What is it like to travel internationally right now? Since July I have traveled to Mexico 3 times each to Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, and Puerto Vallarta. Here is what I discovered.
Great: I chose Mexico for my travels for many reasons. The food, the culture, and the beaches are all dear to my heart. Mexico is easy. Mexico does not require a quarantine or negative covid-19 test for entry. You can still take a covid-19 test (which I did) but you can fly freely without one. From a business standpoint, I travel to Mexico frequently as the country and it's resorts are part of my specialty. I am constantly checking it out. Please note that although air travel never stopped with covid-19, the land border has been closed.
Good/Bad: Many Caribbean islands have also opened to Americans. Antigua, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Barbados, St Lucia, and Aruba are examples. Costa Rica will be open to all 50 states starting Nov 1st. However, the entry requirements constantly change so those destinations are not as dependable for travel as Mexico.
Ugly: The opening dates of destinations & resorts are not dependable. These dates are constantly being revised. A good rule of thumb is if it is not open yet, choose something that is open or you will probably be rescheduling your vacation.
Great: The airlines require masks and strictly enforce this. There is a lot of data now after 6 months of flying during a pandemic that show it can be safe.
Good/Bad: The airlines allow you to remove your mask to eat and drink. American Airlines has suspended cart service but they do provide a small bottle of water when you board. United has cart service which encouraged people to have their masks off more to eat and drink. I have not flown Southwest, but I believe they are still leaving the middle seat open. There is absolutely no social distancing when boarding a flight although everyone is masked.
Ugly: You can not control who sits around you so there is some risk. Some questionable behavior I observed was wearing a mask without the nose covered and using the excuse of eating and drinking to have a mask off almost the entire flight.
Great: The resorts have done an amazing job of putting health and safety protocols in place to keep people safe. Masks are required everywhere except in your room, in the pool, or while eating/drinking. There are temperature checks & sanitizing of the bottom of your shoes before entering the resort & restaurants. The luggage and handbags are sanitized upon arrival. Indoor dining tables are spaced 6+ feet apart. I observed similar protocols outside the resorts as well.
Good/Bad: Never once did I observe anyone in the tourism industry without a mask including the airlines, airports, resorts, transportation, etc. 95% of the tourists also complied. Unfortunately, I did observe some tourists not following protocols. I guess I would compare that to going to the grocery store here in town. Although most people wear masks, there are always those few who do not.
Ugly: Out of the three resorts I stayed at, there was one that had some questionable practices in the pool. The swim up bar was open and there was constant crowding to get a drink. The resort also hosted pool aerobics and pool volleyball. I observed crowds of people exercising close together. These activities took place outdoors, but the six feet rule was not being enforced. These were situations that were easily avoidable for me.
My recommendations for travel during a pandemic:
Bliss Travel Service - a travel agency specializing in river and ocean cruises, all-inclusive vacations, European packages, honeymoons, weddings, group travel
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Dominique Barba, CTIE, ECC, TAE