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Covid Or Not: Are You Finally Ready to Travel?

Category: Travel

August , 2022 — Airlines can’t keep up with demand this summer. Even London’s Heathrow Airport told carriers not to schedule any more flights until the fall. Retirees and others are taking cruises, travelling by train, and taking trips in the car. This surge in demand has caused new problems for travelers, not the least from demon Covid, which shows no signs of going away.

This article will explore some of the pros and cons of traveling in the age of Covid. We also hope to get input on your travel plans and experiences. We’ve also included a few photos for a little armchair experience of our current travels in northern Scotland.

Coast in Orkney island, Scotland

Pros

Tired of sitting at home. The pandemic is 2 and 1/2 years old, and no end is in site. Do we want to live the rest of lives this way?

We’re not getting any younger. Most people have some kind of a bucket list of places they want to visit and experiences to be had. The longer we wait, the more that we might not be able to handle, and the fewer years we have to do them.

Jimmy Perez’s fictional home in the “Shetlands” TV series

Spend our dollars while they are worth something. This is a novel argument, but with the soaring cost of living, our dollars won’t be worth tomorrow what they are today. The U.S. dollar is near historic highs against the British pound and the Euro, so foreign travel doesn’t feel expensive. One example: A small glass of wine in Scotland costs 4.5 pounds, or about $5.40 U.S., which feels like a bargain!

Cons

Covid is still here. Your Editor is currently in Scotland. Despite being very safety conscious, one of our party caught it on Day 4. Just about everyone we know who has been abroad or on a cruise had someone come down with it. Our tour director reports that at least one person has gotten Covid during or shortly after most of his trips this summer, with no apparent reason for who, or how they got it. Covid definitely makes travel difficult, especially if you are traveling in a group.

Travel has gotten expensive and availabilities tight. You might not get the trip you want, when you want to make it.

Watch out for drought and fire. Some parts of Europe and the American West are very dry. Some river cruises in Europe are being affected because the rivers they use have very low water levels.

Travel tips for Covid

Here are some travel tips that might help in the age of Covid travel.

Test before you go. You don’t want to arrive sick in a strange place.

Have an agreement about how you will handle it if someone in your party gets sick. Will the rest of you proceed and the one who is ill catch up later, or will everyone pause? What will partners do? It is good to discuss this before you get in the situation – everyone might have a different opinion.

Use a travel agent or tour guide. They might be able to help you find alternatives if you get sick and can’t travel, need a hotel room, etc.

Get your boosters and wear a mask. If you are going to travel and risk Covid exposure, you need all the protection you can get. Scientific American compared death rate ratios among the vaccinated and unvaccinated. According to U.S. Public Health Service commander Heather Scobie, in March 2022, “unvaccinated people 12 years and older had 17 times the rate of COVID-associated deaths, compared to people vaccinated with a primary series and a booster dose.” Most experts agree that wearing a good face mask helps reduce exposure, so why take a chance. Go ahead and wear one (properly) any time you are inside and exposed to other people. Inevitably there will be times when you find yourself eating or drinking inside, and weather or whatever makes it is impossible to mask up. But you can try to minimize how often and how long that lasts.

Shetland pony judging at County Fair in Shetlands

Investigate travel insurance. Many credit cards include basic trip insurance that covers you if you get sick. You might want or need a more specific travel policy, but make sure you know what is covered and what is not.

Medicare doesn’t work abroad. Fortunately, however, health care is much less expensive and often as good or better than in the U.S.

Your U.S. bank can sell you foreign currency. This tip won’t help against Covid, but it is useful if you plan to travel abroad. There is usually an online option to have the currency sent to your residence before you go, often at no cost. That is a lot more convenient than having to find an ATM as soon you arrive in a new country. Bring at least two credit cards in case you have a problem with one of them (and photograph them and your passport so you know what you might lose). Using credit cards whenever possible (charging to local currency) will cut down on the amount of cash you need.

Bottom line

Our trip was really worth it. We saw incredible sights and enjoyed being on the road again. Unfortunately Covid made it a lot harder and required considerable adjustments. If you go, be prepared, and be flexible.

Where are you traveling?
Here is where we would love to hear from you. Have you travelled this season, or are you about to? Where are you going, and what was your experience? If you got Covid, what did you -and your companions – do? Pleases share your experiences in the Comments section below.

Posted by Admin on August 11th, 2022

19 Comments »

  1. We did a bucket list Mediterranean Sea cruise in April/May for more than 30 days. We began in Barcelona (with extra time there) & ended in Istanbul (with extra time there). We were fully vaccinated & boosted before we left. We were tested before we left, when we arrived, every day while we were cruising, & 24 hours before leaving! We wore masks consistently while out in public. We had a FABULOUS trip & loved every single second. There were some onboard who tested positive & were isolated from everyone else. On our flight home my husband must have been exposed when he removed his mask to eat. Within a few days he tested positive & by then had given it to me. Glad we were already home. All is well now & we are back on the road again! As I write this we’re sitting in Boston Logan Airport waiting for our flights home after touring Boston & Newport. In October we head to Williamsburg to meet up with friends we made on our Mediterranean cruise. In November we are back to Europe for a cruise down the Rhine. Next January we are meeting with friends for a cruise to the Caribbean. Prior to COVID, I developed breast cancer & spent a year in treatment with chemotherapy, 4 surgeries, & radiation. We are now making up for time lost & loving every day we have together while we can. I am healthy & feeling great, but no one knows how long they have. I’m living my life while I can & grinning as I go. I feel very lucky to still be here.

    by Donna — August 12, 2022

  2. I never stopped As soon as cruising started again I took one to Alaska last August and have taken 6 more since. Before that I was just flying to Vegas and South Carolina, first in July 2020. Fully vexed and boosted, no covid so far. I refuse to stop living my life, but protect myself best I can.

    by Patricia — August 12, 2022

  3. Fully vaccinated with the three boosters! Keeping informed about any hotspots beginning to show and wearing masks indoors and you should be okay
    TAKE CAUTION ! As this virus continues to evolve a resurgence is possible if you don’t keep up with factual news in the topic
    Don’t be an ostrich with your eyes and ears closed to the factual medical evidence! When in doubt contact your physician for advice

    by Ron — August 13, 2022

  4. We were avid cruisers and are going on our first cruise from Baltimore to Bermuda next week.
    Chose this cruise as we did not have to fly to the port however the rules about PCR testing are
    very, very tricky with Bermuda’s timing rules different from the cruise line. Plus Bermuda requires you upload your shot record and pay $40/person for a travel authorization card and once you submit you have to chase them for the approval. Sorry we booked it. Travel use to be fun; this is not.

    by claire — August 13, 2022

  5. I have flown domestically once or twice during the pandemic, but only for what I deem necessary purposes. A few years before COVID, I decided I’d become more of an armchair traveler than an actual one. I enjoy and appreciate reading articles about interesting places around the world, like those in National Geographic. I’ve discovered the world of nonfiction literary travel writers, such as the late Bruce Chatwin. Authors of yesteryear such as Edith Wharton and George Orwell did some interesting travel writing, too. Novels and mysteries set in interesting places, both national and international, give one a great sense of place. Automobile road trips remain fun and educational. Since we’re fortunate to live in New England and south Florida, there are a lot of interesting day trips (or longer) possible, including the southeastern part of Canada. And we’re open to much longer auto trips out west as we feel fairly safe COVID-wise, staying in hotels/motels. We have a full set of Rick Steves’ travel shows and enjoy them immensely. I still have a few places I’d actually like to get to, including London, Jerusalem, Italy and a return to Paris. We’re in our early 70’s so actual travel is doable for a few years, we hope. But armchair travel is rewarding and very inexpensive. It’s fulfilling, but, of course, not the same as being there.

    by Clyde — August 13, 2022

  6. Anyone experience virtual reality travel using the headsets? As I get older I prefer shorter auto/air travel and this would help with my desire to “experience” those faraway places even though we’re still missing out on the smells, tastes, and ambiance. Wish they’d bring back an improved Concord and get some bullet trains in the US. Right now my limit is 2 hours by car or plane, so that’s a short leash.

    by Daryl — August 15, 2022

  7. We have a trip planned this fall to attend a wedding but hadn’t bought our plane tickets yet. Now I am hesitant because I’ve talked to a couple of people who have gotten Covid this summer soon after they returned from a trip. They both felt it was from the airport coming home and said many people were noticeable sick with lots of coughing in crowded lines and on trams. It would be a two day drive for us and extending our time away but I’m thinking it may be worth it. We are so ready to travel!

    by Alex — August 17, 2022

  8. We’re ready to travel, but haven’t agreed on a destination or found accommodations yet. We’ll only consider a road trip which we enjoy. Not at all willing to fly and put up with airline issues or rude and probably sick crowds. We’d rather stay home. A friend is currently “stuck” in Jackson Hole due to overbooking. So we’ll be going somewhere but no particular rush.

    by RichPB — August 18, 2022

  9. Alex, I volunteer at the BWI airport and have lots of travelers in my face asking pertinent questions.
    With this, I have not gotten COVID and they say the air in the plane is the most filtered/safe.Many travelers still wear masks while walking around the airport. Even with that to consider, if I were you I would drive where you can space your contact with others better and bring some wipes/spray for
    your hotel room..

    by Anne — August 18, 2022

  10. Here is an update on Covid on our Scotland trip. After one week, 3 of the 7 in our party have come down with Covid (your editor managed to escape, so far). The experience was illuminating in how difficult Covid makes travel. Even if you are a solo traveller it is a problem, and much more difficult if you are traveling with a partner a group.

    Simple things are harder. If one person in the partnership gets it, then sleeping arrangements are challenging. You might want to get a separate room, sleep with a mask, or plan on getting Covid. Eating is a challenge. The infected shouldn’t want to infect other people, but they still have to eat. That can mean replacing planned restaurant meals with takeout or outside dining (even in the rain). Transport is a challenge. Some of us ended up renting a car (and driving on the left) in order to avoid infecting those riding in the group van. These extra arrangements can easily mean extra expenses.

    Travel is still great, but Covid makes for a lot of challenges that aren’t easily planned for. If you are travelling, plan for how you will handle things if you or members of your group get it. Better to have a plan than trying to figure out things on the fly.

    by John Brady — August 19, 2022

  11. 400 people die daily from COVID ! Caution is advised

    by Ron — August 20, 2022

  12. My husband and I – fully vaxed & boosted – just returned from a 3-week road trip into the Canadian Rockies. Just before we left, we learned we would no longer need negative Covid tests when returning to the US. We were thankful for this as our last stop was in Waterton Lakes NP and there were no nearby testing facilities anywhere. We downloaded and completed the “required” ArriveCan app and filled out all our vax info, and had our vax cards with us, but no one manning the border booth going into Canada asked to see any of that. We are planning a road trip across the Midwest to New England in Sept/Oct, and will finally brave the airports for a January trip to Ecuador (group travel through Road Scholar). Fingers crossed, and we’ve bought some N95 masks for air travel, but so far, so good.

    by Lara — August 20, 2022

  13. We have chosen to forego flying for the time being. Not so much for the COVID issues as the challenges with so many flights being cancelled. We purchased a travel trailer now that our kids are grown. We made good use of it and spent three weeks traveling across the country this summer. The places we went, like the mountains or white water rafting, were easier to distance and spent minimal time inside with others. While gas was expensive, we made the choice to deal with the added expense and get moving. Going abroad can wait as we are still in our 50s and we will spend time traveling the US for now. Lots of great things to see and do!

    by Christopher — August 27, 2022

  14. My husband and I are headed to our first vacation since the pandemic. We are headed to the Southwest for a combination train/bus trip ending in Albuquerque at the Balloon Festival. From there we will travel by car to visit our daughter who lives in Boulder.The trip also includes 2 plane trips. We are vaccinated and boosted and we both have had COVID. Wish us luck!

    by Kathy Dornbach — August 28, 2022

  15. We have not traveled because of COVID fears. Fortunately, we have a second home on a lake—I refer to it as having purchased a very expensive dock that came with a cabin because I enjoy being out on the lake boating, sailing, paddling. Some of our friends that have traveled with groups report COVID cases did develop during their trip—does not raise my confidence in traveling. Some said the infected parties were sent to the airport to fly home which makes me wonder how many on planes are positive?

    Currently for adventure I have turned to YouTube. There are many “walking tour” videos of lots of interesting destinations. Of course some videos are better than others, some with narration and some without. Nevertheless enjoyable without dealing with travel logistics.

    by Martin Hanson — August 28, 2022

  16. I am not sure what the real data is on this, but from my personal experience, taking Paxlovid once you get Covid seems to be a double edged sword. Most, but not all, of the people who I know who have taken it when they contracted Covid have felt better or not too bad right away, but then had a rebound of Covid after they tested negative. The Bidens and Dr. Fauci are included in the rebound group. In some cases the rebound was worse than the original. It seems the drug is really meant for people at risk of severe disease or who are unvaccinated, and it appears it can save lives in those instances. For me, I wouldn’t take it unless my doctor insisted. But obviously this is a personal choice and it might be the right thing for many people.

    by Rick — August 28, 2022

  17. Rick, each person must decide if your last statement is appropriate for them. It is not for me or my wife. Two points: Paxlovid works for early COVID. Delay may make it too late. COVID can kill — especially for the elderly at risk due to other factors. The rebound has not been life threatening. I prefer to take my chances with early Paxlovid and try to avoid the life threatening aspect.

    by RichPB — August 29, 2022

  18. Back several days ago, I posted that we were ready for a road trip but hadn’t agreed on where. Things work out and now we have a good trip planned out West to pick up a new dog. Great trip and great reason. We always take COVID precautions and are fully vaccinated and boostered. Looking forward to meeting our new family member.

    by RichPB — August 30, 2022

  19. Traveling with Covid can be challenging. We have flown on at least 20 flight coast to coast to visit our children without getting Covid on those flights. The earliest trip was in October 2020. We always mask on the plane and are both vaccinated and double boosted. My husband contracted Covid last month from exposure traveling with a small group.

    by Moderator Flo — August 31, 2022

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