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Taking the Kids: On a (safe) spring break

Eileen Ogintz, Tribune Content Agency on

The deals have never been better. Whether you want to hit the slopes in Colorado, get your theme park fix in Orlando, or laze in the giant pool overlooking the ocean at an all-inclusive in Mexico or the Caribbean, you’ve got plenty of affordable options — as long as you are comfortable traveling right now.

Resorts, hotels and airlines have worked hard to implement COVID-19 protocols to keep you safe — extra cleaning, social distancing, touch-free check-in, additional takeout options, reduced capacity, among them. And they continue to operate with relaxed cancel and change fees, though vacation rentals may not be as lenient. That’s why it is important to read the fine print before you fork over that credit card.

It’s also important to know the latest requirements for where you plan to travel. Will you need to quarantine after arriving? Show a negative COVID-19 test? Take a test before returning home?

(If you’re traveling within the U.S., the CDC State and Territorial Health website offers up-to-date information on restrictions in each U.S. state. If you plan to fly somewhere outside the country, be forewarned that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has now ordered travelers to present a negative COVID-19 test (taken no more than three days prior to travel) before being allowed to board a flight back to the United States.

A growing number of resorts, including Hyatt Hotels in Latin America, Melia Hotels International and Sandals resorts now are offering free COVID-19 tests, while United Airlines has unveiled a “Travel-Ready Center” platform that provides travelers information on testing requirements for where they are going, locations of local testing sites and a portal to upload their required test results.

Palace Resorts of Mexico and Jamaica will not only provide free antigen (rapid) testing (two tests per room, plus $19 per additional test), but if you test positive, the resorts will cover the cost of up to 14 days of quarantine for up to two guests per room.

 

We get it if you feel safer staying at home until you are all vaccinated. Hopefully, you will be able to travel by late summer or fall, and can get a good deal, especially if you are willing to plan now.

For example, save up to 10 percent on many of OARS’ domestic departures when you are one of the first four to book a 2021 departure by March 31, 2021 and reference “Premier Pricing” at time of booking. Colorado resorts and hotels are touting special Plan Now for Summer Fun deals, as long as you book by Feb.15.

We also understand if you are desperate to get away now, and don’t want to wait. According to a new survey from the U.S. Travel Association, more than 60 percent of Americans report they desperately need a vacation. They want a change of scene, to spend time with family, visit places on their bucket lists and explore more of the United States. The vast majority of those surveyed — 97 percent — reported that having a trip planned makes them happier.

So, let’s get happy! Together with our colleagues at Family Travel Forum, we have put together The Very Best (Safe) Spring Break Ideas for 2021.

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