Thursday, July 22, 2021

Where to go? Which countries welcome travelers? Is Covid waning?


Malta is one of several sun-soaked Mediterranean islands now open to U.S. citizens under certain restrictive conditions, including which state you come from. Here, Valletta at sunset from our ship.

TESTING, QUARANTINING STILL IN PLACE BUT MANY COUNTRIES ARE OPENING UP NOW AFTER MONTHS OF SLUMPING TOURISM
Bruce Keller and Christene "Cookie" Meyers
are traveling again, with caution and vaccinations.

STORY By CHRISTENE MEYERS
PHOTOS By BRUCE KELLER
U.S. PASSPORT holders have more international travel options now than at any point during the grueling Covid pandemic. From Italy to the Netherlands, Poland to Peru, people are traveling again. Vaccinated travelers have a definite advantage and do not need to get tested before leaving the United States unless required by their destination. (Some countries do require this, so check it out. Other countries, like New Zealand, have closed borders to all but residents.)  
Cinque Terra in Italy is open again, as Italy
welcomes tourists who have either been
vaccinated or have a recent negative Covid test.
Italy is open for vaccinated or negative-test tourists -- good news for travelers yearning to explore the charming villages of Cinque Terra,  drive the stunning Amalfi coast or relax in Tuscany's inviting vineyards and hills. Many other countries have followed suit. 
For all of us -- whether in the U.S., Europe, South America, Asia or the Middle East -- the key is to be flexible and do the homework.  Be aware that while restrictions are lifting, the Covid variants are causing a backslide in some parts of the world.
Costa Rica's beaches, rich wildlife and beautiful
landscapes draw visitors. Here, Cookie and
Keller take to a dune buggy near the water.
No testing or quarantines are required

ALL AIR passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens, are required to have a negative Covid test result or documentation of recovery from the virus before they board a flight to the United States. Masks are still required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the U.S. and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.

Total U.S. cases have passed the 347 million mark since the pandemic started, but the rate of new cases is far below the winter peak. The U.S. is one of the world leaders in vaccination rates and has been leading among nations with a population over 100 million. But we're not out of the woods.
THE DELTA variant remains
Surrounded by vineyards and olive groves,
Mas La Boella is a boutique hotel
near Tarragona, Spain, now reopen.

 
 a concern. Some nations are still overwhelmed by Covid. And several U.S. states report an alarmingly low vaccination rate. 
Still, more and more of Europe is opening up to leisure travelers -- especially the fully vaccinated. Besides Italy and Greece, Germany, Spain and Austria have reopened their doors. The global situation is in flux, though. Even as some places reopen, others are closing again.
Ultimately, it's up to the individual to decide whether travel to international destinations is a good idea. If you're not fully vaccinated, the risks are greater and nations can change their rules at any time. You may have to adhere to strict curfews and mask mandates. Violations can involve fines and even jail.
Cookie and Keller are at
home on the range -- and
in the kitchen, traveling
again, too, with caution.
WE ADVISE getting expert advice. Both our U.S. State Department and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention provide Covid risk assessments by country. Both agencies rate many of the countries open to travelers at Level 4, the highest risk for the virus. Also, remember that air passengers two and older must show proof of a negative Covid no more than three days old to enter the U.S.  Most countries in the developed world offer similar advise. Google your country and plug in "Covid regulations."
Keller and Cookie enjoy a garage party -- masks off briefly
for snacks, wine and Keller's non-alcoholic beer.

UP NEXT: What kept us relatively sane these trying "Covid months"? Diversions. What would we do without activities to help us through this now 16 months of pandemic purgatory? We travel loving folks rely on our travel loving friends to buoy our sagging  spirits.  During these past months, we have all missed personal contact with family and friends. So we relied even more on hobbies, emails, texts and old-fashioned letters from friends around the world. We are thankful for music, writing, Scrabble and the occasional masked-and-distanced gathering. As we emerge from the veil of Covid, we salute creative thinking and the travel-friendship connection. For many of us, the ability to communicate has been a life-saver in these stressful times. Connecting with friends around the globe is essential in the isolation and fear surrounding the virus. We do our part to revive old-fashioned hobbies and communication, with our modern recipe for combating "the Covid blues." Remember to explore, learn and live at www.whereiscookie.com

1 comment:

  1. Hong Kong CruisersJuly 23, 2021 at 8:30 AM

    We are eagerly awaiting our first international trip in nearly 19 months! Cancelled so many trips, as we know you did as well. Let's all stay safe. Thanks for your continuing enthusiasm and updates.

    ReplyDelete