As a travel advisor, my mission is to create a beautiful, personalized custom trip for your and your family – I do all the work, so all you have to do is enjoy your vacation and create your memories. I say this because never has this been as important as it is now. As we approach 2022, you may be thinking about future travel plans or if you should start planning your next vacation. But, you have heard about new travel restrictions and protocols and simply are confused by them and what you should do. It’s ok. It is confusing.  That’s why travel advisors like me exist – to keep track of the endless changes and updates so you don’t have to. 

Having said that, what is up with all the new regulations? I am sure you are wondering where can you travel? Do you need to be vaccinated? Do you need to be tested before traveling?  Here is some of the most recent guidance to help you figure out where to check off next on your bucket list.

CRUISING

Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas

If you wish to take a cruise any time soon, whether it’s an ocean cruise, an expedition cruise, a European river cruise, or a cruise down one of the United States’ waterways, plan to show proof of vaccination if you are over 12.  Almost all major cruise lines, large and small, contemporary and luxury, are requiring vaccinations of all the guests.  Those that are too young to get vaccinated will need to show proof of a negative test.  Some cruise lines, such as Celebrity, are offering those tests at the pier.

Here is a good list of cruise lines and their health requirements.

Cruise lines are limiting capacity on their ships for now so this is an amazing time to cruise. I recently got off 2 cruises on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas and we felt like we had the ship to ourselves (normally carries 4,500 guests; we had 1,100).  We had such a great time that we have cruises booked for later this month and in November!

THE CARIBBEAN

The Caribbean is probably the trickiest region of the world to navigate because each island has its own rules and regulations and they are constantly fluctuating.  I am not going to list the full requirements of every nation, but here is a list of the major islands and their current regulations.

A handful of islands, Anguilla, Grenada, St. Barts, St. Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, and the Cayman Islands, have mandatory vaccination policies for adult travelers.

As of this writing, the Cayman Islands are not open to US visitors.

It’s important to note that unvaccinated travelers, while welcome to travel to other islands, will face stricter measures during their stay, such as increased testing.  Barbados, St. Lucia, and the British Virgin Islands are just some of the places that require those without vaccinations to quarantine upon arrival.

One 2 destinations – Mexico and the Dominican Republic – do not require Covid tests before entering the country, though you will be required to fill out health forms and may be subject to random testing at the airport (the DR uses a rapid Breathalyzer-style test).

Some countries, such as Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Aruba require visitors to purchase special travel protection in addition to any other travel protection they may have.

Remember, US citizens flying back home after their vacation must provide proof of a negative Covid test received no more than 72 hours before boarding their flight or risk being denied boarding. Many resorts are offering these tests at no charge to their guests and even providing accommodations for those who test positive at a discount or no charge.  I will help you navigate those rules and find the policies for your particular resort.

HAWAII TRAVEL

Kauai’s NaPali Coast

There has been a lot in the news lately that the Governor of Hawaii is telling people not to visit.  To be clear, there are NO restrictions on anyone visiting Hawaii. Governor Ige has recommended that people hold off visiting no to curb the spread of Covid (which is due to community spread and not tourism), but he has no plans to shut down travel to the islands.

Having said that, if you are planning to visit Hawaii, note that vaccinated travelers are no longer required to provide proof of negative Covid test results, nor do you have to quarantine.

Unvaccinated visitors must provide a negative test taken no more than 72 hours before departure of the final leg to Hawaii (i.e. if you are connecting through Salt Lake City, it’s 72 hours before that flight). If you arrive without a valid negative test result you will be required to quarantine for 10 days (and trust me, Hawaii, takes the quarantine VERY seriously).  Also, if you are unvaccinated, don’t plan on dining out while in Oahu. Beginning September 13, customers wishing to enter restaurants, bars, gyms, and other establishments on the island will need to show proof of vaccination or a negative covid test taken within the last 48 hours (which means constant testing if you are there for any length of time),

EUROPEAN TRAVEL

City of Split, Croatia (photo by Michelle Maria/Pixabay)

On August 30, the European Union removed the United States from its “safe list” of countries whose residents can travel to its 27 members states without requirements such as testing and quarantine.  This caused a lot of confusion about what it meant. The one certain thing is that Americans have not been banned from visiting Europe. It’s up to each country to decide whether or not it wants to impose new restrictions, and it’s unlikely that there will be any blanket bans placed on all Americans. Only one country has done so – Italy has stated that all visitors, even vaccinated ones, must present a negative Covid taken 72 hours before arrival.  Unvaccinated travelers will have to self-isolate for 5 days upon arrival.

Two countries, Croatia and Austria, have set expiration dates for vaccine certificates based on when a traveler got the shot. To enter both, visitors must be fully vaccinated within 270 days of arrival.  If your vaccine has “expired”, you must take a test upon arrival and are required to self-isolate until you get your results.

Whatever countries decide, vaccinated travelers will, in all likelihood, see little impact as a result of this new announcement.

Here is an article that explains in-depth the EU’s decision.

Other things to think about:

PASSPORTS

The US State Department is cautioning people that passports are taking up to 18 weeks for processing, 12 weeks if they are expedited.  So if your passport needs renewal, do not delay.  Get it done.  Pay to expedite processing and pay the extra $17.56 for 1-2 day delivery for the return of your completed passport. Also, the rule of thumb is that your passport should be valid for at least 6 months after your date of travel, so go check your passports now.

Also, make sure your passport is in good condition.  Your pages should have no rips, tears, or stains on them.  The covers should not be bent.

TRAVEL INSURANCE

Should you buy it or shouldn’t you?  Yes, yes, yes!  A thousand times yes! General travel insurance does not pandemics and epidemics, meaning you cannot cancel because you simply do not feel safe traveling. But it will cover you if you have to cancel because you have become ill with COVID before or during your trip.  It will also protect you in the event of trip delay, trip interruption, baggage delay, baggage loss, and many other things. Your trip cost a lot of money.  Why would you not spend a little extra to protect it?

BE FLEXIBLE AND PATIENT

This is probably the number one consideration when planning your next trip. No one, even those of us in the industry, knows when a destination or a travel supplier will change its policies. Understand that we are still living in unusual times so the travel of today is not the same as what we are used to pre-2020. Please be patient as we all navigate through these new twists and turns, and trust that travel advisors such as myself have your best interests in mind and will make sure your trip goes as smooth as possible no matter.

This is just a general overview. When you book a trip with me, we will go over the details much more in-depth. So, don’t be afraid to book a vacation for later this year or in 2022.  I am here to help you and to create that custom trip. I will find you the best place to visit, create the best package for you, and help you navigate the rules and policies because I love the fine print.  My goal is to create experiences for families to expand their outlook on life and the world and create memories that last a lifetime. Let’s do it!!

Happy Travels!

Looking for some travel inspiration?  Read this articles:

7 Amazing Fall Getaways for All Kinds of Travelers

10 Amazing National Parks Outside the United States

4 Incredible Countries You’ll Explore on a Rhine River Cruise