Returning to travel is like ‘riding a bicycle’ after you fall off! Climb back into your airline seat and in a few moments, you will feel at home in the sky again. You’ll get that sizzle of excitement love the clouds passing by, and probably will not even care about the food. Seriously, travel is back. Delta and American both published their first profit in the second quarter: Passport offices are backed up for months with people wanting to go overseas again. The line in the Post Office for Passport Applications is long. As Americans became vaccinated and began to better understand new health and safety protocols, they jumped to travel.
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Where are Americans traveling internationally? Mexico was one of the first countries to reopen. Cancun and the Mexican Beaches led the way. Cancun especially became the go-to area for housebound bored citizens. A general yen for the outdoors and the ocean helped Mexico. Many Caribbean Islands also opened; however, changing requirements and testing deadlines make entry to islands confusing.
Those waiting for Europe can plan and book their trips. A few things to know about most European rules:
- Some areas require a pre-departure Covid test- no older than 72 hours. It might be a PCR test which is more expensive.
- You might need to present your CDC card. There is a movement in Europe for an official electronic proof of vaccination. This is a work in progress, but keep an eye on the evolving widget. (Britain announced in July 2021 that Americans can enter using their old-fashioned paper card).
- You will likely have to fill out a document attesting that you have not been exposed to the virus.
- You will need a negative test/document to re-enter the US
Now if this sounds daunting or messy, it is not at all. Like any new situation, you make your administrative list and check it off.
Take number 1. The PCR test involves a nose swab and until recently it took 3 days. It now takes as little as 12 hours for results you hand to immigration in your destination. There are mobile testing vans around cities; I just passed on in Manhattan with a 5-minute line. Smart airport retailers like XpresSpa expanded to testing in some major airports. So number 1 is pretty easy and you can now be sure that the people with you are also healthy.
No 2. Keep that little CDC card in a safe place. Some states like New York have an electronic version also: Excelsior Pass. Keep both, why not? When the European Union begins to use an electronic version, we are betting that the US will have plenty time to comply. Anyway, all vaccines used in the US are accepted in the EU: Moderna, Pfizer, and J&J. We are, after all, huge tourist income for many EU countries and they will make is simple for us to come back.
No. 3 Again a quick signed attestation documents is no biggie, and the airlines usually give you documents at check-in. You can also print one from your airline’s website. We supply these documents to our travelers with The Women’s Travel Group if they ask.
4. Yes you will need a test to re-enter the US; a rapid test is sufficient. The good news here is that many hotels and most tour companies, like The Women’s Travel Group, arrange this test for their guests so as not to interrupt the itinerary.
Other considerations: travel insurance is available for any health issues you might have overseas. A new policy will cover every trip you take within a year. (Some states do not allow the one-year test). Masking is slightly uncomfortable; but you will not get that hated cold from flying with sneezer. Airlines are still offering free ticket changes; a bonanza while it lasts. They are also extending the validity of canceled tickets, some as long as 36 months. Our dollar is strong against the Euro and many other currencies.
So Paris awaits, so does London and Rome. Greece/Iceland/Croatia and many others are already getting our patronage. There might be some deals out there for last-minute bookings. Grab them, costs are expected to rise a lot in 2022.