Vacation Planning 2022: Why You Still Need to Be Flexible

Uncertainty can add stress to your travel plans, but it doesn’t have to ruin your vacation.

Happy young woman with tablet and map indoors at home, planning traveling trip. iStock


Have you been planning your big vacation for so long that you’re literally counting down the weeks and hours to departure? Are you also holding your breath and crossing your fingers that nothing happens to ruin it?

Sometimes the stress that comes with vacation prepping and planning can be overwhelming, especially given so much uncertainty in the world today. One week gas prices are soaring and then they’re stabilizing. Masks are required in some public spaces but not in others. And political turmoil can cause concerns about international travel.

These factors can certainly challenge the Type A ultra-planners out there. But if you remain flexible and can adjust to the idea that plans may change, your dream vacation can still be worth the wait. The best way to plan for uncertainty is to seek help and know where to look for it.

Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, offers this advice for anyone planning vacations in 2022: “Plan, plan and plan some more.”

While mask mandates were lifted in some public spaces earlier this spring, emerging COVID-19 variants continue to keep the world on its toes. For the latest news on travel guidelines and restrictions, check the AAA Mobile app or visit AAA Travel with Confidence, which provides updated travel information, from transit to lodging, for destinations around the world. It includes protocols and links to key resources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of State. There’s even a printable travel checklist.

You can also work with a trusted AAA Travel Advisor, who will have the tools to help you. Additionally, travelers can use the AAA digital TourBook guides for destinations across the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Here are more ways to plan for your vacation:


Planning to explore America from coast to coast? Or knocking some national parks off your bucket list? 

The global oil market’s volatility, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine and affected by more motorists being on the road, has meant we’re all paying more for gas. The national average price for regular gasoline soared above $4.50 per gallon in May.

Although it’s impossible to predict what you might pay this summer, you can determine anticipated fuel costs for your trip by using AAA’s Gas Cost Calculator. Find the lowest prices along your route with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. The Mobile app also allows you to map a route, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA Roadside Assistance.

Travelers can also download the AAA TripTik app to search for rest stops, gas stations, restaurants and hotels along your route.

Save even more at the pump: AAA Members who enroll in Shell’s Fuel Rewards program at can save 30 cents per gallon on their first fill-up and 5 cents per gallon each additional trip to the pump.

Get a tune-up. Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained to optimize its fuel economy. Visit to find a certified repair shop.

The AAA Diamond program includes in-person inspections. Use the “AAA Best of Housekeeping” filter to find hotels that meet general cleanliness standards. Find AAA Diamond hotels here.


In April, some airlines lifted mask mandates for passengers. But policies vary (best to check with your airline), so it’s still a good idea to pack masks in case you need one, as well as hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes. Be sure to also bring proof of vaccination—both the original card, if you have it, and an image of it on your phone.

You can find the latest CDC guidelines for air travel here and the latest updates from the Department of State here. Download the AAA Travel Checklist here.

Air travelers age two and older traveling back to the U.S.—regardless of nationality or vaccination status—must show documentation of a negative COVID-19 test result taken within one day of their flight’s departure, or show proof of having recovered from COVID-19 within the last 90 days. Results must be presented to the airline before boarding.

For international flights, check with the airline for any documents required for your destination. Also consider that you could incur additional expenses due to flight delays or cancellations if you are required to extend your time in a destination.


Cruising is making a strong comeback, with 2022 bookings near pre-pandemic levels, according to AAA Travel booking data. The rebound could be an indication that Americans feel more informed about COVID-19. Data indicates that, of the Americans who say they’re likely to cruise again, 41% say the decision is influenced by a better understanding of the risks.

“The cruise industry has done an excellent job of prioritizing the health and safety of its guests while still creating a memorable onboard experience that makes cruising so special,” Twidale said in an article published by the AAA Newsroom. “This includes every major cruise line continuing to exceed CDC guidance, even though it is now voluntary.”

Safety protocols onboard many cruise lines include vaccination and testing requirements for passengers and crew; enhanced medical facilities; upgraded ventilation systems; hand-washing and hand sanitizer dispensers in high-traffic areas; contactless room service; use of medical-grade cleaning supplies; and virtual safety briefings.

AAA Travel Advisors can provide guidance about what to expect onboard, as well as while visiting ports or participating in offshore excursions. They can also address additional COVID-19 concerns, cancellation policies and travel insurance options.


Lost baggage. Disastrous weather. An unexpected medical emergency.

There are innumerable circumstances that can turn your vacation upside down. The best way to ease your mind about the possibility of things going awry is to purchase travel insurance. It can help recoup deposits and other expenses you might not otherwise get back. You could also receive financial compensation for flight delays of as little as 3 hours. Be sure to select a plan that also covers travel interruption and additional expenses associated with COVID-19. Doing so can protect your hard-earned investment and allow you more options for making alternate plans.

Vacation planning is different today compared to pre-pandemic times. But if you plan, get help from a knowledgeable travel advisor and remain flexible. Your dream destination awaits.

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