Is it just me or does it feel like the COVID-19 tide is finally turning? After close to two years of my wife and I really doing our part to keep our families and communities safe by abiding by the guidelines, refraining from large gatherings and indoor dining, getting vaccinated, boosted and for the most part staying local, it finally seems like it’s a good time to get out there again.
I know I’m not alone either. Rick Steves just wrote a great post about how his tour company is finally restarting since the pandemic began. Rick has some sage advice about traveling to Europe this spring and summer but it really could apply to anywhere. Rick says: “Is it too soon to return to Europe? For some, waiting until later in 2022 — or even beyond — is a reasonable choice. Diving back into Europe right now is best for travelers who are willing to accept some risk and uncertainty. (It’s also important to be fully vaccinated and boosted, and prepared to follow local masking and other public-health guidelines.) If that’s not you, a combination of armchair travel and travel dreaming remains a great alternative for the time being.”
The pandemic really has changed my mindset and obviously my social activities, too. Before the pandemic, when I walked by the kids’ park and there were no kids there, we kept walking because it looked too boring. Now when we walk by, we do the opposite. Throughout the pandemic, if there were people in the park, we’d keep going. It’s pretty crazy, right?
Travel writer and actor Andrew McCarthy just penned a New York Times column titled “Travel Is My Antidote for Fear. As Covid Eases, I’m Heading Out Again.” He closed with: “It might feel counterintuitive to leave what is familiar and seemingly safe to venture out into the unknown in order to be free of life’s terrors, but that is exactly what has been my liberation. It’s always easier to sit on the couch than to get up and go. But maybe the couch is no longer the answer. Perhaps it’s time, with the proper safeguards, to get back out there. Travel still has the power to amaze, to delight and surprise, to awe and inspire, to unite, and most important right now, to obliterate fear.”
David Rowell who pens The TravelInsider blog says: “Whether supported by “the science” or not, most people seem to be unilaterally deciding the virus is no longer something they should allow to cripple their lives, with such attitudes being echoed by politicians the world over, terrified at what is being thought to be a potential backlash against the various controls of the last two years, in the form of a drubbing at the polls come their next election.” He goes on to say, “there’s still plenty of opportunity for anything at all to happen between now and mid spring when people tend to start thinking of international travel, but at this stage, I’d say that all the signs are looking increasingly positive.”
I agree with all of the above. There’s really no unilateral right answer about whether it’s the right time to travel or not. There are a lot of variables including vaccination status, are you going to a place with low case counts, are you prepared to be stuck?
With COVID cases in a steep decline, my wife and I are finally planning on taking our trip to Hawaii, which we had planned for April 2020. It was supposed to be my daughter’s first airplane ride and we’ve pushed the date multiple times. It looks like this time we’re going and when my wife told me that she’d told her mom that we were going, I said, “Oh boy, what did she say?” I know she’s even more cautious than we are and that’s saying something. My mother-in-law said, “It’s time,” which reminded me of Rocky 2 when Adrian tells Rocky to win.
Related: Monday Night Travel With Rick Steves