Now that the COVID-19 vaccine is being distributed, we’re wondering when we’ll be let out. There is much speculation, but we did a bit of research to provide the latest expert opinions, as well as destinations you can still travel to right now, with some added planning and testing.
Currently, countries are deciding what’s best for them individually based on virus and economic data. Vaccines and testing will be critical for future travel, but travel industry experts are saying that travel economies can’t afford to wait until vaccinations are fully administered around the world. The Airports Council International (ACI) is supporting health apps like CommonPass, which can display lab results and vaccination records without exposing other PHI.
Here are the CDC’s travel guidelines: “Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. If you do decide to travel: Check travel restrictions; get your flu shot; bring masks and hand sanitizer; know when to delay your travel; do not travel if you or your travel companions are sick; wear a mask in public settings, on public transportation, and in transportation hubs; avoid close contact (6ft) with anyone not from your travel group; wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol); avoid contact with anyone who is sick; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Where can Americans travel right now?
As of last week, US News and World report published a comprehensive list of the 72 countries accepting travelers from the US, along with rules and restrictions. Just a few of the more popular destinations include: Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, The Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ethiopia, French Polynesia, Ireland, Jamaica, Maldives, Mexico, Morocco, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, Turks and Caicos, UAE, and the US Virgin Islands.
While we can technically travel to these countries now, all but a few require 14-day mandatory quarantines, negative COVID tests upon arrival, special insurance or visas, or other precautions that make it difficult to enter, with good reason (Fodors, 2020). The point is, if you’re vaccinated and want to travel, or you must get away for family, work, or mental health, there are ways to do it now.
What we can expect in the future?
Travel industry experts are cautiously optimistic. “I’m actually quite confident that first of May onwards … we’ll all be in a much better world,” said Paul Charles, founder and CEO of London-based travel consultancy The PC Agency. Australia’s popular airline, Quantas, has said: “Recently we have aligned the selling of our international services to reflect our expectation that international travel will begin to restart from July 2021.”(Fortune, 2021). European vacations, or vacations involving close quarters for extended periods may be obviously slower to recover. “Based on my clients, I believe we’re looking at 2022 for European vacations,” says Carol Kent, a travel agent that specializes in yacht charters. “In the meantime, it’s smart to plan ahead and keep the love of travel going.” (Fodors)
What we can definitely expect from travel now and in the future: mandatory in-flight masks, pre-departure and arrival testing, mandatory quarantining and social distancing, use of biometric technology, temperature screening and reduced in-flight services , and possible lengthy quarantine periods.