If you’re wondering what the state of travel is in 2021, get your suitcase ready! Travel is back on after almost a year and a half of being grounded due to COVID-19. Now that we have vaccines and loads of cute masks, it’s time to get out of the house and explore the world around us again.
Traveling may be a touch more complicated these days, but travel experts are saying that the summer of 2021 is on track to be a record-setting season. The experts who specialize in the southeastern U.S. locations (including Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia) are already seeing occupancies and rates far outpacing 2019 levels. As Americans are driven by a year of cabin fever and want to get some fresh air or some cool water (especially for those with water baby kids limbered up from infant swimming lessons), most of the continental U.S. is open to varying degrees for this upcoming vacation season.
Outside of the USA, where else is travel booming this summer? The European Union for one. The head of the bloc’s executive body stated recently that American tourists who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be welcome to visit the EU this summer. Tourists will be able to visit France, Italy, Germany, Spain, or any other European Union country as long as they have their vaccinations and can follow that particular country’s guidelines.
Another good international destination to consider is the United Kingdom. The UK’s requirements are a bit different from the EU’s – as of this writing, Americans can visit the UK but they are required to stay in quarantine for 10 days upon arrival and they must take two COVID-19 tests before being allowed to venture out.
As the new Delta variant continues to spread throughout Europe, travel restrictions may change or even reverse, so make sure you factor this into your travel plans in case they have to lock down again – make sure your travel ticket is refundable or get travel insurance.
If you travel anywhere internationally, follow a few steps before booking your flight – some countries may have very different requirements from the United States or Europe.
Check to make sure the country or island’s borders are open. Although we look forward to the seeing that the world has opened up 100%, most countries will have different levels of “open.” Always check with your travel agent or the U.S. embassy of your destination to find out more details.
Find out if your destination requires vaccinations, and if so, whether or not they want to see documentation of such. Again, every country around the world will have different requirements so be prepared to put your vaccination cards in with your passports and other important travel documents.
In reference to the vaccination cards, find out if the country requires a physical copy of it to be present or if a snapshot of it on your cell phone is good enough. It is also a good idea to scan it and make a PDF of it as well before you leave, so you still have an electronic copy if it gets lost.
Be aware that even U.S. states may have differing requirements for entry, especially those such as Hawaii that may be a little stricter than the continental U.S. because of their remote location. Hawaii is currently requiring a 10-day self-quarantine (an exemption is available for those who can prove that they’ve been vaccinated within Hawaii). Travel within the islands has opened up for now, so check with your travel agent or the Hawaiian officials before finalizing your itinerary.
The CDC website provides a treasure trove of information if you want to check out where the COVID hot spots are around the country and around the world. Countries such as Costa Rica, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Argentina, and even Belgium are at the highest alert level (level 4: very high), so don’t travel to these vacation spots unless you are fully vaccinated and prepared to take every precaution.
As far as travelers from around the world coming to the United States for vacation, there are a few countries that are not being allowed in at this moment. Anyone who has been in the UK or Europe is still barred from entering the U.S., as well as citizens from China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa, and India. As of May 2021, the Administration has been keeping close track of the public health crisis, but so far, no changes have been issued regarding the current travel restrictions. Again, keep track of the latest updates by going to the CDC’s or the White House’s website for the latest information.
With international travel still a little on the iffy side, it’s no wonder that Americans are bursting out into their own country in droves. America is a traveler’s paradise in its own right, and very few people of us can claim to have seen it all. America awaits, with an abundance of more local travel trips (and a rapid test just before leaving can assure that the family is infection free, and help reassure those in the place you’re visiting).
So if you are ready to see something besides the same four walls of your house, start making those travel plans for this summer. Your local travel agents will be more than happy to help you plan a trip, make reservations, and keep you in the loop regarding any travel restrictions that may pop up. Otherwise, enjoy the newly open roads and skies!