Travel experts say snowbirds should be cautious with U.S. land border reopening

Word of the land borders reopening spread fast among those hoping to travel this winter.

It's news Larry Palmer has been waiting to hear.

"I had a loose plan to try and get to Chicago, to drive down this fall," the Barrie resident said.

While the announcement by the United States to open land borders is welcome news for most, travel expert Elliott Silverstein cautions that there are still many unanswered questions.

"Even though they have moved to relax some of these rules, it doesn't change the fact you still need to be on top of things, and you need to be careful because the travel advisories have not been removed," CAA's Silverstein said.

He added that all travellers should exercise due diligence before taking off across the border. "It really is understanding what the requirements are for testing in terms of both exiting Canada and re-entering Canada because a lot of these rules are changing, and a lot of these rules vary from place to place."

The exact date when the land borders will reopen has yet to be announced, and whether the United States will accept travellers who got the AstraZeneca vaccine.

"Just look at just the Caribbean. Every single island has different regulations," noted Chris Ashton.

The Barrie travel agent said he anticipates several calls from people hoping to change their travel plans.

"Many people planned on flying down for the winter season now they have the option of driving, which you know a lot of people like to do, especially the snowbirds."

Silverstein recommends travel insurance for anyone looking to drive over the border.

"Insurance providers are offering COVID-related coverage, and it is important to talk to your provider and understand what levels of coverage you have."

Meanwhile, Rod Rosewell is just happy he will be able to enjoy the warmer weather this winter. "Being able to sit on the beach in the sand certainly beats sitting in the snow here."