I am sure we are all wishing we could see the future at this point. I know I have been asked multiple times about when and where we will be able to travel internationally again, and I have spent countless hours reviewing current restrictions related to travel and fielding questions about when things would start moving again. I had been warned that the flood gates were going to open up and the deluge would be hard to keep up with, but I was having a hard time gauging how travelers actually felt. The first of the year provided a trickle of inquiries and some intrepid domestic travelers, and February and March marks the first time that my clients have traveled internationally in a year.
Food, water, shelter and clothing are the basic necessities of life, but I am sure that many of you, like I, would add a fifth category – travel. We have missed the ability to get out and explore new destinations and cultures so much. I cannot tell you how many of my clients have called and said, “I’m vaccinated, and I am so ready to travel, where can I go”. I wish it were that easy, but we live in a global world, and there are still restrictions in place. So, as I embark on an international trip to Mexico next week, I wanted to share with you some of the trends that I am seeing and what you may want to be thinking about when looking ahead.
The announcement by Canada that its borders will remain closed through the summer, has all but sunk the summer cruise season to Alaska. The Passenger Vessel Services Act requires that foreign-flagged ships call on at least one foreign port on any US itinerary and as such most large ships stop in British Columbia. The smaller ships of less than 100 passengers are exempted from this law, and there is still limited availability on some of the smaller lines like Uncruise or Linblad, which have expedition ships operating in Alaska. This means that there are two summers of canceled cruises, and availability for 2022 is already filling up. If Alaska is on your wish list, book early – deposits are low and terms are super flexible.
I am also seeing an increase in demand for land trips to Alaska’s great outdoors. Princess and Holland America have committed to operating at least one of their Denali lodges, and there are many options for adventure outposts throughout the state.
Central America and The Caribbean
Each country has developed individual entry requirements often consisting of testing and insurance coverage. Many require that you apply for entry and must have it approved before travel, and some have created “tourist bubbles” for everyone’s protection. I have already worked with several clients on trips to Costa Rica, Turks & Caicos, Aruba and Anguilla, just to name a few. I know that we don’t often think of these destinations for the summer, but with Europe most likely being closed, they may provide great options – especially Aruba, which is outside of the hurricane zone and Costa Rica that offers great value and adventure in the “green” season. I know that June is officially the start of the hurricane season, but it may be just the time to plan a last-minute trip when the weather looks good.
With family in Switzerland, we have been following the news coming from Europe closely all year. With Italy and France heading into lockdown again, I am more convinced than ever that there will not be a summer season for Americans in Europe. Proclamations on both sides of the Atlantic about who can enter and what the procedures are do not bode well in the short term. My hotel partners have announced openings in the next few months for travelers from the EU, and I look forward to a successful summer season for them with local travelers. There are some countries that I think may be open to Americans this summer, including Greece, Croatia and Turkey, and I do hope that we will see things pick up in late summer, early fall. If you are a betting person, I would suggest booking for the fall with flexible cancellation terms but holding off on air for now.
I am sure that none of us could have imagined this situation lasting so long, but the biggest takeaway for me is that now more than ever, it helps to have someone in your corner, and I'm your gal. Looking forward to working with all of you on your future adventures!