Experts estimated that international travel could rebound this autumn if sufficient people were vaccinated against the coronavirus in the United States. What does this mean for fall travel, given the slowing vaccinations and rising cases worldwide due to the highly contagious Delta variant?
Although breakthrough cases in vaccinated individuals were expected and only mild symptoms are present, the Delta variant is changing the course for infections in areas that have not been vaccinated. It’s also causing some restrictions. For example, after a Las Vegas case spike, employees are required to wear masks indoors and officials are warning against traveling to the area.
“We are at quite a junction with the Delta variant,” Dr. David Freedman, an infectious-disease specialist at University of Alabama at Birmingham, whose COVID-19 research focuses on travel, says that even people who have been vaccinated at low rates are now getting infected. “People don’t want to travel and become sick, especially if they are unable to get medical care.
Here are some things to think about if you plan on traveling in autumn.
Do I need to book fall travel now?
Experts say it all depends on your health and the epidemiological conditions in your destination country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those with underlying conditions such as asthma or diabetes should not travel abroad. The CDC now provides country-specific guidance. It ranges from a Level 4 alert (COVID-19 Very High), to a Level 1 (COVID-19 Lower). According to the CDC, international travel should be avoided by those not vaccinated. Those who have been vaccinated should also avoid travel to Level 4 destinations.
Freedman said that the trend of COVID-19-related cases in the U.S. is still unclear. This is due to the fact that the number of people who get vaccinated will have a significant impact on how travel will change over the next months. The CDC collects data from the nation to predict the spread of the disease.
According to Freedman, the trend in new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. will be stable or uncertain. 92,000 to 83,000 new cases are likely to be reported during the week ending August 14, 2021. Most of those cases will occur among people who have not been vaccinated. For comparison, there were approximately 332,000 cases reported in the past week. However, it is important to note that COVID-19 incidences have historically increased in fall when people are forced back inside due to colder weather.
Even if you are vaccinated, traveling can be dangerous for immunocompromised patients. Freedman states that people need to be honest about their health and should not travel if they have underlying medical problems. He points out that people who have been vaccinated are less likely to become seriously ill.
Are there any destinations that will remain open
Many destinations that have recently opened their doors to summer tourists have already instituted restrictions because of the Delta variant. Many European countries are now allowing Americans to return, but some have recently imposed curfews as well as indoor-dining restrictions in an effort to slow the spread. Greece has, for instance, banned bars from playing music and imposed curfews at nightclubs like Mykonos.
France, which allows only vaccinated visitors to enter, will require proof of inoculation for indoor dining. The time period for tourists to obtain a negative coronavirus testing result in the Caribbean has been reduced by Turks and Caicos. It is now only five days before they arrive. Europe travel can also be halted at any time due to the terms of the European Union’s Tourism reopening. Member states have the right to halt travel at any point via an “emergency brake” that has been established by E.U. Leaders A digital health pass is available for Americans to use in the region’s tourism plans.
What can I do to protect my trip?
Moore recommends that you purchase the right travel insurance if you plan to travel internationally in fall. You should also make sure you only book changesable accommodations and flights in case there is a sudden spike in travel cases. In those cases, ‘Cancel For Any Reason’ insurance can be very helpful. It is usually separate from standard trip insurance and kicks in for emergency flights home or alternate accommodations if you need to quarantine.
Moore states that it is crucial for travelers to ensure they have international medical coverage. Most U.S. insurance providers don’t offer coverage abroad. You can also travel to countries that have better healthcare systems and are less likely to become overwhelmed by an unexpected rise in cases. Also, you might consider visiting countries that have high vaccination rates which make it less likely that a sudden outbreak will occur.
Moore says that “a lot of people are worried about COVID, even though it is not necessarily our fault.” “I give them the rules, provide all the information and then they can make the best decision about travel.
Freedman suggests that we also watch for signs that travel restrictions may return after the summer and make it more difficult to plan for fall. This includes steadily increasing cases in the U.S. through the August. These could force other countries to get closer to Americans.
Freedman states that if Delta does not get under control within the next month, there will be more bureaucratic obstacles. “If this doesn’t happen then countries will likely place even more restrictive restrictions on outdoor activities if it doesn’t.”
Keep this in mind and plan your travel accordingly to avoid any unexpected changes in the case rate.