Our travel newsletters for the month of September.
The great baseball catcher Yogi Berra once famously said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” We’ve all been wondering when the coronavirus pandemic will be over, and six months in, we’re finally starting to see signs that the end, while not yet here, is at least in sight. The travel industry, perhaps the hardest-hit by the pandemic out of all sectors of the U.S. economy, is showing increasing signs of returning to normal.
As of this morning at 12:01, travelers inbound to the United States no longer have to be subjected to COVID-19 screening upon arrival, and as a result, international flights will no longer have to be routed to a select group of 13 airports, where enhanced screenings were taking place. Incoming travelers were then asked to self-quarantine for 14 days upon reaching their final destinations in the country. Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) dropped the quarantine recommendation, and as of today, incoming travelers, whether U.S. citizens or foreigners, will not be subjected to testing.
Since the screening policy was adopted in March, some 675,000 arriving travelers were tested at the 13 airports, but according to a CNN report, the TSA said only 15 were identified as having COVID-19. That’s a positive rate of only 0.002 percent.
It was almost exactly six months ago, on March 19, that the State Department put its Global Level 4 Health Advisory in place, advising all citizens to avoid international travel. That has now been lifted, although there are still restrictions in place for individual countries. With a few exceptions, travel in between Europe and the U.S. is still restricted. The State Department maintains up-to-the-minute guidelines on its website, travel.state.gov, and here at Travel Designers Travel Leaders we stay on top of all destinations and their restrictions, if any, so we can give our clients the latest information to help them plan their trips.
International travel is coming back, and we are already seeing demand for travel in the first quarter of 2021 and beyond. We know you want to get back out there, and we certainly want to help you get there, and back, safely. The time is now to start planning your trips for ’21 and even ’22. Give us a call, we’re ready to help you realize those travel dreams that have been on hold for too long!
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They say a job’s not over till the paperwork is done, and when you’re traveling out of the country, there’s no more important piece of paperwork than your passport. Without it, you won’t be able to board an international flight, or a cruise liner, from any U.S. airport or seaport. You can’t even drive across the border to Canada or Mexico (remember when the borders were open?) without one anymore.
Like virtually everything else involving travel, the coronavirus pandemic has created havoc with passports. Specifically, getting one. If you have one, and you’re not within a year of its expiration date, you’re good to go–although we recommend starting the renewal process once that date creeps under the 12-months-to-go mark. But since March, the U.S. State Department, which issues passports to American citizens, has been reducing passport operations in response to the pandemic.
State is now resuming normal operations, but in stages, according to Travel Pulse magazine. Some of its agencies are prioritizing passport requests by giving preference to those classified as emergencies, like when overseas travel is necessary due to a family member falling seriously ill or passing away. Another dozen or so agencies are welcoming back furloughed employees and ramping up operations to accommodate non-emergency requests. Sometimes your local post office or library can handle your application. To find out the nearest facility, log onto . Right now, State’s website is advising that applicants can get their passport in 10-12 weeks, or about half that time if you pay a $60 fee to have your application expedited.
There is no more vital document to have when you’re planning an international trip, and we advise renewing yours as soon as you can once you’re within 12 months of its expiration date. We can help you with that process, but check yours now, to find out how much time you have. If you’re thinking of a trip outside the U.S. sometime in 2021, open that dusty lockbox today to find out what your passport says. Expiring in 2022 or later? You’ll be good to go next year. Anything earlier than ’22 means it’s time to hop to it.
International travel is starting to come back, as more countries open up to accepting American visitors. Much will depend on when the COVID-19 vaccine arrives, and how effective it turns out to be, but we are already helping clients plan their 2021-22 trips in anticipation that full-scale travel will return sometime after the next New Year’s Day. So check out that passport now, and you’ve already checked the top box on your Travel To-Do List!