With vaccines becoming more readily available by the day, the concept of taking a vacation is seemingly around the corner. Like much of the world, you are likely daydreaming of where you’ll head to first. However, this trip may also come with some apprehension and questions considering how heavily the tourism industry has been impacted by the pandemic.
In order to plan for your first vacation post-COVID, do some research on places that are open and compliant with regulations, and prepare for necessary logistics such as testing, trip cancellations, and possible quarantines. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be to enjoy your vacation with ease.
1. Research potential destinations.
The world is slowly starting to open up, meaning many countries are looking forward to welcoming you back soon. When choosing where you want to travel, however, there are a number of factors to keep in mind. Firstly, remember that not all destinations are open yet, and if they are, they might come with certain restrictions. For example, some places will only accept people from certain countries, while people coming from countries with higher infection rates still might be banned from entering.
There are countries that will only accept fully vaccinated individuals, while others may require an in-country quarantine upon arrival, ranging anywhere from 24 hours to two weeks. Some places also have closed down major attractions to encourage social distancing, require additional testing to visit national parks, and so on, which may impact your plans on-ground. Dependent on the passport you hold and the timeframe you have, these are all important factors to consider when choosing a destination and planning your trip.
2. Find destination inspiration.
After you’ve determined the logistics, don’t forget the fun part, which is to get a bit of inspiration for destinations open to U.S. tourists. Are you looking for an island or a beach vacation? Check out Caribbean islands like St. Lucia, the Maldives, or the Bahamas, for a sun-soaked, sandy island getaway where you can snorkel, swim in the sea, and relax with a tropical drink in hand.
Perhaps you’re hoping to trek through the mountains or are dreaming of a wildlife-inspired vacation. East African nations such as Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda are all open with minimal quarantine requirements and offer phenomenal opportunities to see wildlife, trek volcanoes, and engage in adrenaline-inducing activities.
City travel may be a bit less attractive than nature travel at the moment because cities can be hotspots for COVID and still have certain public spaces closed down for social distancing purposes. Nonetheless, if you’re after some history and culture, many Balkan nations such as Montenegro, Serbia, and Bosnia are open, which offer a perfect mix of history, coastlines, and mountains.
3. Purchase travel insurance.
Travel insurance is one of the most important investments for your post-COVID vacation. Even though you may be able to travel again soon, remember that COVID still exists. This means that at any time, there might be unexpected interruptions to your trip. This could mean border closures and flight cancellations due to spikes in cases and outbreaks of new variants or falling ill with COVID while traveling. Travel insurance will help protect cancellations of flight or hotel reservations, an unexpected trip to the hospital, or an unplanned hotel quarantine that you would otherwise have to fund yourself.
4. Be prepared for the unexpected.
The best thing you can do is to come fully prepared for the new norm for travel and be ready for the unexpected. Each city and country has its own set of regulations. For example, in many places, temperature checks are required to enter airports, malls, hotels, and restaurants. Even if you have been vaccinated, face masks are still required. Cloth face masks are accepted in many places but also come prepared with medical masks, as some countries require those instead of cloth ones.
Pack ample hand sanitizer and hand wipes, print extra copies of your PCR COVID test to bring with you for travel, and check in advance to see if you need to fill out any additional information, such as contact tracing apps before heading out on your vacation. Your health and safety should be a top priority but don’t forget to have fun! After the past year, we all deserve it.