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Top 10 Travel Ideas You Can Use Now

excited little traveler sitting on suitcase with arms extended

A lot of my clients are feeling that we’re finally seeing the end of the tunnel. After all, it’s been a full year of extremes. The pandemic hit so sudden and changed our lives in so many ways. Many are truly feeling a big relief and freedom from getting the protection of the vaccine and are ready to travel again.

Here are some of the many ideas that you can consider. I might come back with part 2 next time!

1. Iceland   Iceland's waterfalls Iceland has announced it will open to all tourists who have been fully vaccinated or have been previously infected with Covid. They will not need to quarantine or test. Iceland has had very good control of the disease cases. If you travel a little beyond Reykjavik and the usual waterfalls that attract tourists, you’ll see there are so many vast landscapes and adventures to experience and be very socially distanced and feel safe. I plan many custom-tailored itineraries so do connect if you are interested. OR I can find you the right tour. The short distance from the US makes it very attractive, no?

 

2. Greece Though still fighting a surge in cases, Greece believes they will have it under control by mid-May as more citizens get vaccinated. picture of Santorini GreeceStarting May 15th, they will allow travelers who have been vaccinated, had Covid-19 antibodies or a negative covid test to enter. You can experience all the historical culture, the food, the beach. Cruises here, unlike Iceland, will resume. Celestyal Cruise line, a preferred partner of our agency, is worth checking out. I also have other travel partners who can whisk you off to a remote island if you prefer to stay away from the usual Mykonos, Santorini, or Crete.

 

 

3. Alaska   Alaska without the large cruise ships guests will be the perfect place to visit! And there are no testing requirements to return home as you’re still in US soil. You will need a negative Covid test result to visit but I think it’s worth it. I can design a land-based touring itinerary for you and you will be able to see the glaciers, the polar bears, and bald eagles in natural habitat, and how about dog sledding on ice or glacier trekking for those who want real adventures? If you still want to cruise, my clients always rave about Uncruise Adventures. It may be the only cruise player this season. It’s a small ship and will clear CDC requirements to operate.

4. Caribbean Cruises   Crystal Cruises led the pack and announced it will resume sailing in June with a 7 days Bahamas itinerary to ONLY fully vaccinated guests. They prioritize safety for crew and guests and this is what their loyal guests want to start cruising again. You ask, they give. Then, other cruises like Royal Caribbean and Celebrity will follow as well. For Royal Caribbean, adults must be fully vaccinated and children will need a negative Covid test to board.  This will be the first time medium and large size ships will be sailing since last March.

5. Galapagos   Combine a Galapagos cruise with a visit to Ecuador and you’ll have a full itinerary of culture, nature, and wildlife for sure.a pair of blue footed booby from Galapagos There are small yachts and small ships perfect for navigating the islands and you’ll have an experience just like pre-pandemic. If you’re interested, hurry because of the small size of ships and large demand. Don’t miss the boat!

 

 

 

6. Africa.   If you can handle the long flights, you’ll enjoy an even more untouched Africa. Many of my colleagues have traveled and returned and had a fantastic experience on their safaris. My recommendation will be to Tanzania and finish with a beach escape in Zanzibar. Other countries are requiring negative tests and can be tricky over there when you travel from one country to another.
Here’s a wonderful itinerary to consider: https://africantravelinc.com/safari/discover-the-wonders-of-tanzania

Arenal Volcano Costa Rica
Arenal Volcano Costa Rica

7. Costa Rica

a great destination with a diverse array of activities. Whether you want to visit the coffee farms or hike to the volcanos, zipline across the rainforest, or bird watch in the cloud forest, then finish with a beach escape in the Pacific coast in a luxury resort or private villa, Costa Rica will not disappoint. You have so much space and the Ticos are so friendly. This is a top choice for families with teens.

 

 

 

a Jungle Lodge in Belize, the Blancaneaux
PC: Blancaneaux Lodge, a Cappola Family Hideaway

8. Belize  another fabulous sort of off-the-radar Central American country. This small country is full of natural attractions such as pristine beaches, lush tropical rainforests, Mayan ruins, challenging cave systems that you can explore, and the second-longest barrier reef in the world! I love combining a jungle & reef itinerary and introducing my clients to the numerous eco-lodges in the jungles on treetops! An amazing experience for couples or families with teens.

 

 

9. Disneyland   After a year-long closure, Disneyland is reopening its doors in June. Combine with a stay at the Disneyland Resort or the Grand California resort and you will have kids showering you with hugs and kisses all the way. Invite the Grandparents and let’s visit The Happiest Place On Earth.

 

10. Kauai     Kauai is finally relaxing quarantine requirements. Starting April 1, you can visit just like other Hawaii islands with a negative Covid test from a trusted testing partner. The islands are still trying to figure out if they will lift that requirement for fully vaccinated travelers. The lush jungles, the Waimea Canyon, and of course, the lovely beaches that Are Hawaii. How can you resist? All the resorts will be welcoming with open arms. And don’t forget to check out the Ultimate Hawaii Guide to your right.

Na Pali cliffs coastline, Kauai, Hawaii
Na Pali cliffs, Kauai, Hawaii

There are at least another 10 ideas I can offer. So, feel free to call, email or schedule a time to chat to get started with planning. Make up the year lost and save it with a family vacation that you know you want.

Hit the Plan a Trip button above and let a travel expert help take care of you. From brainstorming travel ideas, to planning the perfect itinerary and making all the reservations, we are with you all the way. We’ll even deliver your travel itinerary and documents in a digital app.

We will be just a text away when you travel.  The peace of mind… priceless!

 

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.

Why you should start planning 2021 and 2022 vacations now

20221 and 2022 vacation planning

Traveling in 2020 has become a very difficult decision for many of us.  It is very personal for sure. Some of my clients are ready to travel.  Some wish to travel but still hesitate due to health and safety concerns.  But with the recent rollout of the vaccine and an estimate that many will be vaccinated in spring and summer and throughout 2021, hopefully, it is the good news we have been waiting for.  Looking at trends, travelers are optimistic and ready to travel again …. and if you’ve not started putting 2021 or even 2022 vacations on your calendar, I suggest you better start taking action right after the holidays.  Here are a few reasons why:

funnel for 2021 and 2021

#1. Demand will be high, and supply will be low!
A lot of travelers have transferred their 2020 vacation to the exact same plan but a 2021 date.  They already have a seat! Yet, a lot of tour companies and hotels will be subject to limited capacity to still provide social distance for guests.   They’re also going with smaller group size as that is preferred now. As people start getting vaccinated and ready to travel, any remaining seats will be filled very quickly.  Don’t miss the boat!

#2.  Travel companies and cruise lines are ready… for months already

Every sector of the travel industry has a safe travel protocol in place. They’ve spent months developing those plans and getting the supplies and staff training they need in order to start providing the tours and experience travelers have been so hungry for.  They are committed to your health and safety. Many are just waiting for international borders to open and without asking people to quarantine.  It’ll be easier to travel.  Airlines have started providing Covid testing to passengers before they take off. Airports will have rapid testing centers.  Multiple airlines have formed alliance to set up “digital health passports” to aid travelers to more easily comply with travel restrictions for traveling overseas. Hotels and resorts now provide contactless stays and have elevated cleaning protocols.

River cruises and cruise lines are still pouring over the CDC manual to comply with new guidelines and most plan to start sailing again in April and beyond, if not sooner.  Some will provide testing to their guests while onboard. But again, they likely cannot have 100% capacity so, you will need to reserve early.

#3 Flexible change policy and small payment commitments

Many airlines have eliminated change fees for domestic AND international travel. Tour companies and hotels and cruises are doing the same.  They understand that uncertainty and disruption is still out there and they are doing everything they can to make you feel comfortable.  I’ve never seen such low deposit requirements.  Most also postponed the final payment due dates so you really have a very low commitment needed to put some happiness back to your calendar.  Great peace of mind offers.

 

excited young traveler sitting on flying suitcase with arms spreadout like wings

#4   2021 and 2022 schedules and itineraries are published

There are some exciting new itinerary options and many are already at full capacity.  Most have begun to offer small group tours or very attractive private tour discounts. Maybe you’d still like to be close to home. There are new USA tours, new ships, new resorts.  I’m especially excited about a new Rocky Mountaineer train itinerary in the Southwest through national parks. Ask me about it if interested, but hurry.

There has been studies that confirm people derive more happiness from anticipation of a planned vacation than the vacation itself! Wouldn’t it make you feel so good to have a plan locked in place and something wonderful to look forward to?

Reach out when you’re ready and I’ll be so honored to help you with your next vacation. I’ll help you understand all the travel restrictions, supplier terms and policies, and put together a plan to protect you with the right travel insurance.

Is it safe to travel now?

airplane cabin with caption What's your risk of exposure to Covid-19 on an airplane?

I know so many of us are struggling.  Many of us love to travel and going to see new places and experience new cultures and adventures. Yet, we can’t due to the pandemic, which seems to have no end in sight. But we now know more about the virus than we did back in March.  So many studies have been done to study how the virus is spread and how we can protect ourselves.  When it comes to travel, airlines, cruise lines, hotels and guided tours companies are really working tremendously hard to get you back to travel, safely.

When asked, “is it safe?”  I can only point you to what each travel companies have being doing and what studies have been done and what they proved with it.  It’s still a very personal decision.  I feel safe doesn’t mean you feel the same.  It all depends on our trust.  But there are evidence out there.

There are 2 reports released in the last week on air travel.  One from Department of Defense and one from Harvard.  Both are partnered with the airlines.  But it is still a 3rd party independent study. After all, they need to use the aircraft and also to test before and after the airline did the cleaning.  Here are links to the 2 studies if you wish to look in print.  Department of Defense study and Harvard study.

Both concluded that passengers wearing masks are at a very low risk of contracting Covid-19 on planes and that when a “layered approach of non-pharmaceutical interventions” is in place — air filtration, universal face-mask wearing, disinfection of high-touch aircraft surfaces, social distancing and passenger health check before boarding — there is a very low risk of SARS-COV-2 disease transmission on aircraft. 

My take is that there are limitations to all these studies and it does not cover the whole travel experience. They are not saying there is ZERO risk, but it seems to be a very low risk.  Use your own judgement.

I’m including here a quick 1 minute video of the Department of Defense study for your convenience. 

Here is another video that United Airlines published to show you what they are doing to clean the aircraft.  United is one of the largest carrier after all, so I chose to share theirs as they do carry most of us everywhere.  But Delta, American, Alaska and Southwest are all doing their part too.  Alaska and Delta are still committed to blocking middle seats to give you more space.

I hope this article serves you and that it helps you gain a little more confidence in returning to travel someday.   And when you do, please know that I’m here to help! Start planning!