At the time of writing this article, vaccination rates are going up worldwide and restrictions are easing up. Naturally, for those of us who have wanted to travel all year, our minds are going to our next vacation. We can finally openly talk about travel plans without any guilt or worry.
But just like dining in a restaurant for the first time in 18 months, there’s bound to be a few jitters. It’s felt unsafe to travel for a long time, so it’s perfectly normal to have questions and feel uncertain about whether it’s wise to travel this summer. Here are a few questions I’m asking myself that might help you as you consider upcoming travel.
Is it safe for me to travel now?
Not all countries have access to vaccines, so I won’t assume you’re vaccinated. In my case, I’ll be getting my first dose in May. However, in Canada, second doses are delayed, so I don’t know when I’ll be fully vaccinated. Whether you’re waiting for your vaccine, are half-vaccinated, or fully vaccinated, the #1 question is still: how safe is it for me to travel right now? According to the CDC, fully-vaccinated people can resume pretty much all normal activities.
However, we still don’t know much about transmitting the virus to non-vaccinated people. I won’t speculate, but at this time, masks are still required on airlines and will likely stay the same. Bottom line, before you plan your next vacation, consider your vaccination situation and your overall health.
What do I need to do to travel to my destination of choice?
If you’re fully vaccinated and ready to roll, you still might encounter regional limitations and international travel restrictions. Make sure you check about the places you’re planning to visit, especially internationally, so you know what to expect. You may be required to show a PCR Covid test taken in the last 48 hours and quarantine upon arrival while you wait for another test. You may not even be allowed to enter the country at all!
Make sure you don’t meet any surprises in transit. Airlines are able to sell you airline tickets without checking your eligibility, but won’t let you on the plane if you don’t meet the requirements. So, the onus is on you to check before you book. See a map of destinations and levels of restrictions here.
Keep in mind that even if you are let into a country, you may not be able to travel to a specific province or area. And always abide by local laws when you are visiting. Not everyone is fully vaccinated, so the local rules take precedence.
Am I putting other people at risk?
This question was definitely on the list before the vaccine was rolled out. Why? Because it’s not just about you getting sick, it’s about transmitting the virus to someone and having it spread. (Let’s not forget how this whole thing started). But, if you’re vaccinated, you’re no longer at risk, right? Doesn’t this mean you’re also no longer a risk to others? Yes and no. Yes, you may not *personally* be transmitting the virus, but consider the staff at the hotel, resort, or other local spots you’re visiting. If these staff members aren’t fully vaccinated, your tourism may be creating a situation where they are putting themselves at risk in order to serve you.
It’s a tricky dilemma, since spending money and reviving the tourism industry is a good thing. However, if you’re going to a place that doesn’t have great infrastructure for vaccines and healthcare, you might actually be doing more harm than good and putting a strain on essential workers before they are able to be vaccinated.
Do I have any travel credit to use?
Ok, here’s a fun one. Before you decide on your next trip, why not see if you have any airline credit, hotel vouchers, or other ‘store credit’ you can use up first. It can be a pain to redeem these, so may as well get it over with and use them as soon as possible.
Am I setting a bad example?
Lastly, and this is something I wrestled with a lot during the pandemic: is my travel setting a bad example. Once everyone is vaccinated, this won’t be an issue. However, while a lot of the world waits for their first or second dose, sharing an “everything is normal” trip on social media can give the idea that things are back to normal worldwide. Which isn’t the case. There’s still tremendous value in travelling strategically, where safe, rather than go globetrotting right away.
In any case, international travel is just around the corner, so there is a lot to celebrate. Hopefully you can still take an awesome trip this summer!
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