For many of us, our dream vacations this year have been just that: a dream. Airplanes have been grounded, trips have been cancelled, and plans have been put off until 2021. But even as COVID-19 numbers increase around the world, new safety protocols have given us hope that travel is possible again.
SO, SHOULD YOU TRAVEL NOW?
A year after reports of a new coronavirus first came about, travel services around the world have had time to implement safety precautions. Here are just a few things of the measures put in place:
- Symptom and temperature screenings at airports
- Airline safety procedures including mandatory masks
- New hotel and resort cleaning protocols and social distancing in common areas
And there are things you can do while travelling to stay safe as well, including:
- Maintaining social distancing and wearing masks while you travel
- Staying outdoors as much as possible
- Travelling to more remote areas
- Travelling within our own country
- And get COVID-19 insurance to protect you should anything happen
That said—with a vaccine in the works and an end to the pandemic in sight, there is no harm in waiting a few more months. But if you have the itch or need to travel to see family, we suggest you talk to your doctor before making any arrangements. And obviously, avoid travelling if you have a pre-existing condition.
If you want to travel without flying, think about our own backyard. Canada is a stunning, vast country that we sometimes forget to explore ourselves. From Rocky Mountaineer trains trips to RVing around the Maritimes, we can help you plan it.
WHERE IS SAFE TO TRAVEL NOW?
If you do decide to travel, all destinations are not an equal playing field right now. Do your research to get a sense of the current infection rates in your destination and find out if they have quarantine restrictions for travellers arriving from Canada.
Look for destinations with low infection rates, where is it easy to distance, and who are taking the situation seriously. The Caribbean islands have comparatively low numbers and, since they’re warm all year long, it’s easy (and even preferred) to stay outside as much as possible.
We talked to our friends in the Cayman Islands about how to travel safely—and luxuriously—in a bold new era. The Caymans have been under strict regulations that have kept their infection rates low. At the moment they are welcoming long-term-stay guests, which sounds pretty enticing to anyone who can work remote and wants to escape the Canadian winter.
Here’s what they have to say about welcoming back guests.
What makes the Cayman Islands a great place to visit this year more than any other?
The Cayman Islands’ government has done an amazing job of protecting the islands during the pandemic, and as a result, life is relatively normal here. For now, we are welcoming long-term-stay visitors, who can apply for a visa under the Global Citizen Concierge program.
The Cayman Islands are second to none during the winter months (and year-round for that matter). The sand is like flour under your feet, the Caribbean waters are warm, calm and clear, and it’s called the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean for a reason. There are amazing restaurants, museums, natural attractions, and the service is top-notch.
How can guests have a fun, adventurous, memorable experience while still playing by the pandemic rules?
There has been no community spread of COVID-19 in the Cayman Islands (Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman) for some time, and so once it is determined that the visitor is COVID-free and can interact with others, day-to-day life is relaxed and relatively normal.
While there may be adjustments made once the borders open to general leisure travel, for now, anyone who qualifies to visit under the Global Citizen Concierge program will enjoy all the amazing places and attractions with little restriction.
What are some of the anxieties you’ve heard from guests about travel? And how have they been addressed?
Everyone understands that there are heightened concerns about travel during this time, and the government has been vigilant in restricting travel so that everyone and everything operates with little anxiety.
There is a growing, pent-up demand for travel, and we expect that when everyone can return, there will be careful and thoughtful protocols governing visitation and operations to ensure everyone’s safety and comfort. We are confident that everyone will feel the Cayman Islands is worth the wait.
What would you say to potential guests who are worried about flying during the pandemic and quarantining when they go back home?
Everyone needs to be comfortable, and the airlines are doing an excellent job with heightened disinfection and pre-and on-board protocols. While the self-isolation requirement upon return to Canada is in place, it is important that everyone follow it, though since most of us are working virtually anyhow, the idea of spending a few months in the Cayman Islands sounds really appealing right now!
You can find information about it at www.visitcaymanislands.com. And talk to us at Gravitate about your questions about travelling at this time.