Even with vaccines ramping up, Americans starving for international travel having hard time booking vacations

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Americans lucky enough to keep their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic saved their money. They didn’t travel and spent more than a year pent up.

Now they’re ready to make up for lost time — just not so fast. Travel agents are struggling to keep up with daily changes to circumstances around the world.

“If a client has their heart set on a certain destination and they just can’t go to it right now, that’s infinitely more frustrating for them than it is for us sometimes,” said travel agent Mallory Dumond, who is based in Goldsboro and specializes in cruises.

Nonstop flights from Raleigh to London and Paris still haven’t been reinstated. Raleigh-Durham International Airport does, however, have nonstop flights to Cancun and Montego Bay.

Various airlines, including RDU, now have user-friendly maps that give you the latest on where you can and can’t go. Right now, a Mediterranean dream cruise is out of the question. France, Italy, England, Spain, and the rest of the European Union are off-limits to American travelers. The same goes for Argentina and Chile.

It’s not all bad news, though. Mexico and the Caribbean are open for business.

“Most of the Caribbean is open. Most islands require a negative COVID test 72 hours prior to arrival, and then obviously to return to the United States you have to have a negative COVID test to come back,” Dumond said.

She added that clients are booking further into the future in hopes that at that point the borders in other parts of the world will be open. Cruise lines are currently flexible with credits and refunds.

The executive for the EU kicked off this week proposing Europe open its doors again to those who have been vaccinated. All 27 EU countries would have to agree to that. The United States has no official document Americans can use to prove they’ve been inoculated.

“I think it is overdue, I think it’s past time for the government to go ahead and say here’s a universal way to do that,” Dumond said.

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