Are We There Yet?
If you are a traveler at heart, the pandemic has not been easy for you. Maybe you feel like that kid in the back seat of the car saying, “Are we there yet”! Hopefully you stayed healthy and are now starting to think about your escape. But, how to know when, how and where you can go?
The first question on everyone’s mind is ‘when’? After more than a year of constant change, cancelled plans, hopes raised and hopes dashed, the question of ‘when’ determines a lot about the other questions and answers, so I will start with the criteria I am using to decide about whether or not an international trip should be a ‘go’ later this year.
There are a few factors you may want to consider before jetting off. They are:
Vaccines: Yes, this is probably what you have already thought of. Without having a vaccine in your arm and full immunity from that vaccine, it’s just too much of a risk to you and others to travel like you used to. That may not be a popular opinion, but unlike many decisions we make in life, this one really can be life or death. If you are not fully vaccinated, or sure to be vaccinated, by the time you need to decide about that trip, it should be postponed. Health care systems have been strained around the world and they don’t need to be taking care of tourists on top of their own citizens.
More information on the Vaccines: I’m a biologist. I have a geeky attraction to the research that has been churned out about the virus, the vaccines and the effectiveness of the vaccines. It is only now becoming clear how the vaccines withstand some of the variants. That is the kind of information I am keeping track of and you might want to as well. You don’t want to be a ‘super spreader’ event. Period.
How the destinations are doing with Covid: It wouldn’t be much of a vacation to find yourself in a ten day quarantine on either end of your vacation, so checking those requirements will also be relevant. But, more importantly, quarantines are not something to find a way around. If there are required quarantines or testing, they are probably justified. Whether that country is undergoing a surge of virus cases or their medical system is about to blow are important things to keep track of and the limitations that location sets are something to respect.
Don’t wait for ‘perfect’: So, if all those other Covid-related hurdles have been knocked down, the last thing to consider is what is the right timing for the tourist industry where you are going? Assuming your presence is not a burden, then you might want to look at timing this way: in ecotourism especially, your tourist dollars support conservation and local communities. Can you think of any other time in your lifetime when that’s been more important? Just showing up might be your biggest gift ever. If you think it will be a more perfect vacation if you wait another year or so, let me ask you this. Is a vacation ever perfect? Aren’t those moments of serendipity on past trips the moments you remember? And, by the way, didn’t this pandemic teach you that you are not guaranteed a tomorrow? Once it is safe, I would encourage you to think about the positive impact you might have by venturing out.
Terry Lawson Dunn, Founder