‘Prepare yourself for change;’ Travel agents report record numbers amid global delta variant surge


INDIANAPOLIS — If you’re still feeling the side effects of cabin fever, being cooped up for so long thanks to the pandemic – you’re not alone. 

Local travel agents say they’ve been busier than ever planning your trips now that some travel has resumed… but with concerns rising due to the Delta Variant, doctors urge the unvaccinated to stay home.

If you do travel soon, the CDC urges you to not travel to the United Kingdom. If you have to travel there, make sure you’re vaccinated with preferably the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as positive COVID-19 cases soar to 50,000 a day in the island nation. 

Travel around the rest of the world – especially the Caribbean has begun its rebound, demand to travel, has resulted in skyrocketing prices for would-be travelers.

“Everybody is traveling. Everybody had the same idea. Everything is more expensive,” Indianapolis-based travel agent Suzanne Haire said. “The one thing that is really hard right now, of course, is air. There’s only so many seats and there’s a lot of butts hoping to fill them… it isn’t cheaper to travel right now.”

‘Travel Agent Suz’ says folks aren’t worried about traveling to the Caribbean and parts of Mexico anymore. It’s where the bulk of her clients are traveling. 

“In the next four weeks I have five groups traveling… total of maybe 380 people traveling… all of the Mexico or Dominican Republic,” Suz said. “But it’s busy… and I mean it’s sixty to seventy calls a day busy. I have had to hire four assistants just to help lighten the load.”

Suz believes this surge in sales is a direct result of being told not to travel for the last year and a half. 

“I call it teenager syndrome. It’s kinda like when you’re a kid and you’re told ‘no you can’t do this’, guess what the first thing you want to do is? That thing,” Suz said. “We’re all stuck in that syndrome right now. We’ve been told no; you can’t go to the grocery store. No, you can’t go to, you know, your church or your restaurant… as soon as they opened up, we didn’t mind wearing a mask because we wanted to go. We wanted to have human interaction.”

Which is all well and good, if you’re vaccinated. If not, doctors say the time to travel has not yet arrived.

“There’s going to be a continual significant surge in the unvaccinated population. The Delta Virus is highly, highly contagious,” Chief Physician Executive at Community Health Network Dr. Ram Yeleti said. “For the time being though, if you’re vaccinated, especially with the Pfizer/Moderna, the likelihood of you getting the Delta Variant is very low. So, it is safe to travel.”

If you do decide to travel, experts say you’d be wise to get your passport, get it early, get travel insurance and if all this info has you in a tailspin… get an agent.

“I know I’m biased but use an agent. If you don’t use me, use somebody, because we’re experts in it – we’re being advised of these things every day, these changes are happening rapidly,” Suz said. “If you can go. Go. It’s not gonna get any different or any better for you until these variants stop. If you feel more comfortable traveling with a vaccine. Go get your vaccines.”

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