JOHNSTON, Iowa – Cases of the new Omicron variant in the U.S. prompted new travel regulations that have local travel agents holding their breath.
Soon, anybody flying in from a foreign airport must test negative for COVID within 24 hours of departure, regardless of vaccination status or nationality.
It’s changes like those that travel agents have to keep up on and communicate to their clients. Jody Valentine is a wedding navigator with Allied Travel and says the everchanging pandemic has made her job challenging.
“Working with the couple for a year, working with all the guests for a year, managing all the reservations and then getting close to departure and having them have to either cancel their wedding or reschedule their wedding,” Valentine said, “it’s very emotional for the couple and it’s very stressful for the travel agent.”
Valentine says it’s also frustrating because so many people have already canceled their trips and if they don’t go, the agents that planned them don’t get paid.
“We’ve been doing a lot of work on trips and people will cancel because they can’t travel or they won’t want to do the one day testing or something like that,” Valentine said, “and we’ve done all that work, and nothing to show for it.”
While Valentine says business is up from last year, they still have a lot of lost money to make up for. The advice she has for people wanting to travel is to be flexible and invest in trip insurance.