Yes– You Can Still Enjoy Summer Travel This Year
This is an article “Yes– You Can Still Enjoy Summer Travel This Year” by Marc Pulisci
With the pandemic slowly fading away thanks to countrywide vaccination efforts, a boost in the national travel industry may just be around the corner. While things might seem different in the post-pandemic scenario, there’s no reason why the most avid traveler shouldn’t enjoy a summer vacation this year.
According to the Deloitte State of the Consumer Tracker, the majority of the population is still hesitant to pack their bags and go on vacation due to the lingering threat of COVID-19. As possibilities of seeing the health crisis subside overnight seem a far-fetched at the moment, almost half the country is more inclined to stay home than board planes and go places.
Of course, it doesn’t help to see the abundance of the now-familiar personal protective equipment (PPE) and face masks in airports and hotels, which can serve as an instant downer for any tourist. However, the fact remains that these sights, along with social distancing and stricter sanitation protocols, will be the norm in the months ahead for any travel destination even though over half of the population has already been vaccinated.
Once you accept how this year’s summer travel will still be a far cry from what you normally do, the sooner you will adapt to the current tourism difficulties and learn to enjoy your getaway.
Travel anxiety is at an all-time high
During the pandemic, the concept of travel has changed a lot for individuals who were caught on lockdown and forced to turn their short-term visits into quarantine periods. Some timeshare owners found themselves stuck in resort stays while others were left with no choice but to stay in small cabins at below zero temperatures, round-the-clock darkness, and hungry polar bears surrounding the area.
While travel experiences during the height of COVID-19 are different, people are now thinking differently when it comes to traveling. And travel anxiety is higher not just locally but all around the world, with very few choices for leisure activities or even meeting new people. But will things change now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has somehow relaxed the wearing of masks in all public places and events for vaccinated individuals?
The truth is that not much might change despite the CDC’s new take on mask-wearing. In a way, it might also have created more anxiety for others since trust is low in terms of simply believing any random guy you meet on the subway who says he’s been vaccinated. Vaccine hesitancy is still a huge thing nowadays globally while international herd immunity has become as impossible as getting rid of COVID-19 completely. Add to this how 80% of countries worldwide are still under the Level 4 travel warning as of April 2021.
Domestic travel for now
What summer travelers can at least expect is some leniency in being able to go anywhere they want within the country without much inconvenience. The same cannot be said, however, on a global scale. What’s most confusing about international travel is how the U.S. State Department’s risk assessment seems to differ from that of the CDC’s when it comes to traveling. Currently, the CDC lists 141 countries at Level 4 risk, while there are only 34 on the State Department’s records.
It’s easy to point out that the two agencies apply different methods to reach their numbers– the CDC bases its risk assessment solely on travelers’ health threats while the State Department considers all threats to its citizens’ security including natural disasters, terrorism, or civil unrest. Hopefully, and sooner rather than later, the CDC and State Department can work out and reconcile their methods for summer travelers to get a better view of the current health crisis figures all over the world.
More travel guidance inconsistencies
In one of the few travel scares during the pandemic, a New Delhi to Hong Kong commercial flight registered the highest number of infections with 47 or 25% of its 128 passengers contracting the virus right after touchdown. The record was instantly linked to a new variant of concern emerging from India which is said to be more contagious than previous strains of the coronavirus.
In the U.S., flying is categorized as a low-risk activity for COVID-19 according to the U.S. Department of Defense and United Airlines owing to more aggressive air filtration and circulation systems onboard. European countries beg to differ with the United Kingdom and New Zealand studies showing that the virus can be spread especially on long-haul flights.
With such inconsistencies in international travel, packing your bags and opting for local destinations is the wiser choice this summer. After all, most countries around the globe are still struggling to reopen. Even if most Caribbean islands such as Anguilla, Aruba, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, and the Bahamas among others are already accepting visitors to rebound from their travel hiatus, international tourism remains a bit unsafe according to health experts no matter how tempting it may be.
Enjoy summer travel by being safe
Being a post-pandemic and fully vaccinated traveler doesn’t mean you can rest your defenses from COVID-19 nor think you can’t contract the virus, be asymptomatic, and eventually infect others. Today’s line of vaccines can prevent severe health risks and, more importantly, death, but they do not give you 100% protection against coronavirus, especially since new variants of concern are still emerging.
Be cautious and take your summer holiday trip slow so you can enjoy it without potential health threats and do consider travel insurance so you can get medical coverage if you get sick while in transit. And you might as well expect large crowds in such hotspots as Oregon National Parks, Cannon Beach, or seaside destinations in Portland which are some of the best travel spots for summer, as well as higher airfares and few available car rental options.
Summer travelers will still need to consult their doctors and travel agents to ensure safer trips. It’s also wiser to choose destinations with readily available health care infrastructures and sound pandemic infection protocols just to be sure.
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