‘It’s been a while’ | Local families prepare for spring vacations

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — This time last year, cruise ships were being docked, flights were canceled and hotel reservations were put on pause as the COVID-19 pandemic started to unfold.

One year later, Stateline residents are getting vaccinated and the idea of taking a vacation seems attainable.

We spoke with a local travel agency that tells us right now they are getting flooded with callers asking questions about traveling.

Some families across the Stateline say they are ready and eager to pack their bags.

“It’s been a while since we’ve traveled and just looking to possibly get away somewhere soon warmer, fun,” said Kelly Hartzell.

The travel industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. But more families–like Kelly Hartzell’s–are looking to start traveling again.

“We’re traveling to Siesta Keys, Florida with my two little girls and we’re going to be traveling for the first time on an airplane,” said Hartzell.

Lindstrom Travel VP Charlie Sturm says after some slow months, business is slowly picking back up.

“My prospect file is very thick right now a lot of people are calling and getting a feel for it but not ready to commit yet so a lot of it is answering questions trying to guide people through to get advice and some of those are turning into bookings once they are confident,” explained Sturm.

While some are traveling domestically with their loved ones, others are looking internationally.

“The Dominican Republic and the rest of Jamaica a little Costa Rica thrown in there also but Mexico has been the easiest to work with and they’ve set up some really good policies on if people do test positive while they’re there as to how that would be handled,” Strum added.

Traveling international is something Hartzell says her family is considering.

“Now we’re looking at Mexico like Rivera Maya possibly traveling there. So we’re excited to possibly be planning something like that,” said Hartzell.

Sturm says he’s also seen an increased interest from those who have been vaccinated.

“More clients that I talk to are letting me know that they’ve gotten both of their shots and they are ready to plan something,” he explained.

Whether you’re planning a domestic or international flight, it’s important to look at all the traveling restrictions. Since January 26, those returning from international flights need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

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