The world of travel is (slowly) reopening | Opinion – ECM Publishers

Since my last column in these pages, theres been a subtle but definite change in the travel landscape. More and more people are dipping their toes in the travel waters again, eager to resume traveling safely, of course. Where the month of March was characterized by the world slamming its doors shut, August and September have been characterized by an ever-increasing number of destinations reopening their doors and travel companies resuming service, all with new and comprehensive health and sanitation measures in place. While not everyone is eager to explore the world again, more and more people are venturing out and bookings are rebounding more quickly than many expected.

So, whats it like to travel internationally to the popular warm-weather destinations like Mexico, Hawaii, and the Caribbean islands in this new environment?

Depending on the destination, your travel experience is likely to start with a requirement that you produce a negative COVID-19 PCR test within three to five days of travel, which youll then need to upload to your destinations immigration authorities or travel provider. Not all destinations require a negative test Mexico and the Dominican Republic, for example, do not. You may encounter additional screening upon arrival, or in some cases, there may be random screening of arrivals. Some destinations may require that you remain on the property of your resort either pending the return of a negative test result or for the entire duration of the trip. Others have no such requirements.

I discussed the airport and flying experience in my last column, so I wont repeat that here. Once youve arrived in your destination and completed the immigration process, youll find a lot of things that look familiar to you. Resorts have incorporated social distancing into their operations, with a goal to reduce crowding. Most resorts have limited capacity to 50-60% of normal, and have removed tables in restaurants to allow more space between diners. Dining reservations, while always recommended, are now required in many places. Staff undergo frequent health screening, including routine COVID-19 testing and temperature checks, and all wear marks and/or gloves throughout their daily work. Masks requirements may vary, but typically track fairly closely with what we are used to here in Minnesota.

Importantly, the destination experience remains as incredible as ever, even with the implementation of these protocols. The sun shines, pools and outdoor lounge spaces are open, the food is great, and the service friendly. Attractions are mostly open, with distancing and sanitation protocols in place. And perhaps most importantly, the palpable sense of relaxation and well-being that washes over us when we go on vacation is still there! And after a year like this, who wouldnt look forward to that?

Its been personally rewarding for me to talk with recent returning travelers and to hear the incredible amount of relief in their voices as they describe their vacations and the impact on their overall well-being. While travel looks a little different right now, those of us who are ready to go can indeed experience more and more parts of the world with a high level of safety and return home refreshed, invigorated, and ready to face todays challenges.

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The world of travel is (slowly) reopening | Opinion - ECM Publishers

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