The vaccination is rolling out, which means one thing: lets get traveling!
Felicia Di Francesco, the founder and owner of Condello Travel in Vaughan, ON, knows that travel is going to soon explode after a long year of lockdowns, masks, social distancing, and new rules and guidelines that change by the minute.
“The vaccinations are what will help fuel our industry and they will help get people booking trips again… The industry is set to take off in a big way very soon, I can feel it,” smiles Felicia, who has owned and operated Vaughan’s most popular full-service, boutique travel agency since 1987.
Felicia has seen lots of ups and downs in the industry over the years – 9/11, SARS, global financial meltdowns, and now a global pandemic, the worst the world has seen in over 100 years.
“Some countries are now welcoming visitors who are fully vaccinated (having two shots as required), which is truly exciting news, but I want to stress there are still lots of things to consider before booking your next trip down south, across the pond, or to other parts of the world when it is safe to do so.
What exactly do we need to know before booking travel?
Felicia points out the fact that the vaccine distribution will be uneven in poorer countries, but this will change soon. This means that if you or your group are vaccinated, there is still a chance to spread COVID to other people so some restrictions will still be in place.
Now let’s focus our attention to the vaccines. For those who book travel, keep in mind that health officials are advising to wait at least two weeks to a month before hopping on a plane. Additionally, anyone who travels with proof of vaccination should still follow COVID-19 precautions, which includes social distancing, wearing a mask, handwashing, and staying away from crowds.
“The good news is that those travelers who are fully vaccinated will most likely not have to quarantine when they arrive home, which is pretty much the case now in the USA,” says Felicia. “However, health officials are highly recommending that travelers still get tested right after arriving home from international trips.”
Felicia also highly suggests that travelers avoid visiting locations that have high infection rates, low vaccination rates, and a weak medical system.
“There are some countries who are welcoming tourism, but if the cases are high and they have a fragile health system, it just isn’t worth it,” she says.
Felicia also says that anyone who travels must get travel cancelation and health insurance in the event something goes wrong.
“It’s always good to be prepared, and some countries may not let you in if you don’t have insurance, so plan wisely and be prepared,” she says.
Most of all, as a veteran in the industry, she advises that people book with a travel agent – they are the professionals who are “in the know.”
“We know everything you need to know before you go,” says Felicia. “We know the best locations, health and safety regulations, and we are here to help get you home if all the rules start changing.”
With the cautionary steps now in place, thanks to Felicia, she is also quick to turn her attention to revealing some destinations for post-vaccination trips.
Here is where you can take your “vaxication”
Here is Felicia’s list of where you can travel if you have been vaccinated.
Seychelles: A breathtaking location in the Indian Ocean that consists of more than 100 islands off the coast of Africa. The country has no quarantine requirements, but still wants proof of a negative COVID-19 test done 72 hours before arrival. Health insurance is also a must, so don’t leave home without it.
Iceland: Travelers who have been vaccinated are welcome in Iceland. You will need proof of full vaccination. Important to note: if you have proof of full vaccination, or you were previously infected, you will still need to take a COVID-19 test on arrival. If you pass the test, you are free to roam Iceland, and if not, then no go. Now, for those who have not been vaccinated and those who have not been previously infected are asked to provide a negative COVID-19 test from with 72 hours of departure to Iceland.
Belize: This country is wide open, and if you want fun in the sun, then you need to present proof of a COVID-19 vaccine card, showing that you were fully vaccinated at least two weeks before departure, and you will also need proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 96 hours before arrival (48 hours for rapid test). Tourists can also have a COVID-19 test at the airport for $50 (this could be kind-of-fun – have a margarita at the airport bar and wait for your results that are quickly delivered to you).
Georgia: If you are vaccinated, come on in! The country is now open, and travelers must fly directly to Georgia from an approved country, which includes the U.S (Georgia however has barred entry to those who travel by land or sea). For those travelers who are not vaccinated, then they need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival.
Ecuador: Fully vaccinated travelers are able to enjoy all that Ecuador has to offer. But guess what? Ecuador is also open to unvaccinated travelers, however, they must have proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours before arrival. If you are eager to visit the Galápagos Islands, all international travelers must present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 96 hours before arrival. This can be the same test used to enter Ecuador, if it falls within the 96-hour window.
Guatemala: If you are fully vaccinated, then Guatemala has its doors open for you. You can also enter the country with a negative COVID-19 test done 72 hours before arrival. Note: the U.S. Embassy may refuse entry to anyone who has visited South Africa or the U.K. two weeks before arriving in the country, so check the rules before you pack.
Croatia: Croatia is now open to fully vaccinated travelers, as well as previously infected travelers and those who can show a negative COVID-19 test result from within 48 hours of arrival. Visitors are also permitted to enter Croatia if they take a COVID-19 test immediately upon arrival, then isolate until a negative result comes back; travelers who cannot get a test upon arrival must self-isolate for 10 days.
Montenegro: Fully vaccinated travelers are now welcome to “Black Mountain.” Travelers will need proof of full vaccination at least one week before arrival and the country is also now opening its door to visitors with a negative COVID-19 test that’s less than 72 hours old.
What’s on your vaxication list?
Felicia indicates that travel is not being recommended right now abroad, and in certain part of Canada as we are all still combating the pandemic and the vaccination rollout is still in its early stages.
In time, people will be fully vaccinated, the numbers will go down, and travel will reopen.
“People will soon travel, but it’s going to be different – still lots of fun, but lots will change,” says Felicia. “Before going anywhere, do your research, and work with a travel agent – it’s always good to be prepared and safe for your trip when travel reopens.”
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