Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted a Saskatoon travel agency to warn those planning trips to Europe in the days and months ahead.
“There are a lot of feelings of unease right now. We are finally clearing the hump with COVID and here we are now with what is happening and it is creating a lot of uncertainty,” said Michelle Loran, director of Vacations Away Inc.
Loran said his travel company advises people to exercise caution when planning their trips and to ensure they check travel advisories on the Government of Canada website.
She also said people should register on the website so the government knows where Canadians are if something happens to them while they are outside the country.
On Friday, the website said people should avoid all travel to Ukraine and Belarus and avoid non-essential travel to Russia.
The notices come as Canada on Sunday closed its airspace to all Russian-owned or operated aircraft in retaliation for Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine.
Loran said she anticipates many cancellations as people rethink their travel plans to those areas.
“We have people booked on cruises that were supposed to go up in that area, all the way to Russia and of course the cruise lines are pulling out of there, they’re just not going to risk going to those areas,” says -she.
“I sort of anticipate it’s going to be a slower than normal year for travel in Europe, but what else is normal?”
For those still planning to go to Europe, getting travel insurance is highly recommended, according to Goose Insurance’s vice president of products, Pamela Kwiatkowski.
“Preparation is the key. One of the things, regardless of what’s going on in the world, is that every traveler should make sure they have travel medical insurance, because you never know when you might get sick and the cost of health care health in the world is increasing more and more,” she says.
Kwiatkowski also advises people to have a good trip cancellation policy that allows them to get their money back if they have to cancel a trip for medical, personal or safety reasons.
She also encourages people to be prepared for anything when they are abroad.
“Making sure you have clear access to the Canadian Embassy, you know where it is, you know what’s going on if something happens, what will your plan be?” said Kwiatkowski.
“It’s a very difficult time. Things change very quickly so really think about your destination and maybe if it’s in a border country you might want to wait before booking your trip and maybe choose another destination just in mind to have more safety and security.