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Optimism

With the vaccines arriving from all directions, is there a reason to be optimistic about travel this June? As a older American married to a health provider, I'll probably have the shots by then.

By travel, I mean B&Bs being open, bars being open with music pouring out the doors, and heritage sites being open. Also not spending the entire vacation in quarantine.

I had tentatively deferred out next trip to 2022, but I'd hate to ignore the opportunity to visit with slightly smaller crowds and support all the starving proprietors and musicians.

Seems like June is probably on the edge, but traveling later in the year is less attractive, between weather, midges, daylight, and our schedules.

Posted by
3571 posts

I don't think any of us can expect an entire return to tourist normal by June. You may have had vaccine, but for much of the rest of the world, it will still be rolling out to their levels of population - and I think that will impact how much is open. For example, Canada is saying their population 'may' all be vaccinated by September 2021.
But, it doesn't mean you have to give up hope. There is a major part of the travel population that does not book months (or years) in advance. Consider having a general plan for June but not committing to anything until a few weeks before. I remember keeping tabs on Egypt activity after the Arab Spring on TripAdvisor Cairo Forum. There were sufficient locals or Europeans returning to vacation there to know what was happening on the ground. Then when it was apparent that North America was increasing flights, and the tour companies were returning, I jumped on it and was there within 2 weeks of booking points flights and telling my boss I was going on vacation. See if you can find resources that have people on the ground sharing information of what is opening up.
I realize some trips take more planning, but this whole pandemic is going to change so much of the face of travel and travel resources, we have no idea what B&B will still be functioning in June or 2022 let alone if bars have managed to sustain the shutdowns or heritage sites have survived. I think any travel in the first year is going to require only half-baked plans to avoid disappointments and frequent rearranging.

Posted by
1801 posts

I have to admit that I am very, very optimistic about travel for 2021. Between the approved vaccines, here and in the UK, I believe our chances are better than good. For us the unofficial confirmation will come when the Hilton in NYC Midtown reopens. My husband works there he also agrees that when the hotel opens that will be a sign. We pushed our small ship cruise up the coast of Croatia to September 25 and we fully intend on going in 2021. They ran their cruises this past summer/fall with no incidents. Businesses here and in Europe cannot sustain another year with no income or tourists. I also believe we may have to continue wearing a mask, temperature taken, Social distancing, timed entries, limited people in places, but we can live with those restrictions - we’re doing it anyway at home. I know it may read reckless and selfish to some posters, but we would follow all recommendations and rules as Set forth by each country.

Posted by
4348 posts

I think travel for September onwards maybe ok but I would be wary of June. Bars and live music are likely to be one of the last things to resume again. Although vaccinations are likely to start soon, the U.K. has been told that it will still be many many months until most of the population can be vaccinated. We are starting with the oldest people, which isn’t going to help getting businesses restarted.

We don’t know how long the vaccination protection lasts, so some may need a booster before others have had their first shot. An expert on the BBC news broadcast has just said that things may be better by the summer, but not back to normal. The EU hasn’t approved any of the vaccines yet.

It’s certainly looking more optimistic than it was, but caution is being expressed here in the U.K.

Posted by
5759 posts

Between the approved vaccines, here and in the UK

Except that there are no approved vaccines in the United States yet — only in the UK.

Here is an article in the NYT this afternoon:

Why Did Britain Authorize a Vaccine Before the U.S.?

LONDON — The first rigorously tested coronavirus vaccine was given a green light for use on Wednesday in Britain. Doses of the vaccine, made by the American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and a small German company, BioNTech, will be injected starting next week, the government said.

In leaping ahead of the United States to allow mass inoculations, Britain added to the pressure on American drug regulators, who were summoned to the White House on Tuesday by President Trump’s chief of staff to explain why they were not ready to do the same.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/02/world/europe/uk-covid-vaccine-pfizer.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

Posted by
5759 posts

You may have had vaccine, but for much of the rest of the world, it will still be rolling out to their levels of population

This sounds right to me (as of now). Yesterday French President Macron said that he hopes France will be inoculating the public at large sometime between April and June (after starting with nursing home residents and medical providers first).

Posted by
12133 posts

I'm an optimist. The Winter wave will be over, there will be quite a bit of vaccine distributed and there will be greater degree of heard immunity. But beside all that, there will be starving people and death due to other illnesses at epidemic proportions if we dont put society back on the tracks and I think the trend is in recognizing this. Then then there is the political angle. These guys want to get re-elected and it wont happen if they wreck the lives of their constituents by putting them out of work for another 6 months.

I am so optimistic that I am planning an April trip; but primarily to the countries (including those things that you travel to those countries for) that are currently open to visitors; or only closed in the last few weeks. There is no loss in planning and making a few reservations, no matter what travel looks like in April.

Posted by
2594 posts

For those of us old enough to remember this, the FDA's slowness to approve thalidomide compared to Europe averted that tragedy from occurring in the US.

Posted by
994 posts

We are waiting until the fall of 2021 to plan travel to Europe, so that means spring of 2022 at the earliest. The restart of RS tours would be an indicator for me to start planning again.

Posted by
357 posts

I'm allowing myself to be optimistic to the point of booking a trip to the UK and France in August. Granted, it's little skin off my back to do so - this is a trip I had scheduled for summer 2020 that was canceled, so I'm sitting on airline, rail, hotel and other credits. And with all these credits, I'd be able to cancel and reschedule everything again if need be with little inconvenience. If August is approaching and things look good, I'll proceed as planned. If, by June or so, it looks like things will still be uncertain or the trip would just be too... weird... I'll postpone again.

For government authorities and the other powers that be in North America and Europe, I'm inclined to think they're looking for an opportunity and excuse to open things back up and offer folks a semblance of normalcy. We see that to a certain extent already, even - when infection, positivity, hospitalization, other leading indicator rates allow, businesses and schools can operate at such and such capacity, with more lenient restrictions, etc., in the absence of anything approaching herd immunity or even having spread under control. The bar is low and we're all being graded on a curve, in other words. We can discuss just how effective (or ineffective) that's been and how many problems that approach has caused, but ultimately I suspect once vaccination is moving along at enough of a clip to give decision makers cover, we'll see travel restrictions disappear or become significantly less strict (perhaps proof of vaccination and a negative PCR test and you're good to go, for instance) because they'll have decided that's what economic concerns and their constituents demand.

Of course, rules and restrictions are only part of it for me. I also want to feel safe for my own sake, and not feel like I'm posing a risk to anyone I come across when traveling or anyone I return home to. That'll be a judgment call I'll have to make when the time comes, regardless of whether destinations have quarantine requirements or open borders or capacity restrictions. Further, as mentioned earlier, I just don't want my trip to be overly "weird" - I don't want too many places being closed, options being too limited, and left feeling like I can't actually relax or be allowed to occasionally if even inadvertently let my guard down once in awhile. Time will tell if August will allow for that. Again, though - I'm optimistic. It's a cautious optimism, complemented by backup plans :)

Posted by
2417 posts

I’m feeling optimistic for fall but I think June might be pushing it. I’m loosely thinking about October, but not planning anything specifically.

My best guess is that June might be possible to go with proof of vaccine but that your activities will still be limited due to local restrictions. The general population would still be in the process of getting vaccinated so people will still be cautious

Posted by
6513 posts

Your description of post-Covid travel assumes that everything will go exactly as planned in terms of a distribution and inoculation schedule and that the end result will be like a light switch (things will return exactly as they were before, especially bars and music etc.). I trust Dr. Fauci, and he gave more of an impression of a gradual phasing of new norms, in contrast to turning a light switch from off to on. I'm inclined to believe him, so my take is "be flexible and patient with your optimism" so your expectations won't get ahead of reality.

Posted by
279 posts

I'm optimistic, but for the end of 2021/early 2022, because so many people currently are resistant to taking the vaccine in the U.S. As more people get vaccinated and they see it is safe, I hope more people will be willing to be vaccinated. I'm a scientist, and like Agnes, I take my cues from Dr. Fauci and the epidemiologists at major research universities here and internationally. They suggest there will be a several-month transition period before enough are vaccinated for things to begin to return to normal. The great news is the evidence the vaccines are 90+% effective.

Posted by
9074 posts

If you see the positive in things then travel in June is possible.

If all you see is the negative then travel in June, will not be possible.

I have no idea what is going to happen. But I'm planning my future travels so I'm ready when the welcome mat is put out. (And those plans are for all over so I'm ready for whichever countries open up first.)

Posted by
12133 posts

Let's see how overly optimistic April/May is. Those are my plans.

My best guess is that June might be possible to go with proof of
vaccine but that your activities will still be limited due to local
restrictions.

Yes, seeing how thats a possibility right this minute, I suspect it will be a possibility in June as well. Probably, or hopefully, with a lot more options.

I trust Dr. Fauci, and he gave more of an impression of a gradual
phasing of new norms, in contrast to turning a light switch from off
to on.

Agnes, I doubt the good Dr. F will have much impact on the new norm. I suspect the common guy on the street will define that

Posted by
17 posts

We recently booked flights to Edinburgh in September 2021 for a few reasons:

  1. We plan on doing a lot of hiking and exploring and just enjoying the natural beauty of the country, so we expect little to no restrictions doing that, especially considering it's 9 months from now.
  2. We found a very reasonable price (almost too good to pass up if you ask me) on a non-stop flight through United
  3. I had a credit from United I needed to use by the end of the year or lose it (Flight that I had to cancel back in January, pre-pandemic)
  4. We have the option to change the flight and either rebook for a later date or get a credit if needed

We will probably wait until March or April to start looking at lodging and a car rental, but for now we're just happy we have something to look forward to, but we also realize that there's a chance that plans may change

Posted by
12133 posts

With a little care in planning its possible to get most everything booked without loss, so there is little need to be afraid to start.

My December trip to Europe was "overcome by circumstances" and as a result i ended up with an open ticket on Turkish Air and no losses on any of my reservations. So I am rebooking for April. Nothing to loose by trying.

Posted by
128 posts

While not my planned trip to Scotland in the future I had a Europe adventure booked for this last August. 5 flights, 5 different airlines in total. All booked in early February, great prices, non-refundable. My timing could not have been worse. The first flight was into Edinburgh actually, one day there then on to Greece.

Flights in order
1. Asked for voucher in July, still waiting.
2. Flight actually happened, lost that one.
3. Waiting for refund in spring 2021.
4. Received refund a few months ago.
5. Received credit immediately on applying.

Posted by
1123 posts

I think the light switch is going to be on a dimmer. The lights will shine bright a bit slowly. I too follow the experts and wish some had earlier on in this pandemic.

Posted by
19 posts

Thank-you for your optimism!! I read this yesterday, and ran with it, booking flights to Glasgow for September 2021. We had everything planned for September 2020 and it was all cancelled. I guess I was somewhat optimistic even then, as I just left all my booking deposits in place, and after speaking with the B and B owners arranged for the dates of our stays to be moved 1 year out. Hopefully all of the attractions will be up and running again next year. Fingers crossed. Good health to everyone!
Cheers
Heather

Posted by
12133 posts

By travel, I mean B&Bs being open, bars being open with music pouring
out the doors, and heritage sites being open. Also not spending the
entire vacation in quarantine.

Scotland in particular? Who knows. But the odds of there being many, many enjoyable trips in late April and beyond I think are pretty good.

Posted by
6056 posts

In the U.K. the Chancellor has just extended the furlough scheme to the end of April. This would strongly indicate that the treasury isn’t optimistic about things being particularly near to normal by spring.

The number of people in U.K. hospitals with Covid is approx 17 000, which is not that far off the peak of approx 21 000 from last spring. Infection and hospitalisation rates will only go up in January after the relaxation of restrictions for Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, from a treatment point of view we are in a better place than we were at the start of this but it still really isn’t great.

Re the vaccine, for medical reasons I am reasonably near the top of the vaccine list ( top third?) and I have been informed I am not likely to get the jab until March at the very earliest. The roll out of the vaccine is brilliant but it won’t be quick.

There is light at the end of the tunnel but it is still a pretty dim light if you are expecting travel in the near future.

Posted by
128 posts

I'm optimistic that I'll get to Scotland sometime in 2021. If not my original Spring timeline then sometime before Christmas. While I don't expect everything to be fully normal I think things will be "mostly normal" and certainly after the summer of 2020 was a writeoff there will be eager people ready to start seeing tourists again.

I think back on my 2019 trip to Europe and laugh at how obviously unCovid friendly it would have been. Scotland will be far more friendly in that regard. I anticipate having my vaccine in the first half of 2021 so hopefully that will enable my wife and I to make it over the pond.

Posted by
4162 posts

So does the report of the new Covid-19 strain in SE England put even a slight damper on optimism? Apparently the vaccines will work on this, too, but this mutating virus seems bent on complicating things. I hope jabs and shots for us all will be available very, very soon. Our September 2021 trip is hinging on it!

Posted by
1629 posts

There is a lot of good advice in this thread. I'd suggest that when booking you check refund policies just in case. After our experiences getting refunds/vouchers for 2020 travel, we're holding off for now.

I absolutely understand the appeal of smaller crowds in 2021, but wonder if everything will be open like bars, restaurants, and so forth. 2022 may be crazy crowded, or will things not return to "normal" until 2023?

Scotland is next on our travel itinerary, so I'm looking forward to your trip report.

Posted by
7 posts

I'm cautiously optimistic about getting to Scotland in August of 2021. As vaccinations ramp up and we head into spring/summer I suspect that infection rates and hospitalizations will trend down enough for travel to loosen up. The US is now vaccinating people using 2 vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna), and 3 additional vaccines are in stage 3 trials (AstraZeneca, Janssen, and Novavax), hopefully available to also vaccinate people sometime this spring. Without a doubt masks, at the very least, will still be in order until COVID-19 becomes endemic rather than pandemic. A lot of forces will be pushing on the travel industry to loosen their restrictions, and hopefully it can happen safely sometime late spring/early summer/mid-summer.

Posted by
1629 posts

You need to find where you're at in the pecking order. Every state and country is different. If you're old or a teacher then June looks good. If you're the Average Joe Blow then it might be close.

As I've mentioned 2021 will be a banner year for international travel if you have the vaccine. Crowds will be fewer and you can bet your bottom dollar it will be nuts in 2022 and 2023.

James E. -- pretty much

Airline and travel bookings are already surging for the third and and fourth quarters of 2021.

Posted by
12133 posts

In Budapest a significant number of the short term rentals are now gone. Those that survived will be on sale in 2021, so excellent to be among the first. Then when tourism reaches the old numbers the accommodation shortage including the now permentantly closed hotels, might push prices way up