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How will Covid Vaccine Passport Get Us Back to Travel Again

Sample covid passport

I know many of us are just sick of the cold, tired of being indoors and of not having traveled for so long. Things are looking up.   People are feeling more confident and a lot more comfortable now with traveling now that they are getting vaccinated.  Although it is not 100% safe from getting infected, if we continue to practice safety protocols, I think it is really the key to getting back to normal.

On Feb 22, UK has announced their plans to reopen travel.  It may come as early as May for international travel.  Europe though is still struggling with a slow roll-out of the vaccine so it remains to be seen whether they will open by this summer. But countries are still figuring things out and planning for it. A lot of talks are happening around a Vaccine Passport.

sample covid passport which is showing a digital image of a covid 19 vaccine with QR code and a check box for vaccine taken

What is a Vaccine Passport?

It’s a proof that the holder of it has been vaccinated against COVID, and will allow them to travel freely between countries again. It will not be a passport book.  It will be in the form of a digital certificate.  An app that people will download to their mobile device and can be checked quickly by each countries’ customs and border control officers.  The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has plans to have it ready in a few weeks, named the Travel Pass. Countries will need to enroll and participate. But it will streamline the verification process if they have this as a standardized certificate.

 

Concerns about Vaccine Passport:

While it seems like a good idea, there are obstacles.  Funding, security of such passport, as well as other ethical concerns. Will this be discrimination because not everyone is able to get vaccine due to medical reasons, not by choice?  So, maybe it will be a proof that someone has a negative COVID-test, instead of a vaccine.  Plus, not all countries are having a successful rollout of the vaccines due to supply. This creates a sense of inequality.

Suppliers requiring Vaccine for traveling?

Some cruise lines have already said they will only accept customers who have been fully vaccinated starting July 2021.  Most are requiring crew members to be vaccinated.  The US cruise lines include American Queen Steamboat and Victory Cruise lines that does a lot of US river cruises as well as Crystal Cruises, which is a luxury cruise line. They said it’s the peace of mind their guests are asking for.  But other cruise line are taking a wait and see.  There are cruises in Germany and Italy that has been operating safely without much incidents even without vaccinated guests.

Some countries allow visitors who are fully vaccinated, but not yet for US visitors!   

There are countries jumping ahead of the vaccine passport, and allowing travelers to enter when they are fully vaccinated, waiving requirements for quarantines and negative COVID-test.
These include Iceland, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Seychelles, and Thailand, to name a few. But there are still restrictions for US travelers.  Yet it offers a glimmer of hope!

How do you feel about this concept of Covid Vaccine Passport? Share a comment with us!

New CDC Travel Requirement for entry to USA from international travel

image of items needed to travel during pandemic--mask, sanitizer, passport, and negative covid test

image of items needed to travel during pandemic--mask, sanitizer, passport, and negative covid test

On Tuesday, 1/12, the US CDC announced that it was adding a mandatory COVID-19 test requirement for all inbound international travelers, regardless of where they are coming from. Starting on Jan. 26, all air passengers will have to get a viral test within three days of their flight to the U.S. and bring documentation of either the test (can be electronic) or documentation that they were infected and recovered, to their airline. Airlines, according to the CDC rules, must then confirm the negative test for all passengers before boarding, and any passenger without the documentation must be denied boarding. While this is the strictest requirement US has issued since the pandemic started, it generally puts the country in line with a lot of European countries who have seen recent case surges and implemented the same requirement.

I have been working on some travel requests for Mexico and Costa Rica for example, as they do not require any testing before traveling.  Now, with this requirement, it puts another roadblock to travel. Where will travelers go get tested? Will they get test results back in time?  What if they tested positive?  Where will they quarantine and how will the cost be paid for? Those were just some of the questions that were jamming travel forums and started a wave of panic phone calls.  But it’s not the end to it all.

Within 48hrs, many of the resorts in Mexico and Caribbean have come up with plans to help travelers get tested in the resort.  Antigen tests are usually free, and the PCR tests are offered free at some resorts or reduced rates at others.  AND… some have dedicated space for quarantines. Some resorts even offer you extended free stay if you tested positive.  Bottom line: If you are ready to travel, there is nothing that can stop you.

Traveling in this new day and age is not the same as the past anymore.  There are constantly changing travel requirements.  We may soon see mask mandates for air travel by the Biden Administration.  Each country has their own travel requirements to protect their citizens.  Some require a test to enter. Some require you to re-test a few days after arrival.  Some require you only stay in certain quarantine resorts, or use certain approved tour providers.  Yet others, many others, require you to have specific travel insurance that will cover expenses for flying home on a medical jet or expenses to stay in destination if you need hospital care or extended hotel stay.  And now, US wants you to get tested when entering.

All I can say is, Please, do yourself a favor and use a travel advisor to plan your next family vacation.  Let us help you navigate all of these overwhelming and confusing travel requirements. It doesn’t have to be with me. But if you work with me, I have partnerships with travel consortium which provides a daily updated dashboard for me to review which country requires what to enter and leave.  I have travel suppliers who not only put together travel packages or custom itinerary for you, but also be available to provide assistance 24×7 in destination should you can’t reach me.  It will not only save you time, it will also make sure that someone is watching out for you and be there to guide you if something just changes suddenly.

So, be brave.  It’s ok to keep planning your vacations.  And if you missed my last newsletter about why NOW is the time to plan 2021 and even 2022 vacations, you can find it on my blog or use this link: https://www.bravobeachvacations.com/why-you-should-start-planning-2021-and-2022-vacations-now/

2021 travel planning with airplane, book, sunglasses and palm trees

 

 

 

 

 

Or, you can also plan some domestic travel and put some happiness back to your calendar.  There are so much to see! Oh and let me remind you, Hawaii does not require another test on return to mainland.  It does require you to get a negative Covid test to travel to Hawaii, but not depart Hawaii! However, it is starting a new Mandatory Contact Tracing requirement if you are visiting Maui.  And for more information about Hawaii, don’t forget to check out our Hawaii travel guide.  We try our best to keep it updated.  You can get it free on the right side bar.