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Slowly, the world can breathe a little easier as the vaccine rollout gets underway in many parts of the world. What’s the first thing that most people want to do? That’s right—travel! As countries open up their borders to tourism once more, we’re sure you’re itching to be among the first to enjoy a vacation getaway. In this blog, we present you with a few tips for planning your first big trip of the 2020s.
In general, vaccines are not made available to every person at the same time, in every country. Also, vaccine hesitancy is an issue that some countries are experiencing more than others. However, if you can get vaccinated in a timely manner before your trip, you will not only be protecting yourself but also those with whom you’ll come into contact along your travels.
Each country has developed or is in the process of developing, its own rules and regulations regarding visitors entering the country and vaccine requirements, which will be updated throughout the year. As of July 1st, 2021, Ecuador is allowing vaccinated travelers (with proof of vaccination in the form of a vaccination card or certificate) to enter the country and visit the Galapagos Islands without having to present a negative PCR test result or undergo any lengthy quarantine period.
Other countries are also requiring a certificate showing proof of vaccination in addition to, or instead of, requiring a negative PCR test. Be sure to keep up to date with this entry information to guarantee that you’re not caught unprepared at the airport.
As countries open up again, not only will tourists be out and about, but everyone, in general, will flock to social areas to enjoy the outdoors and socializing once again. However, remember that not every country will have received sufficient vaccines yet and many people could still be carrying the coronavirus.
So instead of being stuck in close quarters with every other traveler, why not find a dream vacation spot in a truly remote destination? For example, one great option could be the heart of the Andean cloud forest in one of the world’s most biodiverse locations! At Mashpi Lodge, only overnight guests are allowed to visit and enjoy the secluded nature of the private Mashpi Reserve, which means more hummingbirds, butterflies, and rare endemic species for you and your companions.
Also, consider premium expedition vessels in the Galapagos that ensure your contact group will be very limited, as you’ll only be in the company of those travelers aboard the same expedition cruise. Even when the vessels anchor at the pristine islands of the archipelago, you’ll find that there are no other touring groups there at the same time, given that park authorities monitor and strictly limit the number of people allowed on any island within the Galapagos National Park, at any given time.
More secluded locations like these are perfect for fully enjoying the peace of mind that comes with a relaxing, fascinating, and, most importantly, safe vacation experience.
It’s very important to not become relaxed when it comes to biosafety and exploring your adventure options. Although many tour companies will be offering unbelievable discounts, you’ll still want to check that they are taking all necessary precautions. Perhaps one day, COVID-19 will no longer be a threat to your health, but for now, it’s worth it to be mindful, cautious, and safe. Don’t you want a tour operator that understands this and shares your concern?
The only way you can ensure their service hasn’t been compromised by sloppy practices is by searching their website for biosafety protocols and procedures. It may also be helpful to look at recent reviews to see if other guests have experienced the same protocols that the operator promises.
To avoid immediate risks, make sure your operator provides you with the correct information regarding travel to your destination country and location; if your tour operator gives you out-of-date or incorrect information, it could cost you your trip.
A well-organized and trustworthy tour operator will have their protocols and procedures detailed and displayed clearly on their website or social media pages. The contact person will also be able to quickly and effectively explain the measures taken by the company. Don’t trust an operator who is vague or unable to detail specific steps they take.
Pro Tip: An excellent tour operator would have already selected accommodations, restaurants, and visitor sites where they know their clients will receive the most attentive service, including enhanced biosafety measures. Some hotels, such as Quito’s iconic Casa Gangotena Boutique Hotel, have implemented extensive and enhanced biosafety measures, in addition to providing guests with additional masks and hand sanitizer.
This is particularly important if you’re not on an organized tour where all guests must follow carefully planned protocols. If you’re thinking about traveling to a destination where you determine your own itinerary, be prepared to be surrounded by people and places that may or may not be observing the necessary biosafety standards to guarantee your health and wellbeing.
The level of precautions taken by the hotel, tourist attraction personnel, and restaurants may all be uncertain. If you do choose this option, take the time to research each location and verify that certain biosafety protocols are implemented and respected. In hindsight, most travelers agree that it would be safer to travel with a trusted tour operator where all the guesswork is taken out of the equation, and biosafety measures are strictly followed.
No matter with whom you travel, always keep some hand sanitizer at the ready to protect yourself on the plane, in the taxi, and in any public space in which you find yourself. Also, it’s a good idea to pack a few KN95 or N95 masks, which, when worn correctly, provide greater protection in public areas where social distancing is a challenge.
Pro Tip: If you are organizing your own itinerary, choose a time outside of peak hours to visit popular tourist attractions; this will increase the likelihood of appropriate social distancing. Most peak hours can be seen on Google Maps. Conversely, a knowledgeable tour operator would likely be familiar with this information.
Can you imagine how many people are eagerly watching the news and waiting to hear the word that it is safe to travel again? Probably millions. The first flights and tour packages might get snatched up in no time. So, why not make a preemptive decision? Have a look at projected vaccine dates in your country and also those in your dream destination.
As previously mentioned, some countries may not require vaccination for entry, so you could be “good to go” with a solid plan for protecting yourself and your fellow travelers that, of course, includes well-fitting masks. If you book your flight well in advance, you can avoid the rush should your travel plans coincide with a peak season, such as End-of-year Holidays or Spring Break.
Pro Tip: Many airlines and tour operators are currently offering low prices as they struggle to survive. If you act now, your dream vacation could become a reality without costing a fortune!
So, what’s our advice? Just do it. If you don’t organize that perfect vacation now, you may miss out on your preferred travel window. Even though all countries won’t reach post-COVID status at the same time, you can take the necessary steps to protect yourself and enjoy the trip of a lifetime by choosing wisely and making a reservation today!