UAE: Has a high vaccination rate, low positive case #s, and great healthcare should it be needed. They also have a fairly straightforward Covid policy. Most activities are also outside, and large venues - like the Atlantis Waterpark - are still only at 70% capacity which means not only “Covid safety” but also less lines! - Heidi Bloomer, Kaanect Travel Coach
Iceland: Before traveling to Iceland this fall, I thought it would be packed with tourists. I felt like everyone I know had been or was planning to go to Iceland, since they also are open to US citizens (with a relatively easy to navigate Covid policy). Boy was I wrong! In most places there was only a handful of people. We were never in a crowded situation except for later in the evening at a restaurant and on a food tour (all by choice). It was also just astonishingly beautiful. - Heidi Bloomer, Kaanect Travel Coach
Disney World, Florida: with Disney’s 50th anniversary celebration occurring - the magic will be extra special! - Heidi Bloomer, Kaanect Travel Coach
Wine Country - Willamette, Napa, Sonoma: most wineries and tasting rooms are open but have a reservation only policy, or still limit the # of guests in the space. This not only creates peace of mind, but also provides a very individualized tasting experience for those wanting to stay in the US! - Heidi Bloomer, Kaanect Travel Coach
Thailand and Cambodia: While Thailand officially opened November 2021, we really see early 2022 as the optimum time to visit! By then they will be truly opened with services available, but the crowds won't have come back en-mass. Cambodia is opening this month and the idea of seeing Angkor Wat without the crowds is amazing. I will say, we also want to get travelers back to Southeast Asia to help the drivers, guides and communities on the ground. Both these countries are heavily reliant on tourism and there are very few support systems so many are struggling with the lack of income in the last two years. We can't wait to get travelers back, both to enjoy these countries without the crowds, but also to be a positive part of their regrowth and recovery! - Andrea Ross, Kaanect Travel Coach
Puerto Rico Islands: While the main island of Puerto Rico is lovely (and a quick and cheap flight from Atlanta) if you want a more undeveloped destination the island of Vieques, off the Eastern shore of Puerto Rico is the perfect escape. Accessible by small plane or ferry it's as remote as easy-to-get-to can be! Horseback riding along the beach, diving on gorgeous coral reefs, kayaking through the world's largest bioluminescent bay...you get the remote feeling of a tropical paradise with the ease of domestic travel. I visited here with the kids this October and we just loved this sweet little island! - Andrea Ross, Kaanect Travel Coach
Belize: My first international trip post covid was to Belize and it did not disappoint. They have had strict covid mandates so vaccination numbers are high and hotels, drivers and guides are all diligent in their safety measures as mandated by the government. We spent time in the interior jumping off waterfalls and hiking through gorgeous scenery to Mayan ruins and then headed to the coast for some of the best diving in the world. Prices are reduced and tourist numbers are still low and it's a great entree back into travel with easy flights from the US, including new flights with Alaska Airlines opening up this fall. - Andrea Ross, Kaanet Travel Coach
Nicaragua: Old world Costa Rica. Untouched beauty, inexpensive and amazing places to explore jungle, beach and colonial city. A negative PCR test to enter, no masks were needed when around town, resorts etc. - Michelle Schomp, Kaanect Travel Coach
Yucatán Mexico: Easy to rent a car and explore various towns, whether it’s upscale Tulum, laid back Bacalar, cultural Valladolid, incredible ruins, cenotes and of course, delicious food. No entry requirements and easy testing available when it's time to come home. - Michelle Schomp, Kaanect Travel Coach
Masa Mara, Kenya: In four days we only saw one other vehicle! This is unheard of this time of year. Travelers have an amazing opportunity to get out there and see the animals and environment without the tourist crowds. Safari camps are embracing covid protocol and the open air atmosphere of most camps lends itself well to safety standards. This is an incredible time to visit this area, support the return of tourism and have a unique experience! - April Cole, Kaanect Travel Coach
As a note for all international travel, “Covid travel” takes diligent & frequent research + documentation - sometimes upwards of a couple of hours of prep time if having to do tests, fill out numerous forms, download apps, for many people in a family. You also always have to check the layover / transit countries - as they can frequently have different rules than the departure or arrival countries.
As a note for domestic travel, due to car rental shortages, as well as supply chain shortages, you may need to plan ahead when renting cars and booking restaurants, more so than pre-pandemic. In Hawaii, Hawaii this March - we really felt this.
by Kevin Roberts of Cranky Concierge
We’re sure you’ve seen or will see the news of the omicron variant’s emergence along with the subsequent reactions by governments around the world. We are monitoring what rules countries are putting into place, and if you’re impacted, we’ll let you know. But today, we’re writing to address the latest testing change for entry here in the US, something that will impact most of our clients. Today, President Biden released a statement that indicates how the US plans to move forward into the winter. You can view it in its entirety here but the primary change affecting travel is a change in testing timelines. Here is exactly what it says:
“Strengthening global pre-departure testing protocols: Early next week, the United States will tighten pre-departure testing protocols by requiring all inbound international travelers to test within one day of departure globally, regardless of nationality or vaccination status. This tighter testing timeline provides an added degree of public health protection as scientists continue to assess the Omicron variant.” [emphasis added]
While the gut reaction may be to panic -
We view this as a positive sign that the US is not planning to close borders to foreign travelers again. Instead, they are simply tightening up the testing requirement from 3 days prior to 1 day prior. A quick reminder: the US does not currently require PCR testing which could have a much longer turnaround time to get results. There are test kits you can even purchase before travel and bring them with you, so barring future changes, this shouldn’t be a big hurdle for travel.
If you want to keep up to date on changes, our friends at Sherpa continue to be a great resource to find and keep up with COVID-related travel restrictions. It provides information in a clear way and links to the source material so you can confirm accuracy.
We are looking forward to helping many of you with your holiday travels this year!
Original blog post can be found here: Cranky Concierge Blog
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