You’ve finally received your vaccine and are ready to roar in 2021. You could kiss Grandma for the first time in a year, and you are finally ready to hike Machu Picchu. Even guidelines recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agree that travel is low risk for those vaccinated.
A vaccination and the CDC’s low risk designation is not the key to unlocking your dream vacation. With ongoing international quarantine rules, capacity limits, complicated testing requirements, and more, avoid embarking on a dream vacation just yet.
Here are several factors that can hinder your trip, even if you are vaccinated.
What could be limiting your big trip this year?
Slow roll-out of vaccination
While vaccine deployments can seem painfully slow (especially if you’re low in the pecking order), the The United States has one of the highest vaccination rates of any country. With vaccinations progressing slowly, many countries are still facing lockdown measures similar to those you experienced in 2020.
Closures and curfews
Indoor eating bans and nighttime curfews could be painful reminders of the past year. In many countries, these restrictions are still in effect.
Morocco imposes a curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., which must last at least on April 20. In Italy, curfews are in effect until at least April 30, from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. In some parts of Italy, even stricter restrictions mean restaurants and ice cream parlors are only open from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. It won’t work when you’re jet lagged and want a 2 a.m. gelato fix – let alone a 7 p.m. dinner.
Moderate your expectations for activities as well. In Paris, the Louvre Museum and the Eugène Delacroix National Museum are closed due to government restrictions. If your dream post-vaccination trip involves a trip to France, maybe wait until you can see Mona Lisa’s famous smile.
These are just a few examples from around the world, and it’s impossible to say how long lockdown measures like these will last. But even as the United States eases some coronavirus restrictions, some countries are moving in the opposite direction, reimplementing various lockdown rules and closures.
Even if the restrictions disappear, capacity limits in the United States and abroad could make planning difficult.
For example, the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida requires you to reserve the specific theme park you want to visit in advance, and due to lower than normal attendance caps, it can be difficult to secure your preferred reservation. . By early April, the Magic Kingdom – widely regarded as the centerpiece of the resort – is already full on most days of the month.
To visit Walt Disney World, you will need a reservation to enter one of the four theme parks. As of April 1, there was not a single day in the month when all four parks were still available.
Ask yourself: will your trip be worth it if you can’t get into the main attraction at your destination? If not, consider putting it back a little longer.
Capacity limits and closures aside, some countries are not even open to tourists, vaccinated or not. For example, Vietnam’s borders are still closed to all foreign nationals with a few exceptions, and many European countries do not yet allow visitors from the United States.
Thailand began a gradual reopening this month, but most tourists, even vaccinated, can only visit certain provinces after being quarantined for 10 days. On July 1, you can skip quarantine if you are vaccinated, but only in Phuket. Phuket is nice, but visiting this summer means you’ll miss out on the country’s other treasures. For now, the Thai government has said it does not plan to be fully reopened to vaccinated tourists until January 1, 2022.
Other countries can follow suit.
Entry requirements change by day and by country, so don’t assume you’ll be able to eat your crispy lumpia weight in Boracay now that you’re vaccinated. The Philippines has one of the toughest travel restrictions as the activities of leisure hotels have been suspended.
Testing requirements for returning to the United States
Even if you’re visiting a country with no travel restrictions, there’s one hurdle to getting home: In January, the CDC issued an order that all travelers entering the United States must show proof of a past negative test. within three days of embarkation of the return. flight.
Are you sure you want to spend your last few days on vacation looking for a testing center? Instead of sitting at the pool bar, you could be sitting in a doctor’s office.
It is not known when this restriction will be lifted.
Some hotels encourage travelers to take tests on site. For example, by May 31, 2021, all The 19 Hyatt resorts across Latin America offer free on-site testing to customers traveling to the United States
If your test is positive, you’ll need to book your flight at the last minute and find quarantined accommodation – probably not the end of the vacation you were hoping for.
Tips for booking travel, even after vaccinated
If you want to reduce headaches and potential obstacles, it may be your responsibility to stay on the priority list or international travel a little longer. This summer, consider a trip that is relatively easy to change or cancel, and consider domestic travel rather than international travel.
If you are engaged in international travel or other major vacations, take these steps to ensure that it can be canceled with as close a refund as possible.
Book flexible airline tickets and hotel reservations
A lot of us Airlines companies eliminated home change fees on most fares, and many hotels waive fees for reservations canceled at least 24 hours in advance. Some cruise lines even offer full cash refunds if you cancel for a coronavirus-related reason.
Carefully read the cancellation policy on all paid bookings – and consider booking only with companies that have flexible policies.
Pay with a credit card that offers travel insurance
A lot travel credit cards offer Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Guarantees, under which you can be reimbursed for eligible expenses for interrupted trips paid for with this card. Just be aware that what’s eligible for a refund is somewhat limited.
For example, a reluctance to travel because you read a peak in the cases is not a covered reason. However, getting sick (whether from coronavirus or some other illness) is usually covered.
Consider a separate “ cancel for any reason ” insurance policy
This will cover non-refundable bookings regardless of your reason for canceling, but there are a few tradeoffs. This is usually more expensive than standard policies and typically only reimburses 50% to 75% of the cost of the trip.
The bottom line
It’s tempting to finally book your dream trip once the needle pricks your arm. But even if you feel ready to sit in all the theaters of London’s West End or hop aboard a cruise ship from Vancouver, these places aren’t necessarily ready for you.
For now, consider a vacation that fits a little better with the current restrictions. If you want to get away from the contiguous United States, throw yourself into the Caribbean, where you can avoid passport requirements in US territories such as the US Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico.
Even if you think a vaccine is your ticket to freedom, be realistic: most trips in 2021 will be very different from what they were before the pandemic. If you are looking for a smooth, unrestricted vacation, wait a little longer.
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