Now that the northern hemisphere is officially in summer and many lockdowns in North America, Europe and other parts of the world are easing, some travel restrictions are being rolled back and many people are contemplating traveling. In fact we’re getting s lot of mail asking us, “Should I book a summer vacation?” That’s a really personal question that ultimately only you can decide. There are health and safety concerns, worries about the actual process of travel with new hotel and airline rules, concerns about getting stuck with sudden closures and doubts about whether or not a summer vacation is even possible this year.
To help everyone out we thought we’d break it down… as best as anyone can.
First off, one of the safest, easiest and most flexible options is to explore your local area. You could do day trips, short overnight excursions, rent a cottage or even venture a little further afield in your own state or province. The appeal of this is that you probably won’t be trapped if there are sudden rule changes and you should already be familiar with the local rules and customs as to mask wearing, what’s allowed to be open and social distancing rules. Plus you probably also have a better understanding of the risks based on what’s happening in your home region.
The other option is to decide to travel within your country. Again for most people, this probably is an easier solution than international travel but there are still many caveats. Some US states and Canadian provinces still restrict domestic travelers from some other states or provinces or require quarantines. And the rule in say Arizona, differentiations widely from the rules in California. So while there are no country borders to navigate, there are internal rules and regulations. Plus, if for instance you are leaving a state which is seeing COVID-19 rates come down, do you want to travel to one which is currently seeing a rise?
The EU is recommending that member nations ease internal travel restrictions from June 30th onward in a coordinated approach. In fact this is happening right now as countries like Spain, Greece and Italy hope to save the summer travel season. Whether or not travelers from the UK, US or Canada can travel to the EU and what kind of quarantine restrictions they’ll face upon return, remains to be seen. For now, intra-Europe travel will be easiest for members of the 26 countries which are part of the Schengen Agreement. For the rest, it’s best to monitor the situation for now.
It should also be noted that Mexico currently allows US and Canadian citizens to travel, while a number of Caribbean islands have also announced openings. The US-Canadian border however will remain closed except for essential travel until at least July 21st, and both Canadian and US governments have travel advisories to Mexico. So for now regional travel in North America is pretty complicated.
Dubai is opening up to foreign arrivals on July 7th, Iceland is already open for some countries’ citizens and more destinations are announcing re-opening dates all the time. The challenge though of course is each country has their own rules and regulations, airlines may not scale up and offer direct service upon re-opening dates and your home country may still not allow you to leave or re-enter. And like we’ve been saying all along, COVID-19 is extremely fluid and so what’s accurate as of this writing may not be by the time your travel dates arrive.
And it has to be noted that just last week the WHO announced that the world has entered a “new and dangerous phase” of the coronavirus pandemic. So while WE LOVE TRAVEL, we all also have to be pragmatic and be smart. The best advice we can give anyone who asks us, “Should I book a summer vacation?” is to research and soul search and determine what’s right for you and your traveling companions.