Summer is here and there’s a lot to celebrate. Perhaps the oddest, most difficult school year is over or coming to an end. Things are open! Unlike last summer, there are a lot of options for travel both near and far. If you haven’t made plans yet, you still can get something booked, but demand is sky-high, so contact your travel advisor as soon as possible.
Thanks to a congressional waiver, foreign-flagged ships don’t have to stop in Canada to cruise between U.S. ports. That means there will be an Alaska cruise season this summer, albeit abbreviated. It’s a great opportunity to get outside and see some amazing wildlife. Our other noncontiguous state is also open, although the testing requirements can get complicated depending on which islands you want to visit. That’s why it pays to have a great travel advisor who is on top of things and can make your life easier.
Yes, Europe! One by one, individual countries started to open up, then a big domino fell when the European Union and its 27 member states agreed to allow fully vaccinated travelers in. Individual countries can still make their own rules, so again consult your travel advisor before making plans. France will open next week. Italy is open to leisure travel on select COVID-tested flights. Ireland is opening July 19. Greece, Croatia and Iceland are open. There will even be river cruises going this summer. There are still some dominoes to fall, most notably the U.K. But you can have a real European vacation this summer.
The Continental U.S.
As we’ve been reminded over the last year, there’s so much to see right here in the Lower 48. The national parks are incredible showcases of purple mountains’ majesty and so much more. Beware, though, with so many visitors flocking, some national parks require advance reservations now to keep numbers manageable. From Florida to California, there are great beaches to enjoy. Now it’s warm enough to hit the beaches of the Northeast and Pacific Northwest. If you can’t make it to the coast, there’s a plethora of lakes to swim in, not to mention the dude ranches for just adults or the whole family to burn off all that pent-up energy.
The rest of the world
If you want your beach to come with an international flair, you can have your pick from a number of Caribbean islands with varying requirements for testing. If you’re fully vaccinated, you’re welcome in the Bahamas. The farther-flung islands of French Polynesia, the Maldives and the Seychelles are also open. No COVID test is required to visit Mexico’s resort areas or the colonial cities of its interior. Deeper into Latin America, you can enjoy the pura vida of Costa Rica, the jungles and temples of Belize. The mysteries of Machu Picchu, the unique wildlife of the Galapagos, the emerging sustainability success story of Colombia, they’re all yours to explore. Want to see the Great Migration on safari this summer? You can, and you might have the place virtually all to yourself. You can also marvel at the wonders of Egypt or the cities of Morocco. If you can stand the heat, the modern metropolises and windswept deserts of the UAE are welcoming travelers, as is Turkey. The whole world isn’t yet at our fingertips, but there are a whole lot more options available than just a few weeks ago, with more openings coming at a rapid pace. The time-honored summer vacation is back!