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Americans Covid-19 Vaccine

Greece And United Kingdom In Talks To Begin Implementing Vaccine Passports For Travel 

Greece is currently in technical talks with the United Kingdom over allowing Britons carrying a vaccine passport entry into the nation. Concerns from the rest of the European Union over new strains and a slowing of vaccine rollouts, however, may delay those discussions. 

Haris Theoharis is Greece’s tourism minister who recently spoke with the media about how he hopes to work with Boris Johnson’s current roadmap for allowing UK residents to travel, however, it’s unclear whether or not Greece and Brussels will break from their current restrictions that would prevent this sort of travel from occurring. 

Non-essential travel into most European countries has been widely prohibited to curb the spread of Covid-19. Of the European Union’s 27-member states, all leaders agreed that these restrictions must remain in place for the time being. 

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Theoharis, however, recently confirmed that Anglo-Greek technical teams were working on how to create a system in which mass travel could resume properly if facilitated correctly. 

“We’ll try to dovetail with the plan that has been announced in the UK. May 17th has been a set date and we certainly want to be ready by then. The roadmap was a very, very good move by the UK government … planning is a prerequisite for the travel industry.”

The EU’s head of state and government are projected to discuss vaccination rollouts this week, however, they don’t believe that these discussions mean travel should resume anytime soon. The number one priority is getting all citizens vaccinated and bringing this pandemic to a hopeful end. Greece and a few other member states have been in talks to separate themselves from the EU’s current travel restrictions in order to stimulate their economies more. 

Theoharis claims that his government would be pushing for a more organized agreement regarding vaccine passports at the EU level to allow travel to resume. France and Germany have been very vocal over their hesitation to implement vaccination passports for travel mainly because not everyone is vaccinated, and there’s not enough information about how the virus can be transmitted among vaccinated and unvaccinated groups of people. 

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“All we are saying is that with this system we’d be instituting two lanes in airports as it were. The vaccination lane and the non-vaccination lane which would facilitate travel quite a bit. We have to move fast. It’s already been decided that this certificate will be created on a Pan-European basis even if it is just for health reasons,” he explained. 

Theoharis went on to explain that Greece “wants to finish what we started and finish it quickly and briskly and at the same time aim high for the travel and tourism industry. There are a number of misconceptions around the certificate, the first being that it would be discriminatory. It’s not, because it’s just an alternative to negative testing.”

“The idea that it breaches privacy laws is also wrong because, if you prefer, you can travel as if you are not vaccinated and always get tested. A certificate simply allows somebody to travel without needing to test all the time. In that sense it’s hassle- free and cost-efficient. And on the health front there is greater probability a vaccinated person has fewer chances of spreading the disease than someone who is negative at some point in time.”

It’s unclear when Greece would begin implementing these new travel policies, if at all, because as mentioned before, the number one priority among all EU government bodies is getting everyone vaccinated and ending the pandemic once and for all. 

Travel Industry Is Bracing For A Slower Recovery Than Expected In 2021

The tourism industry has been one of the most heavily impacted sectors of the US economy, and while 2021 was initially looking hopeful in terms of recovery, experts aren’t as convinced now. 

Glamping’s Rise In Popularity Could Be The Answer To Vacationing This Summer 

Glamping and camping endeavors have increased greatly within the past year thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to the fact that the virus forces all of us to stay a part, camping has given people the perfect opportunity to get out of their house and travel while remaining safe and healthy. 

James Warner Smith is the founder of Cool Camping, a glamping service that helps individuals fulfill their most luxurious camping desires. Smith claims that his company has had the busiest January and February yet in terms of new bookings, but has also noted the increase in new sites and services that are appearing throughout the nation. 

Mike Bevens is also a glamping specialist working for Canopy and Stars who discussed how bookings for his company are up by 200% when compared to the numbers last year. When more campsites appear it benefits individuals who are looking to break out of their houses and experience some new scenery.

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 Unlike hotels, AirBnB’s, and any other rented home service, camping is really all about the individual and it puts them in control of their own vacation. Glamping allows for an even more relaxing experience as it brings hotel amenities to the great outdoors. 

Dan Yates is the founder of Pitchup.com, a booking site specifically designed to show individuals the transformative power of camping and all of the luxury that can come with it. 

“Campsites can appear quickly in a way that cottages and hotels can’t. And they tend to benefit other businesses around them. It’s perfect for the pandemic situation we are in.” 

“Our income just disappeared, we had to diversify, so we put five Airstreams on our 40-acre farm and called it The Wells Glamping,” said Mojo and Kizzy Fell, a couple who before the pandemic were renting out caravans to film locations and festivals to be used. Now, the two run their own glamping business which has been booming since its launch. 

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The Fell’s claim all of the caravan glamping rentals sold out within minutes when they first launched and while they’ve been able to purchase two more to keep up with business, bookings keep on coming. 

Yate’s Pitchup business has taken on 250 additional campsites since the start of the pandemic and his team is expecting that they’ll need a lot more based on the way bookings keep increasing as time goes on. In fact, Yate’s has been compiling personal data on his businesses success as it parallels the release of multiple Covid-19 vaccines. 

“The two lines are just following each other upwards. There’s no doubt in my mind: 2021 will be the year of the pop-up campsite.”

With so many people ready to break out of their house and get back to their normal lives, glamping is providing that transition from lockdown, to normalcy, and the smores are a nice added bonus.

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Top Tips From A Travel Agent On Booking Future Vacations 

While the Covid-19 pandemic is still very much an issue in our world, with the release of multiple vaccines and advanced health and safety procedures being implemented to curb the spread, many are remaining optimistic, and spending their remaining days in quarantine fantasizing about where they’ll travel to first once the world reopens again. While we may not know exactly when we’ll be able to hop on a plane without worrying about if we have our masks or not, it can be fun to start thinking about the future now.

Nadine Cresswell-Myatt is a travel journalist who recently published the best tips she’s ever received from a travel agent before, so here are some things to keep in mind the next time you have the opportunity to leave your house for a while. 

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First and foremost you should always book early morning flights in the middle of the week, specifically Tuesday if you can. Regardless of if you’re a morning person or not, flights leaving early in the day are much less likely to be delayed, additionally, by the time you get to your destination, depending on how early and long your flight is, you’ll have more of the day to take in the scenery and start enjoying your vacation right away. 

The best days of the week to travel are also always in the middle of the week, and statistically speaking Tuesday’s are the least busy days for most airports in America. Mid-week early morning tickets also tend to be much cheaper than say a 6 p.m flight on a Friday. If you’re the type of person who packs a lot and gets nervous that a packed flight may prevent you from using overhead carry on storage, definitely consider getting a flight on one of the least busy travel days in general. 

A more niche, yet useful, tip for couples or anyone traveling in a group setting is to always pack a complete change of clothes in the other person’s suitcase. While this may sound weird, if you find yourself in the unfortunate situation where the airline loses your luggage, or accidentally ships it to the wrong location therefore delaying how long you are without your clothes, having at least one change of clothes will be enough to hold you over for the first day or two; or until you can get to a clothing store. 

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Keep all prescription medication in your carry on. This goes along with the previous tip of ensuring you have all your necessities should the worst happen and an airline lose your luggage. Your health is never something to be taken for granted, as this pandemic has taught us, so if you’re an individual taking prescription medication in any context, make sure you have it on you at all times just in case. 

Along those same lines, bring more medication than you will need. Some travelers make the mistake of only packing the specific dosages that they’ll need for the time they’re gone, however, you never know what could happen. For example, say you’re getting ready to leave and a storm hits so your flight gets moved to another day, you don’t want to be left anxious thinking about how much medication you have left. 

Finally, if you’re using a travel agent, only use ones that have actually been to the destination you’re trying to go to. It’s the same concept for any type of professional you would hire to do a service for you. You would never hire a real estate agent that just moved to your town a week ago and didn’t know anything about the area, you would want the more established agent who has been selling homes in your town for decades. So whenever you’re able to take that first trip post-pandemic, plan smartly, and leave no box unchecked. 

Travel during COVID

US Government Urging Americans Not To Travel After New Testing Requirements Approved

The US government is continuing to urge Americans not to travel abroad after new restrictions went into effect this Tuesday that require all passengers travelling by air to present a negative Covid test taken within three days of the departure or proof of recovery from the virus within the past 90 days. 

Healthcare and government officials alike are worried that these new requirements will motivate travelers to go back out into the world since the approval process has never been easier. The reality is, however, there has never been a worse time for Americans to leave their homes, as over 421,000 citizens have now died from the virus. Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Ian Brownlee spoke to reporters and citizens this Tuesday, urging them to not travel. 

“If you cannot easily access a Covid-19 test, or if you test positive, you will end up overseas for much longer than you planned. If that happens, you will be responsible for covering your own lodging and medical costs during that time.”

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“Seriously reconsider going overseas right now,” Brownlee added, claiming that “US citizens who choose to go abroad, whether it’s for a holiday or a genuine emergency, need to be prepared to be potentially seriously disrupted in their trips.” 

The Centers for Disease Control and Preventions‘ director for the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, Marty Cetron, also spoke to the press with Brownlee, adding that the “bottom-line message is this is really not a time for people to be engaging in discretionary travel, and that all travel should be postponed until we get a better handle on getting this virus under control, and accelerating our vaccination strategies.”

Despite all the warnings and increases in cases and deaths, the State Department is not considering issuing a global Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory and instead will issue advisories on a country by country basis. The department issued a worldwide warning against international travel back in March, but lifted it in August. 

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Brownlee claimed that the State Department is “committed to helping US citizens overseas who find themselves in dire situations, but that assistance is likely to be limited. Our goal is to help people avoid those dire straits in the first place.  US embassies will be able to provide information about where to get medical care and Covid tests, but will not provide those tests,” Brownlee explained. 

Cetron went on to discuss how “the waiver that was initially contemplated to extend the deadline of implementation of these new requirements by a couple of weeks has been removed from this order, although we’ve specifically added a particular humanitarian emergency exemption to take into account.” 

“Additionally, when we looked at the surges of this virus that have happened, in particular in the months before Thanksgiving and through the holiday season — Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s — we were just seeing surge upon surge in the virus at a time when more of the variants were proving themselves increasingly contagious. And it was a combination of all these factors which led to the urgency of removing the two-week additional extension for implementation, and to move this into effect immediately at 12:01, midnight.”

The Biden Administration and current Covid-19 taskforce are holding daily meetings and operation calls with airlines to receive feedback on the early rollout and implementation of these new requirements, and conversations will continue to be ongoing as vaccines continue to be distributed and this pandemic progresses.

How The Covid-19 Vaccine Will Impact Future Travel Plans

With the Biden Administration officially inaugurated into the White House, however, many are expecting his new “lead with science” approach to help the US finally get on the right track with this pandemic.

Trump Attempts To Lift Covid-19 Travel Restrictions, Biden Moves To Block The Order 

President Donald Trump on Monday lifted Covid-19 travel restrictions for a majority of Europe, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Brazil, which would become effective on January 26th. President-elect Joe Biden immediately responded to this order by claiming that he would be blocking it immediately once inaugurated on January 20th. 

The CDC recently announced that the US should expect to hit 500,000 Covid-19 deaths by the middle of February, so Biden’s announcement that he would be blocking this order has a lot of Americans taking a big sigh of relief after a treacherous and deadly past year. 

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Trump claimed that he had been advised to lift the restrictions on incoming travelers to the US from 26 European countries in the Schengen Zone, the UK, and Brazil. Trump explained that he agreed with “the Secretary that this action is the best way to continue protecting Americans from Covid-19 while enabling travel to resume safely,” which immediately raised some red flags for Americans watching the news everyday and seeing case numbers rise exponentially. 

Biden’s incoming press secretary, Jen Psaki, is already hard at work ensuring the public that the Biden administration would not be lifting these restrictions. Psaki tweeted out to the public this week that “with the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel.”

Psaki continued that based “on the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26. In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

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Last month the CDC released new guidelines in terms of traveling in the US. All air passengers coming into America are required to have a negative Covid-19 test, and get tested within three days before their flight. Passengers must also provide written documentation of their lab results, or documentation that they recently recovered from Covid-19 and were therefore more likely to be immune. 

The potential lifting of the travel restrictions in Europe were thought to be a response to these new measures, however, the current administration is struggling greatly to get its country vaccinated; healthcare experts promised 20 million Americans would receive their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine by the end of 2020 and as of last week about 6 million Americans had received their initial dose. 

Biden’s incoming administration has a task force of healthcare experts and scientists who are all sworn to lead the pandemic response without any political bias and strictly based on the data provided by the nation’s leading healthcare workers.

Delta Airplane

Delta And United Airlines Will Permanently Remove International Change Fees 

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the travel industry in the US in more ways than one. Many major airline companies have begun implementing new policies to help cushion the economic blow that the tourism sector has suffered from within the past ten months of the pandemic. Most recently, Delta and United airlines have announced that they will be permanently eliminating change fees for flights across the globe. 

Throughout the entire pandemic airlines throughout the world and nation have recognized that there would be a major decline in travel, so they began eliminating fees that are typically charged to travelers who change their international flights or cancel them all together. Initially this was just a temporary move so that travelers wouldn’t have to worry about paying more money in the middle of a global health and economic crisis, however, Delta and United realized the elimination of these fees is actually a great thing for consumers and the airlines all together. 

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For Delta specifically, the airline will waive its $200 international change fee for any flight that “originates in the US or between the US, Mexico and the Caribbean going forward, including code-share flights,” according to the company’s announcement. Basic economic fares are excluded and according to Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian this elimination has proven to be extremely valuable.

“Our approach has always been to put people first, which is why we’re extending our current change fee waiver and making lasting changes to our practices, so customers have the trust and confidence they need long after the pandemic ends.”  

Delta is going to continue to charge $75 for same-day standby, but the airline is extending its Covid-19 policy waivers which removes change fees for all domestic and international tickets purchased through March 30th of this year. 

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United Airlines also recently announced that they would be eliminating change fees for international flights moving forward. For domestic flights, change fees will also be eliminated but only for flights booked before or on March 31st of this year. The airline wrote a statement in which they claimed that the decision was “made recognizing that flexibility is more important to our customers than ever.” 

United initially implemented the no-change fee policy back in August for all domestic flights which inspired a slew of other airlines in America to waive their flight change fees as well. American Airlines became the first US airline to get rid of change fees completely for all flights from North or South America and the airline has also eliminated their fee for domestic same-day standby.

American Airlines Chief Revenue Officer, Vasu Raja, recently released a statement regarding the choice, stating that the company is “committed to making travel easier for customers who fly on American.” 

It’s expected that other modes of transportation that make up the tourism sector for the US’s economy will also begin to implement policies and waivers of fees like these airlines at least in the beginning of the post-pandemic reopening of the country as a means of rebuilding what was lost within the past ten months.

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The US Is Requiring Negative Covid-19 Tests From All UK Travelers 

Any traveler from the United Kingdom coming into the United States will now need to arrive with a negative Covid-19 test result that was taken within three days of their flight. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US recently released this new requirement along with other restrictions. 

This specific requirement went into effect this past Sunday and applies to any passenger who is currently eligible to fly from the UK to the US; this includes US citizens as well. Airlines are responsible for confirming the negative test results before and after boarding as well. According to the CDC airlines will need to confirm the date that the test was taken, the type of test taken, and that the test was negative. 

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Passengers have the option of either getting the nucleic acid amplification test, or the antigen test, but it must be one or the other in order to actually apply; rapid tests aren’t accurate enough to provide the approval for travel. 

Travelers who may be in a UK airport due to a layover, and who are there for less than 24 hours, are exempt from the rule. Additionally, travelers who have tested positive for the coronavirus and fully recovered with a confirmed negative test within the three months prior to travel are also exempt. 

The passengers who have recently recovered from Covid-19 must have proof of their prior positive test, negative test after their recovery, and a letter from a doctor clearing them for air travel. These requirements come after dozens of other countries around the world banned travel all together from the UK due to the discovery of a new strain of the coronavirus. 

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While the new strain of Covid-19 is also treatable with the slew of vaccines now being made available internationally, it’s thought that this strain is more contagious and severe when compared to the virus we’ve been battling throughout the past year. Individuals who have contracted the new strain often endure a more severe case of Covid, and are much more transmissible to individuals around them. 

The US resisted a total ban on travel between the two nations and initially declined to create any new requirements. It’s also already been discovered that this new strain is in the US, and it’s likely been here since September. 

“While it is known and expected that viruses constantly change through mutation leading to the emergence of new variants, preliminary analysis in the UK suggests that the discovered variant may be more transmissible than previously circulating variants, with an estimated potential to increase the transmissibility of the virus by up to 70%. This additional testing requirement will strengthen protection of the American public to improve their health and safety and ensure responsible international travel,” the CDC stated within the new set of guidelines. 

Once individuals get to the US the CDC recommends getting tested three to five days after arrival and self-quarantining for seven days even with a negative test result.

New Browser Extension Lets Users Take Virtual Vacation With The Click Of A Button 

The Covid-19 pandemic has truly thrown a wrench in any and all of our 2020 plans. Traveling and going on vacation seems like a fantasy world at this point, and the cultural institutions that make our world so unique and diverse have been indefinitely shut down for months now. However, thanks to the modern world of technology, there’s been a multitude of ways that individuals can itch that vacation scratch without actually leaving their homes and risking their life. 

Many tourism sectors and cultural institutions throughout the world have created virtual experiences that allow users to simply go on their computer and travel anywhere they please. These experiences include tours of some of the world’s most famous museums, national parks, hiking trails, mountain ranges, etc. 

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One of the biggest aspects of traveling that we all likely miss, however, is the unpredictability of going to a new place and discovering little pockets of the world we would’ve never even seen if we stayed home. Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge had the same type of longing, and decided to create a browser extension that would hopefully bring back some of that fun unpredictability travelers have likely been craving. 

Tab With A View, as previously mentioned, is a Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge browser extension that allows users to travel to a new part of the world every time they open a new tab on their browser. The browser extension works by randomly choosing a beautiful photo or video of a destination that has been uploaded to the internet. 

The extension uses photos and videos submitted by real people who either live in these locations, or have traveled there in the past to capture the images. The goal was to create an experience where users never know where they’ll end up when they open a new tab to search for something. 

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If you’re the type of person who typically has dozens of tabs open anyway, this extension is the perfect addition to your user experience everyday. Especially considering many of us are working remotely now, and on our computers for a majority of the day, think about what a nice breath of fresh air it would be to see a unique little area of the world every time you need to open a new tab to write an email, search for an article, etc. 

Beyond just the image or video, the extension also shows real-time flight information for the location shown. Additionally it also shows users actual Covid-19 statistics for the area, as well as what visa requirements one would need depending on their nationality. 

The images are described as a “wide range of photos and videos of destinations, including drone photography, every-day views from people’s windows, views from bars, restaurants, or hotels in certain places, and virtual video “walks,” tours, and hiking trips, as well as Google Earth and Google Street View photography.”Anyone can contribute to Tab With A View by uploading an image or video within the platform itself. If you’re interested in installing the browser extension on Chrome, simply go to the Chrome Web Store and click “Add To Chrome.” For Microsoft Edge users, visit the Edge Add Ons website and do the same.