By: Bryan Herb
Ever since the arrival of Covid-19, I have been saying that things are not going to really get back to normal until there’s a vaccine, and that the vaccine will be a total game changer. Now with the arrival of the vaccines, we see this as being a reality, especially in the travel world.
Currently, every country has its own specific Covid-19 related restrictions and qualifications for entry. Some require a negative Covid-19 test, and now with the vaccines, some are requiring a vaccine. Still other countries are requiring both, so you definitely need to do your research before traveling. At the writing of this article, places like Mexico and Costa Rica are not requiring a vaccine or negative Covid-19 test for entry.
The following countries are allowing entry with proof of vaccine. Note, this list is changing and evolving daily.
· British Virgin Islands
· French Polynesia (Tahiti)
· Republic of Georgia
In general, Europe is opening up more and more, and definitely differs from country to country. Also, the requirements are different based on where you’re coming from. The good news is that if you are a United States citizen, and have been longing for a trip to Europe this summer, that is definitely now a possibility. Like with every country to which you want to travel, you just really have to do your research prior to identify the requirements.
In addition to the restrictions and qualifications imposed by various countries, different travel entities such as resorts, cruise lines, air carriers, etc. have their own restrictions, regardless of the official government mandates. In the US, for instance, vaccinated individuals need not wear a mask. Nevertheless, some private business are requiring them. This may be playing out in similar fashion abroad.
Perhaps more in the travel sector than any other place we are seeing many companies requiring a vaccine in order to participate. Many cruise lines, such as SeaDream Yacht Club are requiring a vaccine to travel with them (a negative Covid test prior to your flight will not be enough). They are also testing every passenger for the Coronavirus before they get on the ship. What I am seeing more and more, is that even if you test negative for Covid-19 within 72 hours of your trip, you still need proof of a vaccine in order to participate with many travel suppliers. If your travel involves somewhat confined spaces with others, such as on a cruise ship, the chances are high that a vaccination will be required. My company, Zoom Vacations is requiring proof of vaccination and/or a negative Covid test taken 72 hours prior to the group trip.
Also, if you are traveling to America, you will still need proof of a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of your flight home even if you have had the vaccine. Some destinations require a PCR test while others allow an antigen test. PCR tests are more expensive than antigen tests. So, if it’s all the same for traveling you may want to opt for the antigen test. What is the difference? The steps taken after the test by the lab to secure your result. So keep this in mind for your return. Most fine hotels around the world will arrange the test for you, and most have created testing sites within the hotel. Likewise, guests on Zoom Vacations trip will benefit from pre-arranged PCR or antigen tests for their flights home from an international destination. In my recent stay at the beautiful Viceroy Hotel Cabo San Lucas, for instance, they have designated one of the rooms as a testing site. I took my Covid-19 test, and had the negative results that evening, which I used for my flight two days later. Also, keep in mind that all hotels and institutions have different fees and facilities for testing for Covid-19 while abroad. So you may want to keep this in mind when budgeting for a trip.
I have been traveling quite a bit, and I will tell you that one of the greatest things about taking an international trip, is that you often do have to have a negative Covid-19 test before boarding your flight. The nice thing about this is that you know that every other person on that flight has also tested negative for Covid-19 prior to boarding. That gives me a lot of peace of mind. Also, I have taken so many Covid-19 tests now that they really do not bother me at all. I just kind of don’t think about it, and just do it.
That being said, a friend recently told me that he wasn’t going to travel internationally, because he didn’t want to go through the Covid-19 test. I am still trying to wrap my head around that because the test just isn’t a big deal to me at all. One thing I can tell you for certain is that traveling again has lifted my spirits exponentially, and to me that is worth a few seconds of a nasal discomfort. It’s time to live our lives to the fullest, and for many of us, travel is at the heart of that.
Bryan Herb is co-owner of Zoom Vacations®, a US company that creates stylish international private events and gay group vacations to the world’s hottest destinations. Learn more about them at www.zoomvacations.com or call 773.772.9666.
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