Remember the silly little sixties song by Herman Hermits that continuously repeats the words “Somethin’ tells me I’m into something good?” Well, it has taken two very long years, but I am actually starting to believe being a travel agent is a good thing. Change is in the air. Barring some new setback, a much-awaited mindset shift can be seen in my travelers at Monroe Travel Service . We seem to be moving from “epidemic” to “pandemic” to “endemic.”
Of course, exactly when we will totally flip the switch from pandemic to endemic is still unclear, but I feel it coming. You see, according to Wikipedia, “endemic” is an adjective, which means natural to, native to, confined to, or widespread within a place or population of people. Endemic is most commonly used to describe a disease prevalent in or restricted to a particular location, region, or population. For example, malaria is endemic to tropical regions, or a cactus is endemic to the desert.
Because travel industry statistics show half of American travelers have already made plans to travel internationally to Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean and Canada, how could this not mean we are believing the pandemic is waning? It suggests we are thinking Covid 19 is as endemic to the world as the measles, and, like the explorers of old, today’s travelers are a hearty breed. They are ready to defy the odds and test the waters; they are eager to vacate the every day, to see, do and learn. In short, they are want to enjoy “something good.”
It is the veteran travelers who are leading the pack, but, to be totally honest, that is partially because they were “stuck” with future travel credits when travel came to a grinding stand-still. 2022 is the year when they are using the money left on the table when covid stopped travel, so this means there is a world of travelers already way ahead of you. The race to roll over lost credits, to reserve the right tour, best cabin, and prime dates has started as covid mentality changes .
The rules to get where they want to go may be different, but the finish line does not. These travelers know where they want to be, which is why, as a travel agent at Monroe Travel Service, this is my subtle way of saying: don’t wait to make your travel plans. The race for travel space is only going to get worse, more limited availability, as more and more people accept covid as an endemic reality in our world today.
I am just a travel agent, but I can read the signs. Let me share a few of those “Somethin’ good” moments happening in travel today:
Hawaii–Governor David Ige has just announced that, after much consideration, the Covid-19 booster shot is not a requirement to be fully vaccinated. Even Maui, which previously had required the booster shot for entry into its bars and restaurants, has reversed course and dropped the booster requirement.
Hawaii has achieved a very high vaccination rate, so, for the safety of their families and their island, visitors must still show proof of full vaccination or the negative result of a Covid 19 test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival for the unvaccinated. Their indoor mask mandate still remains in effect, but isn’t that a small price to pay to be able to enjoy a taste of paradise?
Australia is opening to the double -vaccinated travelers on February 21st! In addition to vaccinations, a PCR test taken within three days of departure to Australia or evidence of a supervised rapid antigen test taken within 24 hours of departure is required. This means if you are ready to cruise, reserve an escorted tour, or plan a customized trip to the land Downunder, please start soon. The globetrotting travelers of the world–not just in the USA–have also been waiting for these doors to this popular destination to open, and we have been given an early entry date. The race starts this week..
New Zealand, the Aussies’ beautiful neighbor to the south, said they will start letting fully vaccinated American travelers into their country in July, and here is the good news I gleaned from last week’s announcement. Remember, July is their winter,and, since most travelers prefer to travel to New Zealand between January and March, their summer months, you should be calling me ASAP at Monroe Travel Service to plan your trip of a lifetime.
This July opening date means New Zealand, which has had some of the world’s strictest travel requirements, is also changing courses for tourism to return. I assure you this fall and the winter of ’23 are going to be crazy busy in Australia and New Zealand. If they are on your bucket list, please realize this extremely popular corner of the world has been closed for two year; the pent-up demand is there .
United Kingom–Perhaps it was an attempt to divert attention from the PM Boris Johnson’s covid partying or not, but I do not care. England is open again! Effective at 4am on February 11, the new rules are no PCR test is required for the fully vaccinated travelers to enter the United Kingdom and no self-quarantining necessary. The unvaccinated need only have a pre-arrival test and book a covid test within two days of their arrival. They, too, do not need to self-quarantine.
Not only did the UK relax their entry requirements, but the nationwide mask mandate is no longer in effect. It is time to start thinking about a trip to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland this summer, folks. We sell some excellent small group escorted touring companies who would love to show you there amazing sites!
Europe–Norway just dropped the mandatory quarantine for travelers arriving from the United States; Ireland has no requirements for the vaccinated and a PCR test within 72 hours of arrival is all that is required of the unvaccinated to visit the Emerald Isle. Yet, health restrictions as well as the definition of “fully vaccinated” still remains a variable for many European countries.
Austria, Croatia, Greece, Iceland, and France currently require boosters to be considered fully vaccinated, which is, for this very reason, why you need to rely on the professionals at Monroe Travel Service. You need to know before you go ! As Covid 19 becomes an endemic reality, we understand these ever- changing rules.
Without a doubt, the Caribbean, Canada, Mexico, Belize and Costa Rica have kept travel limping along for the last couple of years. More and more of the world is opening up. We can, at last, see the finish line. We have run from epidemic to pandemic and now it seems we are at endemic. “Somethin’ good” is happening, and, if you snooze, you lose.
Dianne Newcomer is a travel agent at Monroe Travel Service. Our agents–Rob, Linda, Page and I–are working remotely. Call us at 318 323 3465 or email [email protected] for help with your next vacation. We would love to send you away!