Big Shift in Pandemic Thinking
This week my daughter's school sent out an email that said "we will be returning to normal operations". A simple message that, assuming all goes well over the next few months (and I am cautiously optimistic), will have a profound effect on thousands of students and their families. Normal operations... My daughter hasn't truly known what that was like since she was in 1st grade. Here's another positive message I saw last week: More countries reopen to travelers, signaling a big shift in pandemic thinking.
Over the next several months, my family and I have plans to go the Western Caribbean, Curacao, Aruba, the Mediterranean, and then back to Disney in the fall. Based on the number of calls we've received lately, many of you have the same ideas. Recent surveys have shown that US travelers plan to spend an average of $3600 per person to travel internationally within the next 12-15 months. Increased demand and decreased availability hasn't done anything to stop the pent up travel demand that has built over the past two years.
Recent Travel Changes
It seems as though travel regulations and restrictions are changing on an almost daily basis, so be sure to check with us on the latest. The good news, though, is that the trends all seem to be heading towards loosening regulations. Here are some of the most recent and noteworthy:
- Masks are no longer required at Universal Orlando parks or on Norwegian Cruise Lines ships. Royal Caribbean has also eliminated masks indoors in "vaccinated guest" areas. They require most guests to be vaccinated, so this means that more than 95% of the guests on their ships will no longer need to wear masks in most places.
- Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando announced that vaccinated guests will no longer need to wear masks.
- Australia and New Zealand has opened to tourism for the first time since the pandemic started.
- While this isn't a change, many people ask which are the easiest countries to visit in the Caribbean. Mexico and the Dominican Republic are still the easiest to enter and visit and have become very popular destinations. St Lucia, Jamaica, the Bahamas, and the US Virgin Islands (and many other islands) permit unvaccinated guests, but the restrictions are more difficult to navigate.
- US citizens are still unable to visit Japan and China, but many other Asian countries are now open to tourists (although many still have COVID restrictions in place).
- Hawaii is a bit complicated based on vaccination status. If you're thinking of visiting there, give us a call, and we'll be glad to help you plan your trip.
- All US citizens, regardless of vaccination status, do still need to present a negative COVID test prior to boarding a return flight from an international destination. We're hopeful that this will change by summer, but as of now, the requirement is still in place. You do not need to test for flights between US states, or from Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands (St Thomas, St John, St Croix). Most resorts, particularly in the Caribbean will provide on-site testing. Otherwise, finding a testing site will be your responsibility and at your cost.
We often have people contact us who say "I've never used a travel agent before, so I'm not sure how this works." Quite simply, we're here to partner with you so that you don't have to navigate all of this on your own. We're here to answer questions, use our vast network of in-destination experts so that you don't have to wing it or make your best guess, and work hard to find you the best value for your unforgettable vacation.
Contact us today to get started: email@example.com | 678-942-6710