With COVID-19 still very much on our lives, we can never say with certainty what the future holds and wanted to dispel some of the rumors that are out there and give you the straight facts as far as we know them. We realize that the decision on when to travel again will be an individual decision for each of you, with some choosing to travel sooner than others. Many of you have asked when we think you’ll be able to travel again, whether it will be safe, and what will change.
You may have seen that the US State Department has lifted it's global "Do Not Travel" advisory, in place of advisories for each individual country. This is making travel very tempting for those who have been isolating for so many months but there are several things to consider. We wanted to share information we've gathered.
Medical professionals have been clear about the fact that we are dealing with a new virus and, while no one has immunity, there are those who are at greater risk. It's important to speak with your medical provider about your specific risk factors, prior to making any travel plans. Although the global scientific community is racing to come up with an effective vaccine, until that time, we all are at a greater risk becoming infected.
We're not talking about weather, but those areas where spikes are occurring. Keep yourself informed as to the latest trend for COVID-19 cases at your preferred destination. Something to keep in mind, is whether there may be any travel restrictions to and from the destination at any point during the time you wish to travel. Many countries have placed much stricter lock down restrictions on their residents and tourists than US citizens face. If you travel to a location that spikes and implements similar restrictions, you'll need to have a plan on where to stay if you're stuck there passed your initial travel dates.
We cannot emphasize enough how strongly we recommend travel insurance for most travel plans. While they are helpful for any lost luggage, missed connections, or injuries while you are traveling, you must carefully read their policy. Having an insurance policy may not cover you for things directly related to a pandemic or other issues. It's also important to know that while an issue may be covered, you may have to pay up front and then submit a claim for reimbursement of any loss. This can include any medical treatment, additional lodging, or airfare changes you may need. While it may cost a bit more, the Cancel-For-Any-Reason policies may be a lifesaver if things crop up.
By now, we are all pretty aware of the most common protocols for prevention of infection. During travel, you will most likely encounter locations that require you to wear a face mask, abide by social-distancing, increased hand washing, and spot check for symptoms. As a guest to your destination, be cognizant of the protocols set up and try to follow them. Some locations are implementing fines or arrests if protocols are violated. Just remember that their laws may be very different than the rights you enjoy in the United States.
WHAT TRAVEL LOOKS LIKE
My group of colleagues is very active in sharing information on what travel is looking like at various locations. Some of the observations from various destinations include:
- Negative COVID-19 test results were required for some destinations
- Resort occupancy at reduced capacity
- Masks were required at all times while indoors, with the exception of while you seated at a table to eat/drink.
- Restaurants seating set up for social-distancing, no buffets open.
- A lot of renovations were occurring. The main pool at one resort was closed for renovation but the smaller pools were still open.
- Entertainment was limited. There were still some shows in the evening but the casino and nightclub may be closed.
- The gym was open but classes required reservations. They were not requiring masks during the workouts.
- No automatic daily housekeeping services at some resorts but they would respond if you called for service.
- Extra towels, pillows, blankets, etc. were delivered in sealed plastic bags.
- All receipts and paperwork were electronic only
While your travel experience can be different than you've previously experienced, it can still be enjoyable if you remain flexible and prepared. While we recognize that everyone has their own risk tolerances and health considerations that need to be considered, we hope that everyone will soon be able to continue to travel and enjoy destinations worldwide.