“Are you making travel plans for 2021?”

New hope for travel plans emerged with the approval of the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at the end of 2020. At the same time, record numbers of Americans are testing positive for the virus following holiday gatherings and colder temperatures across the nation. I personally know many families that have or are currently struggling with Covid-19 hitting their households.  Others frustrated and anxious because of exposure and quarantine requirements. We are all exasperated at the thought of this continuing into 2022.

Conflicting emotions between the current state of the pandemic and the hope of the effectiveness of the vaccine leaves many people wondering if it’s safe and appropriate to make travel plans for 2021. Experts are predicting that by Memorial Day the average person will have access to receiving the vaccine. If this is true, it sounds practical to believe that safe and appropriate travel could be a real possibility by mid-summer.

Despite the relief that the newly approved vaccines bring, there is still skepticism as to when herd immunity will be seen across the globe. This directly impacts our ability to get back to normalcy.  It has been predicted that it could take until 2022 until we get that point.

Does this mean another year of “stay-cations? As someone that has a strong passion for travel, I ask myself what measures I can take to safely get back to what makes me feel alive. The first thing that comes to mind is to focus on my mental and physical health right now. Being fit will make your body stronger and help you to cope with stress and also fight illness. The next step for me would be getting vaccinated. Herd immunity and normalcy can only happen when the virus is controlled. It will also protect me from contracting the virus while traveling.

Smart travel planning. Most airlines are waiving change fees and amending restrictions to accommodate Covid related circumstances. In addition, they have adopted new cleaning policies to make air travel safer than ever before. On a personal level there are precautions that everyone can take to ensure their safety such as face coverings, gloves, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and practicing social distancing. Situational awareness is key. Many hotels have generous cancellation policies now. Paying attention to what and how you book travel arrangements can make a big difference in your experience should you need to cancel. The cruise industry has been hit the hardest this past year. They are anxious to get back to sea and are working closely with the CDC to ensure adequate health and safety protections for guests.

Travel deals are incredible right now! Prices reflect the hurting industry. Incentives of risk free offers are abundant. Booking now, with the option to cancel makes sense. When the time comes that everyone feels “safe and normal”, they will be ready to travel after a long hibernation. Supply and demand will take effect.

As I fantasize about getting the vaccine and life getting back to normal, I cannot forget that COVID-19 is still raging on. I honestly feel fortunate to only be fatigued by being grounded and cooped up because I know others are experiencing unimaginable loss. I make a conscious choice to use this downtime to plan my next trip from start to finish in every detail. It gives me hope and optimism.  It’s OK with me if I have to postpone my trip a second time. I accept this idea, and will plan my trip in such a way that postponing it is possible, with minimal loss. It’s worth it to me to know that I am still actively pursuing the life I LOVE.

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