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As COVID-19 Cases Rise, Is It Safe To Make Travel Plans?

BOSTON (CBS) - People are starting to book trips again; some of them, for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

"People have that level of confidence that just wasn't there, or maybe not to that extent, 15-16 months ago," Sean Kelly, with Crystal Travel & Tours, said.

But with Omicron, also flying in, doctors say, you may want to wait.

"If we see that hospitals are filling up again, we need to be extremely cautious about non-critical travel," Mass General Hospital epidemiologist Dr. Mark Siedner said.

Siedner does not recommend non-emergency travel because we are still waiting for crucial information.

"One, is it more severe than the prior variants? And two, how do our vaccines do in terms of protecting us against this variant? And it's likely still going to be a week or two before we get that information," he said.

Yet travel agencies are seeing a boost in bookings. Many believe this is a result of clear protocols, higher vaccination rates and access to testing.

"There are precautions; a lot of vendors are taking those concerns seriously," Kelly said.

More and more people are not only traveling but traveling internationally.

"I think the first thing to look at is how you're traveling and where you're going and staying. Not all resorts and destinations are created equal right now. Some of them are doing better than others," Kristin Chambers said from Curacao. She works with two Boston-based travel agencies, TravelLustre and D.A. Luxury Travel.

She said people who are having second thoughts about their trip should be asking questions.

"Are they going to assist you with the tests home? What are they doing on-property to ensure guest safety? If they are responsive and they're going to come back to you really quick with a game plan, and if you feel comfortable with that, then I say you're in good hands and you should go. There's something about the mental health aspect to getting out and supporting other local economies, as long as you do it safely and responsibly," she said.

Experts say the best advice if you are planning on traveling in these uncertain times – on top of trying to be as safe as possible – is to make sure you have travel insurance.

Above all, doctors recommend the safety protocols we know work: mask-wearing, social distancing, hand hygiene and getting vaccinated

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