Many people have hesitated to go abroad just yet, worrying that Covid restrictions will turn their trip into an orgy of quarantines, Real Housewives marathons, and unhealthy relationships with room service waiters.
So we asked those Brand g guests who have traveled with us from August to December of 2021 what it’s been like to travel while Covid restrictions are still in place.
93% said that the requirements for travel had very little impact on their experience and that, indeed, they would do it again, for two primary reasons:
- The opportunity to travel again, after a very long two years. (Drinking wine and sobbing in the bathtub loses its glorious luster after a while.)
- To get to do so with far fewer crowds. At Machu Picchu, for example, it was as if we were the only people there, an experience that was completely magical. (Typically, this sacred Incan citadel has more tourists than a New York tenement has cockroaches.)
Another frequently cited benefit of traveling now is the gratitude guests have experienced in the countries we visit. It’s been so touching to have everyone from restaurant workers to ship line personnel to souvenir stand operators tearfully thank us for coming. They’ve been terribly impacted by the drop in tourism; and discovering that we’re making such an impact on their lives has been quite profound.
We’ve had little incidence of Covid upsetting our travel apple cart, with the exception of our early October Scotland trip, when the river cruise line pulled our ship out of operation just as we were about to board it because some crew members tested positive. (Ironically, guests said they enjoyed the revised land tour version of the trip as much or more than they would have the cruise version, because they felt they got to see even more than they were going to on the cruise. Not to mention that they got to see cruise director Jonathon Gallagher in a kilt, which he apparently prefers to wear as a miniskirt.)
So, what are the current general requirements?
- Proof of vaccination or negative Covid test is required for international travel by both airlines and destinations. Brand g requires proof of vaccination.
- Some testing (even with proof of vax) is required to enter certain countries (currently including your return to the U.S.) and/or travel on river cruises. (On Brand g trips, we make all the necessary arrangements for in-trip and return-home testing.)
- Many countries will require a health declaration form to be filled out online prior to arrival.
- Masks are sometimes required.
Here’s a more specific example: in November, I traveled with Brand g to Peru, and these were the requirements:
- Proof of vaccination or negative Covid test was required to enter the country. (Of course, Brand g, as stated above, requires vaccination.)
- Masks were required indoors and outdoors, although they were optional on the Amazon River, since we’d all been tested before boarding (as had the crew) and the ship was all ours. (Pe-cruise testing was coordinated by Brand g.)
- Testing (also coordinated by Brand g) was required to fly home to the U.S.
Please note that Covid requirements do remain a bit fluid for the time being.
But the guests who have traveled with us in 2021 have told us over and over what an extraordinary time they had, and most would absolutely do a trip again during Covid. Hopefully, restrictions will continue to be relaxed or lifted in 2022 as we approach the end of the pandemic.
So, if you haven’t gotten to see the world since 2019 (or earlier), perhaps it’s time.
Just be careful climbing out of that tub. Bathrooms kill.