Not quite ready to buy just yet but feel intrigued by the idea of a summer trip? Check our Summer Flights page in the next couple of weeks. We’ll be sharing more awesome destination content and even some of the best fares we find to different cool destinations. In fact, if you’d like to hear about specific vacation spots or routes – let us know in the comments below. Maybe we’ll feature your vacation destination next!

Shop for Summer Flights

The post Summer Airfare Prices are Cheap (But Maybe Not for Long) appeared first on CheapAir.

Which COVID-19 vaccine passports are about to be available?

If you’re planning international travel in 2021, you may be curious about which of the vaccine passports in development and about to launch that you should get.

cartoon hand with vaccine passport app

We’ve put together a list of the top contenders that will be available to Americans very soon.

IATA Travel Pass

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) developed Travel Pass, a digital passport that allows you to store and manage your COVID-19 test results or vaccine records. Doctors will send you your test results or vaccination certificate and you can then link those documents to the Travel Pass app prior to traveling. Just show the app to the agent at the airport along with your passport and ticket. Travel Pass does not store the data, so your personal information is protected. The Travel Pass app is slated to be available for iPhone and Android in mid-April.

CLEAR Health Pass

CLEAR’s Health Pass connects to over 30,000 labs, so you can easily integrate and link to your COVID-19 lab test result. And soon the app will allow you to securely link to your healthcare account to confirm your vaccine records too. CLEAR has partnered with Walmart to give travelers who have received a COVID vaccine at Walmart or Sam’s Club easy access to their vaccination records by linking them through the app.

CommonPass

CommonPass is a platform that gives you access to your COVID-realted documents and status, including PCR test results and vaccination status. It will show a simple yes or no answer as to whether a traveler meets the current entry criteria of the country they are traveling to. To ease privacy concerns, CommonPass allows travelers to consent to their lab results and vaccination records being used to validate their COVID status without revealing any other personal health information. CommonPass has also partnered with Walmart to give those travelers who have received a COVID vaccine at Walmart or Sam’s Club easy access to their vaccination records. CommonPass is currently being piloted in specific markets. You can sign up on their website via email to receive news of expansion.

VeriFLY

American Airlines now offers you free access to VeriFLY, a mobile health passport that can be used when traveling on an international flight to the U.S. and on domestic flights to eight countries, including the UK and Canada, as long as you are a ticketed passenger with them. Customers can upload any documents they need to meet travel requirements – like a negative COVID test – to VeriFLY and show them to an American agent at the airport.

Keep in mind that the European Union is also developing a vaccine passport for their citizens, and other individual countries also have vaccine passport plans in place (some, like Israel have already launched their own).

Thanks for reading! We will continue to bring you the information you need to get back to travel in 2021!

The post Which COVID-19 vaccine passports are about to be available? appeared first on CheapAir.

Vaccine Passports: Everything We Know Right Now

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you probably have heard lots of news lately around “vaccine passports” and travel policies. Some countries are likely to make vaccine passports something of a requirement to enter.

vaccine passport in a hand

Others may not. But let’s back up. First of all, what are vaccine passports?

What exactly is a vaccine passport?

Very simply, a vaccine passport is your vaccination record. Most vaccine passports (in development and already available for use) exist in the form of an app you download onto your smartphone. Any vaccine passport stored on your phone will also protect your private information, we are told. Such a “pass” allows you to quickly show immigration and customs officials at airports and train stations across the globe your “fully vaccinated” status and permits you to move freely about the world.

Will I need a vaccine passport to travel in the United States?

The answer here seems pretty clear at this point. The Biden Administration has signaled it will not make vaccine passports mandatory, but also has left room for individual states and jurisdictions to make their own policies and procedures around vaccination. Some states like Hawaii still require quarantine and testing before allowing entry, while others like Florida are wide open for business – no restrictions at all.

In addition, the CDC just issued guidance for the fully vaccinated, indicating that it’s safe for you to return to travel once you’re two weeks out from your final injection. The unvaccinated should continue to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test where required, but the CDC still recommends taking a test before and after you return from travel, regardless of requirements as a matter of public health and preventing community spread. In any event, the lack of a vaccine passport will not be a barrier to domestic travel.

Will I need a vaccine passport for international travel?

The short answer is that it’s likely to be something like a “fast pass” to entry for some countries or regions (like the European Union). There are already many vaccinations required for a variety of international destinations, and setting U.S. politics aside, many countries outside the U.S. that have managed their COVID-19 infection rates are eager to keep those numbers down. These countries see vaccine passports as a quick and easy way to verify those who are of very low risk of transmission.

Still, there’s a lot of discussion underway at the moment, including ethical considerations of requiring a vaccine passport. Should the E.U. adopt a universal passport (as it seems likely to do), people who have it can essentially jump the queue and avoid having to provide a negative test or quarantine for a prescribed number of days.

There are plans for vaccine passports to be utilized at events that could potentially develop into “superspreader” events, like festivals, concerts and other large-scale gatherings. There’s even been signals from some in the hotel and restaurant industries to indicate that some businesses might also require a vaccine passport for customers. This could potentially pose a problem for a traveler who did not get vaccinated, chose to quarantine and test upon arrival to a country, but then finds their dining or sightseeing options limited by private venues that might decide to require a vaccination for entrance. This aspect of the debate is spirited and ongoing.

How do I get a vaccine passport?

Right now a lot of vaccine passports are still in development or being piloted and tested. Here is a short roundup of the various vaccine passports in development right now that will be available to American travelers shortly.

IATA Travel Pass

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) developed Travel Pass, a digital passport that allows you to store and manage your COVID-19 test results or vaccine records on an app that you link to on your smartphone. Travel Pass should be available for iPhone and Android in mid-April.

CLEAR Health Pass

CLEAR’s Health Pass will allow you to securely link to your healthcare account to confirm your vaccine records. CLEAR has partnered with Walmart to give travelers who have received a COVID vaccine at Walmart or Sam’s Club easy access to their vaccination records.

CommonPass

CommonPass is a platform that gives you access to your COVID-related documents and status, including PCR test results and vaccination status. It will show a simple yes or no as to whether a traveler meets the current entry criteria of the country they are traveling to. CommonPass is currently being piloted in specific markets and has partnered with Walmart and Sam’s Club customers. You can sign up on their website via email to receive news of expansion.

VeriFLY

American Airlines now offers you free access to VeriFLY, a mobile health passport that can be used when traveling on an international flight to the U.S. and on domestic flights to eight countries, including the UK and Canada, as long as you are a ticketed passenger with them.

As you can see, the topic of vaccine passports is fast-moving, with lots of moving parts and critical implications for travelers. We will keep you updated as we hear of new developments. Until then, how do you feel about the idea of vaccine passports? Do you think it’s a good idea that will help people get back to travel sooner, or are you on the fence or even against them and why? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

The post Vaccine Passports: Everything We Know Right Now appeared first on CheapAir.

CDC: Fully Vaccinated? You Can Now Travel Without Tests or Quarantines in U.S.

Today the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced you can travel freely throughout the U.S. if you’re fully vaccinated. Passengers on airplanes are still required to wear masks, as are train and bus travelers.

family at airport wearing masks

You’re considered fully vaccinated two weeks after you receive your last recommended vaccine dose.

Some may find this news anticlimactic, as in recent weeks Americans have been traveling a lot more. In fact, on Saturday, March 27th, according to CBS News, about 1.4 million people passed through U.S. airports (on the same day in March 2019 the number was 2 million), and the previous 17 days were all 1 million traveler days as well.

The new guidance comes at a time when “pandemic fatigue” is at an all-time high and fully vaccinated grandparents all over the country have been told by the CDC that they can spend time with their unvaccinated grandkids. It would be difficult for the CDC to message that visiting the grandkids is okay, but you can’t step on a plane to do so.

In fact, the CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walsensky said during the news briefing that “fully vaccinated grandparents can fly to visit their healthy grandkids without getting a COVID-19 test or self-quarantining, provided they follow the other recommended prevention measures.”

The CDC Director was careful to stop short of recommending air travel on the whole, saying that “the CDC is not recommending travel at this time due to the rising number of cases.”

It’s fair to say that this is something of a mixed message, but also comes on the heels of the CDC announcement yesterday that fully vaccinated people have extremely low risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19.

If you’re traveling internationally, you should be aware that quarantines may still be required abroad, and a negative COVId-19 test will still be required to regain entry back into the U.S. For more details on this policy and the answers to other popular questions about COVID-19 and travel, check out this post.

What do you think? Will you be traveling when you’re fully vaccinated? Planning to wait a bit before being vaccinated? Or are you not getting the vaccine at all? Let us know what you think about this news and your own plans in the comments below!

The post CDC: Fully Vaccinated? You Can Now Travel Without Tests or Quarantines in U.S. appeared first on CheapAir.

Don’t Wait to Buy: As COVID Clears, Fares Will Rise

Ample evidence continues to pile up that we’re finally coming to the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. People are talking about traveling – and not “if” they can travel, but when.

airplane seen from the ground with palm trees around

Airfare couldn’t be more reasonable right now, with summer flights to typically expensive destinations priced out nicely. But here’s the thing. The low fares aren’t going to last. And when they go they’re going to go fast.

This is what we know. The airlines are still flying at a restricted capacity, with much of their fleets grounded due to the extremely low numbers of travelers over the past year. But last week saw the busiest domestic air travel day since the pandemic started. On Saturday, March 27th, according to CBS News, about 1.4 million people passed through U.S. airports. On the same date in 2019, the number was about 2 million. And the previous 17 days were all 1 million traveler days as well.

At the moment, the airlines are seeing about 66% of pre-pandemic levels, but it certainly seems like we’re on a trajectory to meet projected levels of air travel this summer – experts say we might hit 95% of pre-pandemic levels of air travel before the summer is over.

Here’s what that means for airfares. Even though average airfares remain uncharacteristically low at the moment, it’s just a matter of time before the prices spike. And they might spike hard. Here’s why. Demand may soon outstrip air travel supply.

A lot of the airlines issued vouchers when people canceled flights during the height of the pandemic. Some of those vouchers start to expire in 2021 (about 55% of those issued in 2020). People will want to use the credit before they lose it. Book that flight now so you don’t compete with those ticket holders!

Also, most domestic airlines instituted no fees for cancelation or changes during the pandemic, an unprecedented move. Guess what? Airlines with “Basic,” bare bones fares are bringing back the fees. Sometime in April, Jetblue, American and Delta will all start to charge change and cancelation fees again. United hasn’t committed to a policy change beyond March 31 as of yet. Take advantage of more flexible fares before they go bye-bye. One small silver lining – the other classes of service will retain liberal change and cancellation policies FOR NOW.

Look for our Summer Flights page in the next couple of weeks, We’ll share the best and worst days to fly this summer, based on price. It will help you plan out your vacation logistics. But here’s a sneak peak. Prices are overall much less expensive than summer months typically are. Just one more reason to hop on that great fare before it starts to climb. Until then, take a look at our post on how to plan your first post-pandemic trip. We’ve got lots of tips to share that can help ease you back into traveling in 2021!

Shop for Flights

The post Don’t Wait to Buy: As COVID Clears, Fares Will Rise appeared first on CheapAir.

Are vaccine passports ethical? Here’s what we know

Over the past few months, the vaccine rollout has continued to pick up steam. In fact,  the government now projects a shot will be available to anyone who wants it by May 1.

hand with smartphone holding vaccine passport in city

It finally seems like we may get this pandemic under control.

The travel industry is abuzz with this great news, as well as news of the development of vaccine passports. Vaccine passports will likely come in the form of an app on your Smartphone, that stores your vaccination record and  protects your private information. Such a pass will allow you to quickly show immigration and customs officials at airports and train stations around the world your “fully vaccinated” status and move freely across borders.

Some countries already signaled that they may require proof of full vaccination for entry. While most of the news has been overwhelmingly positive, it’s true that a vaccine passport requirement comes with some pretty serious ethical baggage. Some people say a vaccine passport could end up dividing the world into “haves and have nots,” across borders and class lines.

  1. What if your country hasn’t made vaccinations available to citizens yet?
  2. What if you don’t own a smartphone?
  3. Is it a violation of privacy to allow businesses access to your private health information?
  4. What if your health condition makes you ineligible for a vaccination?
  5. What about virus mutations? Will that complicate passports?
  6. How secure will the passports be and who will have access to this information?
  7. What if you’re from a marginalized group where “vaccine skepticism is pervasive based on historical precedent?”
  8. Do the passports give people a false sense of security?

Let’s dig into each of these questions one at a time.

What if your country hasn’t made vaccinations available to all citizens yet?

Some projections say entire regions won’t have vaccines widely available for years. Is it ethical to penalize citizens who happen to be from poor countries or from one with a less aggressive rollout plan? Imagine you need to travel internationally this August to a country like Australia for a family emergency. What if the government there will only allow you to visit with a vaccine passport?

If you live in the United States, you had your shots in the spring. If you live in many parts of Asia or Africa, the first opportunity for you might not be until 2022. Even in a country like Italy, if you are young and healthy (i.e. not not in a priority group), you might have a long wait.

Can a country require you to be vaccinated or deny you entry? Right now, many countries still permit travel without vaccination – you’re just required to self-isolate on arrival. If vaccine passports become widely available, will countries forgo this workaround? It seems unlikely to be the case but we are following this story closely.

What if you do not own a smartphone?

This could become a big problem. Only a little over a third of people in the world own a Smartphone (with growing numbers). In the United States, almost 82% of the adult population owns a smartphone. But all of the vaccine passports in development leverage the use of smartphone apps. We imagine an option for users who don’t own a smartphone. Otherwise, a full ⅔ of the world’s cell phone users will not be able to access. Would they get left behind?

Is it a violation of privacy to allow businesses access to your private health information?

The question of cybersecurity and privacy concerns come up all the time, as people post selfies of themselves with their vaccine cards on social media. People continue to raise alarms about sharing images of the card, since it can be easily doctored. Scam artists sell vaccine cards to folks who may not want the vaccine but want the seal of approval (for work or travel).

If we allow airlines and hotels access to digital health information is this a violation of strict HIPAA rules about who can have access to your health info? Can the government compel you to share this information at all? The jury is still out.

What if your health condition makes you ineligible for a vaccination?

Some people with serious health conditions or allergies may not be able to get vaccinated for critical reasons. Will vaccine passports create complications for those people or will governments come up with a list of exemptions for those who require it?

What about virus mutations? Will that complicate passports?

Vaccine passports as well as additional vaccines are in various stages of development. Recent rumblings suggest virus mutations coming down the pike may compel people who’ve been part of the early vaccination rollout to return or get a “booster” shot. If necessary, this process helps fold in the new risk factors of mutating virus.

On the other hand, the experts say that COVID-19 vaccinations may follow the flu season vaccination model. As the flu mutates each year, vaccinations get tweaked to reflect new strains. People who want a flu vaccine must re-up each year to keep themselves completely covered.

Any vaccine passport in development needs built-in adaptability for these potential scenarios.

How secure will the passports be and who will have access to this information?

The United States needs to adopt a plan for vaccine passport information but we’re still in the planning phase. Will departments of motor vehicles take on the tracking and warehousing of this information? Will there be a national storehouse created so the federal government owns the role of keeping citizens’ information safe? Governments all over the world are grappling with this question – it’s not just us. Who will be responsible for this sensitive information?

Should members of marginalized groups be required to participate in vaccination before they are ready to satisfy an international guideline?

What if you’re from a marginalized group where “vaccine skepticism” is pervasive? In the United States for instance, widespread skepticism about vaccines and medical procedures occurs in the African-American population. Historically, African-Americans have a fraught relationship with the medical community that often used them as test subjects without their knowledge.

Do the passports give people a false sense of security?

And finally, what about people who think being fully vaccinated and holding a vaccine passport means they can abandon all masking protocols and return to a free and open world? Is this the case?

The truth is that the vaccine rollout is in its infancy. Before we know for sure how long a vaccination will keep you well, we still have a lot of data to collect. And whether or not the fully vaccinated can spread the disease to the unvaccinated remains to be seen.

So what do you think? Are vaccine passports a good idea for international travel or would you prefer to make a vaccination call on your own/self-quarantine on arrival? Would you be okay with a 10-day quarantine if you decided not to get vaccinated or would not getting vaccinated make you less likely to travel internationally to a place that requires vaccination? What other issues surrounding vaccine passports can you think of? How likely would you be to use a vaccine passport to house your vaccination records?

Sound off in our comments below.

The post Are vaccine passports ethical? Here’s what we know appeared first on CheapAir.

What Our Customers Want to Know About COVID-19 and Travel

Do I need to take a COVID-19 test if I have been vaccinated?
Yes, at this time all international air passengers traveling to the US, regardless of vaccination or antibody status, are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery.

airport boarding area

The situation is fluid and may change at a later date. If you are flying domestically, a COVID-19 test is recommended but not mandatory, please adhere to local state policies.

Very important: If you’ve traveled internationally, you need to have a negative COVID-19 test before you can return to the United States, REGARDLESS OF VACCINATION STATUS.

Do I need to be vaccinated to fly?
The jury is still out, but the chances are good that you will for international flights. The entire world is waiting for us to get back to a “normal” travel landscape, one in which travelers aren’t stuck in quarantine for 10 days. Some countries who’ve done well at keeping the pandemic outside their borders have signaled or expressly stated that they will, in fact, require full vaccination for entry. The world is already opening borders again, with these countries admitting the fully vaccinated (albeit with some restrictions)

There are also multiple plans for a “vaccine passport” requirement, which would likely be in the form of a digital passport, that people would store on an app on their phones. Multiple airlines are already testing this model, but the ethical questions associated with such a model may make them a challenge to enforce fully.

On the other hand, it is unlikely that domestic flights will ever require vaccination. Most signals from the U.S. government indicate that the safety precautions we already have in place (mask requirements and well- ventilated aircraft), will continue to be the main regulatory policies in place.

Of course, this question is complicated. Individual states could potentially mandate vaccination for entry (as certain states have done for quarantining). If that became the case, unvaccinated folks would likely still be required to self-quarantine. Right now, however, you do not need vaccination for domestic travel at all.

Do I need to take a COVID-19 test to fly domestically?
No. There is no requirement for a COVID-19 test if you’re taking a domestic flight.

However, the CDC does recommend taking a viral test 1-3 days before you travel. Some states (like Hawaii) require a negative COVID test before you will be allowed to enter freely. If you cannot provide a negative test, you’ll be required to self-quarantine.

Some municipalities also have different rules than the states they are a part of, so it’s always a good idea to check with us (or whomever booked your ticket) to understand the requirements before your travel day arrives. As the vaccine rollout accelerates, these rules will continue to relax. We have a great reference tool, with up-to-date requirements, state by state.

The CDC also recommends that everyone – even the fully vaccinated – take a test when you’ve returned from your travel plans.

Do I need to quarantine if I fly?
Once again, there is some nuance in this answer. CDC guidelines recommend self-quarantining if you don’t plan to get tested, but some states and cities/municipalities may require or recommend. If a destination requires a period of self-quarantine it might also be waived by a negative COVID-19 test or vaccine.

In addition, some schools and districts require a period of self-quarantine for families who have recently traveled.

Make sure you have all of the pertinent information for your specific trip. You can reference our COVID-19 resource center for the most up-to-date state information.

What if I test positive for COVID on my vacation? Who pays?
Obviously, the most urgent matter is to make sure you get the medical care you need if you test positive while traveling.

If you are traveling internationally, you may have purchased travel insurance with COVID-19 protections in place. You should make sure you understand which inclusions and exclusions exist on your policy. For example, some policies may cover any expenses you incur while traveling if you test positive, but they may not cover you if you decide you don’t want to travel somewhere because of infection rates in that country. More on your options if you test positive can be found here.

If I book now, but travel becomes restricted can I cancel/change my flight?
The domestic air carriers have all but eliminated penalties and fees for flight changes and cancelations. Please check with your airline for their specific terms and conditions. Though you won’t be penalized for canceling, you will have to use your flight credit in a specific time period and/or you may have to pay the difference in the cost of a rebooked ticket.

International airlines still have change and cancellation fees.

If all passengers tested negative would we still have to wear the mask on the flight?
Yes. Though the possibility is small, it is still true that someone who tested negative could be asymptomatic. Also, especially on domestic flights, not everyone will have adhered to CDC guidelines and have been tested before flying. There will be people on your flight who will prefer to self-quarantine when they land.

We know that airplanes are quite safe when outfitted with HEPA air filtration systems (which all domestic aircraft now are), but you should continue to use an abundance of caution until the infection rates are low enough/vaccination rates are high enough that the CDC lifts the mask requirement. When that happens, we will expect airlines to remove the mask mandate.

What if I had COVID, but recovered, but still test positive? Can I fly internationally?
In this very special case, you will need to provide the airline with documentation from your healthcare professional/your family care physician that gives you a “recovered” designation.

Will Travel Guard cover me if I get COVID?
You should always review the coverages on your policy, but right now Travel Guard policies do cover you for expenses if you become infected while traveling internationally.

As you can see, the situation for COVID-19 and travel is changing quickly. The best thing to do if you have a trip planned, is to keep up to date on regulations in the destination you’re traveling to as well as the U.S. requirements for travel and return home. The CDC has a great website with lots of useful information that you should acquaint yourself with as well.

The best news is that you can expect travel domestically to get easier over the coming months. We will keep you updated on developments in vaccine passports and international travel as they occur.

Information current as of 3/25/2021

The post What Our Customers Want to Know About COVID-19 and Travel appeared first on CheapAir.

What Countries Now Allow Fully Vaccinated Visitors?

Current as of 3/24/21

Even though it’s quite early in the vaccine rollout, we’re already to a point where countries are starting to make announcements about waiving quarantine and testing restrictions for visitors who are vaccinated.

women on mountain in slovenia

But hold your horses! Some of these countries do still have bans on citizens from certain countries (including the United States in some cases), so it might be a bit early to start dusting off that passport. Having said that, we believe that once countries start to open, it’s a foregone conclusion that others will follow.

We promise to keep you updated on which countries are welcoming back the fully vaccinated. Here’s where things stand right now.

Belize
Welcomes fully vaccinated travelers who received their final dose 2 weeks prior to arrival date and can provide proof of vaccination.

Cyprus
Welcomes fully vaccinated travelers from May 1, 2021 who can provide proof of vaccination.

Cyprus categorizes countries on risk of transmission, and will allow admission to citizens from countries when risk is low For now, the United States is not on the approved list.

Estonia
Welcomes fully vaccinated travelers who received their final dose 2 weeks prior to arrival date and can provide proof of vaccination (proof accepted in Estonian, Russian or English only). U.S. citizens not currently permitted to visit.

Georgia
Welcomes fully vaccinated travelers who received their final dose 2 weeks prior to arrival date and can provide proof of vaccination.

Iceland
As of March 18, 2021 Americans are permitted to enter if they can provide proof of vaccination.

Lebanon
Welcomes fully vaccinated travelers who received their final dose 2 weeks prior to arrival date and can provide proof of vaccination.

In an abundance of caution, Lebanon requires a COVID-19 PCR test ($50 can be paid to your air carrier) on arrival.

You will also be required to take a PCR test PRIOR to departure (no less than 96 hours before you plan to board).

Lithuania
Welcomes fully vaccinated travelers who received their final dose 2 weeks prior to arrival date and can provide proof of vaccination. U.S. citizens are not currently permitted to visit.

Poland
Poland currently has a mandatory quarantine policy (implemented on December 28, 2021), but if you are fully vaccinated you can bypass the quarantine period. Americans are still not permitted to visit.

Romania
Welcomes fully vaccinated travelers who received their final dose 10 days prior to arrival date and can provide proof of vaccination. Otherwise, a mandatory period of self-isolation. Americans are not yet permitted to visit.

The Seychelles
Welcomes fully vaccinated travelers who received their final dose 2 weeks prior to arrival date and can provide proof of vaccination.

Slovenia
Welcomes fully vaccinated travelers. In order to be considered fully vaccinated you should have received a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine 7 days before arrival, Moderna second dose at least 14 days before arrival or a second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine 21 days prior to arrival and can provide proof of vaccination. United States citizens are not permitted entry as of publish date.

As you plan for your first international trip in the post (or nearly post) COVID-19 world, make sure you keep abreast of vaccine passport developments and read through our tips for your first trip back.

We’re heading into an optimistic time for travel, and we simply can’t wait!

Book Your First International Flight

The post What Countries Now Allow Fully Vaccinated Visitors? appeared first on CheapAir.

10 Easy Tips for Your First Post-Pandemic Trip

It’s been a long year and many months since you’ve been able to consider taking a getaway or vacation of any kind. Now, as we finally get the pandemic under control and the end is in sight, you might be starting to think about your first trip back.

couple on hike in new zealand

Things are different out there. We’ve put together a few handy tips for you as you navigate this new, post-COVID world.

Do your careful destination research and know the barriers to easy entry
Many countries and lots of states have different rules for visiting, and we should not expect this fact to change any time soon. The United States now requires people to have a negative COVID-19 test before allowing people back into the country, and this has helped create interesting travel options. Some hotels now offer complimentary tests for guests, while some airports also facilitate testing for ticket holders.

Some good news about domestic travel, however, is that a lot of states are starting to relax quarantine restrictions. Check with the state you plan to visit (and also the state you live in) to wrap your head around the latest policies and regulations.

Flexibility will be a new, welcome change for customers
For as long as most travelers can remember, the airlines, travel operators and hotels dictated the rules of engagement as far as changes were concerned. This old school rule has completely been flipped on its head, with most vendors now allowing changes closer to scheduled travel dates without penalties. Finally – the customer gets to call the shots regarding his or her own plans. What a fresh idea!

Get your appropriate documents in order
In this post-pandemic landscape, countries that have been vigilant keeping COVID-19 at bay, have signaled they will very likely require a negative COVID-19 test or proof of vaccination. This has already inspired a “vaccine passport” concept that will be rolling out very soon, so passengers can have their medical information safely stored, private and on an easy to transport app.

Stay close to home if you’re nervous about going international just yet
With countries around the world opening up at different stages and paces to American passport holders, a lot of risk averse U.S. citizens will be casting around for low-stress vacation destinations. And a lot of us will be staying very close to home (or at least inside our own borders). Many smaller, less high-profile places are finally getting their due, as Americans look for less crowded places to explore.

Get comfortable with change
A lot will look different. If you love cruises, you’re going to be in for some pretty revolutionary changes. The classic cruise buffet is likely getting sunset, never to return. Pared back in-flight food service may stay pared back indefinitely. Fast, contactless hotel check-ins and rental car check-outs turned out to be an easy, welcome change and will likely persevere.

Bone up on your tech skills
Look. Most of us are quite comfortable with smartphones already, but if you’re not and you like to travel, you need to get very familiar with this little pocket computer. The smartphone is already ubiquitous, but in a post-pandemic world they become nearly impossible to live without. Many restaurants require you to order via app, and theme parks also require them to facilitate orderly crowd control and “ride reservations.” In the airport they will deliver important information like your vaccine passport, and they can also be used for check-in and virtual boarding pass. Get one.

Expect loads more contactless/self service
As mentioned earlier, the need to social distance created environments not seen in the travel industry. You might check in online to pick up a rental car or interact with a kiosk in a hotel lobby instead of a person. All of this has created much more efficient check-ins. Look for the car rental companies and hotels to expand this trend.

Look out for more biometrics (they might finally have their moment)
It’s been rumored for years, but the pandemic has finally pushed biometrics and facial recognition software into a “finally coming to an airport screening area near you” moment. Are you seeing a trend? Basically, anything that can keep you safe will be front and center for traveling, at least in the next few years.

Prepare yourself for higher prices and buy early if you can
Take advantage of those still low prices now. As demand for travel increases (and most trend followers think the demand later this year will be huge), prices will go up. If you buy now and have to make a change later, there will be no penalty to you and yours.

Protect your plans
For now, you can still buy travel insurance with riders that include COVID-19 related disruptions, but don’t assume that your policy will cover this. Not all of them do, and as we start to come out of this strange time in travel, more insurance companies will likely put some exclusions in place.

That’s all for now. Please mosey on over to our 2021 When to Buy Airfare Study. It will be a valuable resource for you as you start looking forward to your first trip back!

Book Your First Trip Back

The post 10 Easy Tips for Your First Post-Pandemic Trip appeared first on CheapAir.

The CheapAir 2021 Annual Airfare Study: Domestic Flights

The travel landscape in 2021 looks very different than it did just a year ago. We’ve undergone a huge global trauma, but as we come out on the other end, people are looking forward to flying again.

when to buy airfare 2019

When you’re ready, CheapAir.com is here to help simplify the process of buying airline tickets. We’ve taken a confusing subject, unpacked it and made airfare transparent. You don’t have to feel stymied by convoluted pricing structures, what comes with your ticket and what is considered an add-on, or which bags can be brought free of charge. CheapAir provides clear insights into the best time to buy an airline ticket.

First up – domestic flights!

This year, we’ve analyzed more than 917 million domestic airfares in 8,000 markets across the United States.* Our mission? To deliver you insights and advice so you can make an informed choice when buying flights.

The study includes:

– The best day to buy a flight, on average;
– The “CheapAir Prime Booking Window” breakdown – the range of dates when you’re most likely to capture a deal;
– Which Booking “Zone” is best for your purchase;
– Which days of the week to fly based on price;
– The best and worst months to buy;
– How seasonality affects airfare prices

Based on data over the last 12 months, we found the “best day” to buy airfare is 64 days out from your travel date. This is an average finding, which means that your particular itinerary’s lowest price might not fall exactly on the 64th day.

The good news is that there is a range of days for every flight itinerary, from the publish date (about 11 months out) to the very last minute that will give you specific benefits and risks. We’ve broken these dates out and call them booking zones.

Booking Zones

Cheapair.com when to buy airfare study 2021 booking zones

First Dibs

315 to 202 days in advance

Approximately 10 to 6.5 months

Every booking zone has its perks, and the main benefit to booking this early is the wide open range of options at your fingertips. The First Dibs zone gives you the most choice in seats, specific flight times, and even classes of service. If you choose to be the early bird, you’ll spend right around $90 more on average than if you wait to buy in the “Prime Booking Window.” Consider it a small price to pay to guarantee the full range of choices.

Peace of Mind

201 to 96 days in advance

Approximately 6.5 to 3 months

The Peace of Mind zone is for you if you prefer to walk the line between choice and value. It’s early enough to keep a nice range of available options, while it’s not quite as expensive as First Dibs. You’ll save about $37 on average if you wait a little longer to buy.

CheapAir’s Prime Booking Window

95 to 21 days in advance

Approximately 3 months to 3 weeks

Most people want to buy in this zone, since most of us have budget as our main factor for purchasing flights. The Prime Booking Window is where you want to be if budget takes precedence in your decision-making. Every year, this booking zone consistently yields the lowest prices for travelers (within 5% of the lowest ticket price). You’re probably going to trade in some of that choice we mentioned earlier, but if cost is the main consideration, this is where you want to buy.

Push Your Luck

20 to 14 days in advance

Approximately 3 – 2 weeks

Once you get into the next zone, you’re starting to – well – push your luck. Inside of 3 weeks, the odds are prices are going to go up, and choice gets limited quickly. This is a zone best left to gamblers. Sometimes you can find a great deal in the Push Your Luck zone, but it’s far from a sure thing.

Playing with Fire

13 to 8 days in advance

Approximately 2 – 1 week

If you wait to buy this close to your flight you’re almost certainly going to pay more, but still about $86 less (on average) than if you wait until the very last minute. If you’re the kind of person who likes to live life on the edge, you might like the Playing with Fire zone. Proceed with a lot of caution.

Hail Mary

7 to 0 days in advance

Less than a week

Let’s face it. Very few people choose to buy in the most expensive zone. It’s the zone where people find themselves out of necessity (family emergency or unexpected trip), rather than a premeditated choice. If you have to do so, you’ll likely pay about $160 more than you would if you shopped in the Prime Booking Window. If you do find yourself here, we can help. CheapAir offers monthly payments for customers if the cost is prohibitive.

Days of the Week Data

This may not be what you read on the Internet, but did you know there’s little to no effect on price depending on what day you buy your ticket? In fact, the average low fare only varies by about $1, no matter the day of the week.

cheapair when to buy study 2021 weekly

You should pay attention to the day you choose to fly, however. Mid-week flights (Tuesday and Wednesday) almost always offer the best value and choice most of the time while the weekends will cost more and choice can be limited. You can expect to spend (on average) about $82 more to fly on a Sunday, for example, than on either Tuesday or Wednesday. It might not seem like a big difference for one ticket, but if you’re shopping for a family of 4 that’s a savings of almost $330!

Best (and Worst) Months to Buy

Some years there are greater differences between the months. This year there isn’t as much (about $100 separates the most expensive from the least expensive month). That’s good news for travelers.

cheapair when to buy study 2021 weekly

The most expensive month to fly is actually March this year, but other than that news (which is likely due to a combination of spring break and COVID-19), summer and the holiday travel in November/December are projected to be the priciest. The fall months are a great value if you set aside November, and winter is as well (if you set aside December). Summer Summer is a bit of a wild card this year, with travel projections showing great value there as well.

Seasonality Insights

Depending on the season, you’ll want to adjust the time frame you buy. Here’s a quick snapshot to help with planning:

cheapair when to buy seasonality

Here’s the Highlights

Whew! That’s a lot to take in. Here’s a brief summary of the key points you need to make an informed decision.

The earlier you buy will give you the most choice but cost a bit more, while waiting until you’re about to travel means you can expect to pay a lot more for a more limited set of flight options across the board.

Many travelers will land somewhere in the middle – hopefully in the Prime Booking Window- where you get the best-priced tickets with some choice still on the menu.

CheapAir is committed to being a better choice for travelers. We offer a smarter flight search to give you a simple breakdown of each ticket. You can also compare flights across classes of service and across airlines.

Check back soon for the International Flight Study.

 

The post The CheapAir 2021 Annual Airfare Study: Domestic Flights appeared first on CheapAir.