Ready for Takeoff? Tips for 2021 Travelers

This summer’s travels will not be like any other. Tick-off these to-dos for a happier family trip.

By Maryann Jones Thompson | Photo by Nadezhda1906


After more than a year of pandemic lockdown, we are now free to ROAM again. Indeed, most of us have already dipped our toes—or plunged headfirst—into the pool of 2021 travelers. 

But for those whose family vacations lie ahead, consider these important to-dos for travel in 2021.

1. Book NOW! I mean this morning. I mean don’t eat lunch until you have reserved your activities, meals, buses, shuttles, ferries—everything. Yes, we’ve all heard that there is a shortage of rental cars but have you heard of other troubles when you hit the ground? We’ve been hearing tales of no seats on shuttles in national parks, no tables for dinner in Hawaii (and Vegas?!), no rafts in Tahoe, no Ubers to get across town, and more. Around the U.S. national parks, space will be tightest. So even if you’re going in late August, reserve everything! Now! You can always cancel if plans change but you may not be able to walk in. 

2. Leave EARLY! If you’re flying, add an hour or two to whatever time the airline recommends you arrive at the airport. TSA screening lines have been dreadfully long as they try to staff up travel’s rebound. And if you’re flying somewhere that you’ll need to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test, you might have another line to wait in AFTER you get to your gate that’ll add another 30-60 minutes to your pre-board process. 

3. Register TONIGHT! If you’re lucky enough to be flying internationally to a country that is welcoming Americans again, don’t be thinking you’re going to waltz through immigration flashing your vaccination card. The pre-arrival registration takes time. For French Polynesia, the online process take about 30-60 minutes per person—and you have to do each family member individually, even kids. In French. (Thanks Google Translate!) Best to get this started tonight.

4. Power Down PRE-DEPARTURE! If you never worked from home before the pandemic and are now heading out on a trip with your kids, leave your laptop and all your work at home. The temptation to just work a few hours here and there is great—and the possibility for your vacation to be ruined is just as great. Give your brain a break and give your family 100-percent of your attention while you can. No parent ever regrets it.

5. Go SOON! In case you’re basking in the glow of America’s seeming return to pre-pandemic life, here’s a sobering reminder that we are one of the only countries in the world to be out of the Covid woods—for now. Vaccine rates in other developed countries like Canada, England, and Japan are disturbingly low and massive outbreaks are still raging in most of the world. We may only have a small window of time to travel before some kind of restrictions return.

Of course, I hope I’m just being a “Negative Nelly,” but I do think the time to go is soon—and I, for one, am going to appreciate our family’s summer trips more than ever in 2021.





Maryann Jones Thompson  – June 2021

ROAM Founder & Editor   

After a thousand years in publishing as a business journalist, ghostwriter, content strategist and market researcher, Maryann brings her experience traveling as a backpacker, businessperson, expat and mom to writing and editing for ROAM.

© ROAM Family Travel 2021 – All rights reserved

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