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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.

where are US travelers visiting this Fall?

a flower lei on a beach in Hawaii

Many of my clients have been reaching out lately.  I think so many of us is so tired of this virus and just need an escape somewhere!  You might have seen social media posts of friends or others traveling and exploring new places.  You have seen news articles and media sharing actually how safe it is to travel.  Maybe you’re still on the fence though because you are just not ready to travel yet.  And it is ok.  but if you are curious where everyone is comfortable traveling to, I’ll share that my top 3 requests are : Hawaii, Mexico, and private home rental within driving distance.

This past few weeks has been all about Hawaii for me! Not only am I filling more requests for traveling to Hawaii, I feel I’m also becoming an expert of Covid-testing for Hawaii! As of Oct 15th, Hawaii has been allowing visitors to bypass the 14 days quarantine with a negative covid-test pre-arrival. It has been a slight challenge with many visitors. Changes happen weekly but mostly in the right way and to keep island residents and visitors safe. I think that’s great! And, I’m here to help you with it all!

I attended a 2 day Hawaii Virtual Conference last week with all the islands, hotels, and tour suppliers.
Normally, we would meet in San Jose with some lovely immersive island music and dance experience. But a zoom will have to do this year. I still get to hear all the New Updates for all the islands so that will be helpful in planning your future getaways. I’m excited for what’s in store for you when you feel ready to travel again.

Just to quickly summarize, beginning 11/24/20, in order to not have to quarantine in a hotel room for 14days upon arrival to the islands, all travelers MUST take a Covid test within 72hrs of their flight departure, and MUST have a negative Covid-test result BEFORE they board their flight.  They cannot wait for results while they quarantine anymore.  Everyone will have to quarantine 14 days or the duration of your intended stay if you do not have a proof of  negative Covid-test before you take off.    You must also be tested by a specific list of test partners that is approved by the State of Hawaii, or again, your results will not be validated.

There are a couple more requirements that I can share with you when you’re ready to plan.

Hawaii has been welcoming visitors from US and Japan, and will be welcoming Canadian visitors mid Dec with a similar testing Safe Travels protocol.

I’ve also created a simple guide.  Click on the image and check it out.  It has a quick overview of all the islands, and different ways to see and experience the islands,  plus, a few pages dedicated to traveling to Hawaii during the pandemic.   I hope you find this resource helpful.  And that you can use it to plan your next Hawaii family vacation!

woman performing a hula dance
Let me also share this lovely video of Hawaii with you. It’s a beautiful story of the legacy of Hula dance. Or you might enjoy this article: Building a Hula Legacy. Enjoy! Keep dreaming of your next family vacation in the beautiful islands.

Mexico, Caribbean, Tahiti and Hawaii opened for travel during pandemic

image with title of Global Safe Travel Protocols , hashtag Safe Travels

The pandemic has impacted our travel industry like little else in our lifetime yet travel always comes back. It’s not purely a luxury ‘item’ anymore – it’s a way of life to stay connected to family, friends and our sanity.  There is something extraordinary about travel. Exploring new places and sharing new experiences together help brings us closer.  Though most cruise lines have decided to pause sailings until at least Sep 15, a lot of destinations have opened up to tourism again.  Let me share here what it’s like for some of these destinations. You know the beach is calling you!

Hawaii Waikiki Beach

Mexico.  Although you may hear Mexico still has a large number of virus cases, their beach towns have kept things under control and has been welcoming travelers since June 1. They have achieved seal of approval from the World Travel and Tourism Council as a safe destination by following straight global protocol guidelinesGlobal Safe Travel Protocols

This is a great option with a short direct flight from most US cities. No Covid testing is required to go. Just a health form.  Of course, anyone not feeling well should stay home. There will be health screenings and temperature scans at airports. Regular precautions like face masks and frequent hand washing will be the new normal.  I’ve attended many trainings of different resorts and with the tourism board of Cancun, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta area and I feel most confident of this destination.  Hotels & resorts have elevated their cleaning measures to meet our even higher expectations now.  They are also required to have only 30% occupancy now. Dining and pool areas will be less dense.  Buffet serving formats will be changed if it’s available. Occupancy will slowly increase as things improve.  There are many amazing resorts here. You can have hotel rooms to suites to villa style stay. Lots of space to spread out.  In the Fall, there is also the turtle nesting season if you want to observe it.

Caribbean.  Many islands are also beginning to open up. Some islands require a negative Covid-19 test or quarantine. Some also require travel insurance and a travel declaration form submitted prior to arrival. Lots of variations here, so best to consult your friendly travel advisor.

Tahiti.  Opening July 15. Again, a negative Covid-19 test within 3 days of arrival is required. Officials can conduct random tests a few days after arrival. Some resorts are not opening right away.  Since there are already limited number of hotels here and not every hotel is open, expect limited availability. Flight schedules are also limited. The nonstop flights from SFO is now gone.  But still have nonstop from LAX.

Hawaii.  Hawaii was never closed, but it was requiring a 14day quarantine upon arrival. Beginning Aug 1, that requirement has lifted.   Travelers will need a negative Covid-19 test within 3 days of arrival. Once you get there, it’s paradise!  I also have lots of lodging options that can align with your comfort level.

So, what does all these mean? What if someone reserves a trip and then as it gets closer to vacation, got tested positive for Covid-19? Well, just like all other times, you should have travel insurance.  A few travel suppliers I work with have now implemented flexible cancellation policy as well as good insurance coverage options.  I will not let you leave home without one as I will always watch out for your safety and travel investment.

COVID-19 virus testing differs by location. Many testing locations require an appointment and a doctor’s order while some Urgent Care locations permit walk-in or drive-thru testing. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has partnered with several pharmacy and retail locations to accelerate testing in more communities across the country. HHS provides links for testing locations.

If you’re feeling ready, flights and hotels are ready to give you that nice vacation you know you so want to have.  Please reach out to me to discuss your options and get further clarity on different entry requirements or how to travel safely. Start Planning!

Family Travel ideas for June or when you feel safe

view of pool at Club Med Florida all-inclusive resort

I know in the last few months, a lot of hotels and resorts have been using the time wisely to renovate, update their properties, and to train their staff in new cleaning protocols.   They’ve implemented changes from registration to dining to housekeeping.  All are eager to welcome back travelers.  As of 5/24/2020, I know Hawaii is still not ready for visitors and asking us to wait until at least July.  Mexico and Canada travel restrictions also in place until June 22 and may extend.  Caribbean islands are moving targets also.  Some like St. Lucia, Grenada, Turks & Caicos are the most active islands trying to reopen borders. However, some hotels still need to sort out the guidelines for reopening.  The wait continues.

A lot of US options though are available.  Want to share a few ideas for you, if you wish to travel cross country to new places or to cure your “just get me out of here!!!” syndrome.

Club Med, Sandpiper, Florida—this is THE ONLY ALL-INCLUSIVE resort in the USA.  They plan to reopen with reduced capacity on June 12. The property is known for the recreational facilities and amenities. You’ll love all the sports they offer—tennis academy, golf, pickleball, and watersports of all kinds. This is in a secluded spot and you will have their “beach” all to yourself. This Club Med is not on a beach, like most of their other resorts, but it is on a river and there is a beach area.  Here are a few pictures from my last visit in Nov of 2018.  Give me a call if you want to learn more this hidden gem.

Florida Keys are also reopening some resorts.  I miss the key lime popsicle and all the delicious lobster rolls found here.  You’ll have to fly to Miami to pick up a car and drive as service to Key West airport will be limited.  Breaking up the stay in Key Largo and Key West will give you a mix of tranquil escape and modern culture.  Ask me about another adults (15+) only hidden gem that gives you a feeling of a true island getaway. It’s only accessible by boat or seaplane. 4 acres of beach and luxuriously appointed beachfront bungalows that exudes a sense of tranquility.  You may feel like you’re in this idyllic island in the South Pacific.  Here’s a shot. Do you agree?

View of a terrace of a suite at Little Palm Bungalows Resort, Florida
Little Palm Bungalows Resort, Florida

Another area that offers great combo of beach and city will be South Carolina.  Spend a few days in Charleston, where you can learn much about the Revolutionary War and also enjoy a city with great food scene and golf. Then, tag on a few beach days at Myrtle Beach, or Hilton Head Island.  Some resorts have a real private beach just for their guests. I enjoyed my stay at the Westin on my last visit. There are a few other resorts I can recommend too.

I know some National Parks maybe reopening and is very popular. So, they may not get you away from the crowds.  Also, check if each city has restrictions for out of state residents and also if businesses like shops, restaurants and bars have resumed opening before you go.

Hope this inspires you and give you some ideas for when you feel like traveling again.  And of course, know that I’m always here to serve you and make it easy for you by not just figuring out the logistics, but giving you some local tips and recommendations for must see and do! Start Planning!

How travel will change because of the Covid-19 pandemic

Items needed for Travel during pandemic: mask, sanitizer, passport

So, the past few weeks, I’ve been getting a lot of emails from hotels, airlines, and cruise lines about their plans in cleaning and what they’re doing to reassure travelers so they can feel safe to travel again.

TSA security check points will enforce social distancing so we should allow more time for this clearance and arrive airport earlier for check in.  TSA is also allowing up to 12 oz of hand sanitizer in your carry on bags.  All other liquids, gels and aerosols should still be under 3.4oz or be in your checked baggage.

Airlines said they will be stepping up cleaning protocols with deeper and more thorough cleaning in between flights.  Some will temporarily block off the middle seat to give travelers more space.
Most airlines will require crew and passengers to wear a masks.  Delta Airline said they will now board passengers seated from the back to front. I always think that is a great idea and I hope it stays.  It’s just more efficient!

Marriott cleaning room with electrostatic sprayer

Hotels will have a “New Normal” too.  Marriott CEO said they will use new technologies like electrostatic sprayers with hospital-grade disinfectant to sanitize surfaces in guest rooms, lobbies, gyms and other public areas. The company is also testing ultraviolet light technology for sanitizing keys for guests.  Food service outlets continue to find new ways to implement safety measures.  We will likely not see a buffet for some time. They may also impose reduced capacity at restaurants and lounges to give guests more space.

Parks such as Disney and Universal Studios plan to reopen at 50% capacity.  There will be more sanitizers available for guests to use.  This might be true with many other attractions and museums.

Sometimes, change is good too. We always want a cleaner cabin, cleaner room, less crowds.