TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Lori Judd knows a lot about planning vacations.

She’s been planning successful trips and getaways for nearly three decades. The longtime, licensed agent with Prestige Travel Vacations says now, more than ever, people should purchase travel insurance when planning a vacation.

She says in today’s travel world too many things can go wrong.

“It’s time we have to get back to life, and you need to cover those trip costs,” Judd said.

Passengers can protect themselves during the upcoming travel season, experts say, by purchasing travel insurance ahead of them, describing it as the key to a calm journey.

“I say that it’s highly recommended, and I give you the price upfront with trip insurance included because it is so important,” Judd told 8 On Your Side.

With the holidays fast approaching, those same experts are predicting travel this season to reach pre-pandemic levels.

Right now, Southwest Airlines is still facing countless flight delays, and that’s left many travelers scrambling to try and get home.

Thousands of flights were canceled over the weekend, and the disruptions continued Monday.

Many passengers were stranded in cities like Tampa, some of them stuck in the airport paying as much as $1,000 in additional costs. The airline blamed everything from air traffic control issues, to disruptive weather, to staffing shortages.

The question of whether to get travel insurance is top of mind for many right now, as travel troubles continue to plague the country.

Judd says purchasing travel insurance is absolutely worth it.

“I don’t believe it should be an add-on anymore in this day and age,” Judd explained. “There’s too many things that can happen.”

Judd says she not only recommends insurance, but she also buys it herself for every trip she takes, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The extra money, Judd told us, will pay for itself in peace of mind, which is priceless during a season shaping up to be busier than ever.

“It’s a huge savings. If you purchase it upfront, with 7-14 days, it covers preexisting, you can get ‘cancel-for-any-reason,’ you can get ‘cancel-for-work’ because a lot of bosses will say, oh you can’t go. I know you have a trip, but sorry,” Judd remarked.

With delays and constant cancellations in today’s current travel conditions, along with the possibility of passengers testing positive for COVID-19, Judd advises not to take any chances.

“You have to test negative flying into the country if you fly out of the country. So, a lot of people don’t think about that extra cost they’re going to incur. And, the travel and trip insurance will then help cover those extra amenities,” Judd said.