Travel 2021-Getting Started Again: Updated as of July 14, 2021:
March 11, 2021 marked the one-year anniversary since the World Health Organization declared Coronavirus was a pandemic. For one-year much of the world’s commerce and travel has come to a halt. However, as COVID-19 vaccinations within the United States and abroad have become widespread, summer vacation 2021 is back on albeit, at a lesser level than past years.
While many pandemic travel restrictions are being eased, many of us are still waiting to take our 2021 vacation. The good news is that as of July summer vacations are starting to roll out after finding the right destination. Those close to home, such as road trips and hiking national parks, have been top choices followed by Mexico and the Caribbean.
The long awaited good news is that most of Europe has just started to welcome foreign tourists. The challenge is that individual countries in the European Union have flexibility to make their own rules as well adding to the uncertainty. In addition, as conditions vary worldwide, there can be last minute changes before you leave home or while abroad.
Canada is still only open for essential travel.
Good News on the Cruise Front: “Cruising is Back!”
On June 26, the Celebrity Edge, was the first large cruise ship to set sail from a US port since March 14, 2020. On that date, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had issued a “No Sail” order. The Edge with CDC agreement departed with 95 percent of its passengers and crew fully vaccinated. Next Royal Caribbean International’s Freedom of the Seas sailed from Miami after successfully completing a test run under CDC guidelines.
Travel 2021-Getting Started Again:
While re-openings country by country and subsequent pauses are daily occurrences, we have compiled a select update of many of the most popular vacation spots. Be sure to research in detail online before booking, and get travel insurance. In the current climate, a CFAR or “Cancel for Any Reason” travel insurance policy can offer the broadest coverage. Lastly, stay up-to-date on your destination’s current control over the coronavirus and whether their vaccination program has been successful.
Selective Tourist Destinations Open to US Travelers:
Partial List of Popular Caribbean Destinations Now Open for Tourism:
Japan: Olympics’ restrictions pending
Safaris are back on in some areas so it is time to look for 2021-2022 bargains. See our advice at:
For more country-specific tours, see Kayak.
Travel 2021-Getting Started Again:
Practical Advice – Know before you go:
Read the fine print: “Open to foreign tourists” can mean many things: (i) negative COVID-19 tests required, (ii) proof of vaccination, (iii) quarantine on arrival and/or (iv) special COVID-19 surcharges. For example, on the latter, Cambodia was charging an entry fee of $2,000 to cover the tourist’s potential cost for medical services. Beyond COVID-19, researching local and national regulations can be eye opening. For example, can you name the popular destinations where it is illegal to: (i) drive without an international driver’s license? (ii) bring with you certain personal prescription drugs legal at home? (iii) take photos of individuals without permission (excepting unrecognizable ones or crowded street scenes)?
No vacancies: Check out off-season offerings in national parks if they are already filled to capacity for this summer.
Major attractions: Even though many are reopening, still check to see if a reservation or ticket is needed. This can also apply to museums and other venues even where there is no charge.
Choose a tour or cruise: That way you can leave it to the travel provider to track the constantly changing country restrictions.
Going abroad: Book a single-country destination to skip being caught between shifting national restrictions.
Plan B: Consider having a backup or alternate destination in case your first choice destination falls through. For example, if your first choice is abroad, find one at home or closer to home.
Looking ahead to 2022: If you vacation plans are still on hold for 2021, take advantage of great 2022 deals being offered now.
If you choose a solo road trip for your summer vacation, take a look at our tips for the ultimate road trip in 2021. (Are you the member of an automobile club? Alternatively, are you prepared to change a tire on a remote byway?)
Consider travel by train both in North America and Europe. In the US, Amtrak Vacations include long-haul coast-to-coast journeys in style with private sleepers. See also our America Train – Solo Travel Adventures. In Europe, take a look at Great Rail Journeys.
Join a small ship cruise in the US to Alaska or a luxury oceanliner by plane or rail to major ports. As long popular in Europe, local train services offer the most flexibility and can whisk you from an international flight to Europe’s top river cruises.
With the EU and many other countries looking to vaccination passports, get vaccinated if you have not already. While some drug stores were giving a free service to laminate vaccination cards, I created my own plastic cover which could easily be reopened. Besides hanging on carefully to your certificate, scan a copy on your computer, photograph it on your phone and have your doctor make a copy as well.
“Not Home Alone for the Holidays”? Start now, and find a way to celebrate the holidays from solo adventure tours to singles cruises and holiday markets.