The Last Plane Home

S1 Eps 15 - Let's Talk About the Vaccine | Practical Travel Tips in 2021

April 05, 2021 Guy Guyton Season 1 Episode 15
The Last Plane Home
S1 Eps 15 - Let's Talk About the Vaccine | Practical Travel Tips in 2021
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, I’ll talk about: 

  • The latest update from the CDC on travel guidelines
  • Thoughts on what travel in 2021 will look like
  • Where you might be able to travel in 2021 and will you need a vaccine passport?

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Until next time travelers, Peace!

Links to Resources: 

Hey there traveler and welcome to the last point home a podcast for those who enjoy exploring other cultures in locations through travel. I'm your host Guy Guyton and I help travelers get the resources they need to see the world on your own terms. Today on the show, we're talking about the big announcement that happened on Friday from the CDC, and what that means for travel in 2021. Okay, now, normally on the podcast we bring on guests who share their experiences with you. So it's not just me talking for 45 minutes. On today's topic, I wanted to share with you my own perspective. I've recently became fully vaccinated and traveled last week and want to give you perspective on travel in 2021. Okay, but first, a few quick announcements. So in case you weren't aware, we have a travel newsletter. I travel with guy we help travelers find the best places to go and the best ways to get there. And you sign up for our newsletter, you get the latest news tips and resources straight into your inbox each month. If you click the show notes below, or the link in Instagram, you can sign up today. And second, do you need supercharge your travel budget, we just saw a huge offer from chase last week, in case you didn't hear right now. Chase has one of the best offers it's had on a Chase Sapphire preferred in a while they're offering 80,000 points which you can easily redeem for over $1,000 in travel spend. I just transferred 30,000 points to Hyatt for romantic weekend getaway in Monterey for a room that would have cost me over $600. So you know, with ADK, you can do that a couple of times, you're easily get over a grand in travel value. And if you use the link in my show notes below or my ID page, I'll get a referral bonus at no cost to you, which really helps out the content. So if you want to help support this channel, and take advantage of this amazing deal, click the link in the show notes or my Instagram bio. Okay, and then last up a few quick disclaimers. I am not a medical professional, I fully believe in going to a source for getting your information. So anything that I referenced today, I will link the actual content in the show notes below. So you can see that whether it's from the New York Times or CDC, again, I recommend checking things out yourself. And I will details in the show notes below. This episode reflects my opinions and how I think the new guidelines will impact travel this year. Alright, so let's just dive into the first topic with the big announcement. So first up, the CDC announced updated guidance for fully vaccinated Americans on Friday for both domestic and international travel. And so what does that mean first, like what is fully vaccinated mean? So right now in the States, there's three types of vaccines that are available that have been approved by the FDA. The first two require two shots, one of those being vaccine from Pfizer, the second one being the one from Madonna. Each of those, again takes two two shots spaced out either three or four weeks apart from one another. And then fully vaccinated would mean two weeks after your second dose of either of those. And then the third option is Johnson and Johnson jnJ, which offers a single dose until fully vaccinated for that would again be two weeks after you take that first shot. So that's what they mean by fully vaccinated out is when the vaccines take maximum efficacy and prevention. So does that mean you can travel? Well, the CDC is not recommending travel at this time, especially because of the rising number in cases in the US. I think the two main suspects that that I'm finding are new strains, as well as loosening restrictions too early and in some states. So you know, taking out mask wearing and things like that some of the, you know, the precautions that we've been using for the last year or so, ending those restrictions early. So we see an increased number of cases, even though we're also seeing an increase in vaccinations. Okay, so it's not recommended from the CDC. But can you still do it? Should you still do it two separate questions here. So for the first one, domestically, you're not going to need a test or quarantine. You know, before after traveling from a national perspective there, you might still be subject to local state restrictions depending on where you're going. And then internationally, you're not going to need to quarantine or take a test before leaving, unless again, the place that you're going requires and puts in those stipulations. So you should have the ability to travel to more and more places and especially in 2021 but all of the same precautions that we've been using for the past year still apply. So when you're traveling, you'll still need to stay six feet apart. Wash your hands frequently and In where the math, it seems like from a federal perspective, you know, wearing the mask is still required. The roll off requires you to wear a mask at all times at airports, on domestic flights and all transportation hubs. And again, you could still be subject to local restrictions, depending on where you're going, including getting tests and quarantining, or at least showing and showing proof of each of those as well. So what does travel look like in 2021? Well, I just got back from a coast to coast flight from SFO to Bradley, to be at home with family for a little bit, and a lot of it felt like normal, other than the mask. So you know, from when you get to the airport, you're wearing a mask at all times, you know, the first thing you're gonna notice is the airport obviously isn't as crowded, there's a lot less people traveling. But the lines still seem kind of the same. As always, I think with people just trying to stick that six feet apart and things like that, they seem a little bit longer, and they're a little bit artificially inflated from that perspective. If you're going through TSA are clear, all those things are still there. And so I didn't spend a lot of time going through security kind of felt like normal. And if anything a little bit easier, especially because a lot of the folks who have those are business travelers, and there's not a lot of business travel going on, right. So that's kind of the first observation. The second one is when you're in the airport itself, depending on where you are, you'll see a lot of the restaurants can be closed, right. So terminal two and SFO, it almost seems entirely dead. You know, there's a little convenience store that's open. But one of the major restaurants, you know, going into SFO a couple times in, since this pandemic started. Now, it's kind of hit or miss of when they're going to be open. And there's a lot of reasons for that, you know, whether they're allowed to be open, whether they can be open, whether they're just not getting enough volume and doesn't make sense for a business. So my recommendation is kind of plan on bringing your own snacks, food, whatever that might be. expect everything to be closed. And then if something is open, be pleasantly surprised. I always travel with a empty water bottle. And then I fill it up as soon as I can to get past TSA and then boarding. The other thing I've noticed is a lot of the planes are boarding quicker in an earlier so I usually try to be one of the last people on the planes. But now I'm seeing so often that I flights are getting moved up. So I'm trying to get there a little bit earlier. This time was kind of unique, the lounges were back open, which was fun. At a lounge, a lot of times you're you're eating you're drinking and so the mask wearing even though you're indoors, kind of here, Miss, you're still supposed to wear your mask, if you're not eating or drinking, it's kind of the same thing with when you're on the plane itself. But at the lounge, like you go to a lounge, a lot of times you get the comfy chairs, you have access to free drinks and food. And so it was kind of hit or miss there, it was good to be back there have access to Wi Fi and kind of relaxing, like I said, I'm getting to the airport a little earlier than I normally would, because I'm seeing a lot of flight board and you know, take off earlier, so definitely want to take full advantage of the lounge from that. And then the flight itself, you know, going coast to coast is is you know, one of the longer ones in the country, right about six hours or so plus, I think we had a layover each way, unfortunately. So it's a long time to be in a mask and anyone who works in healthcare or has a mask on all day, like I salute you because it is it's rough, you know, and it's not that big of an inconvenience, it's it's absolutely fine. For me personally, by the end of it, I could just feel like my head ringing a little bit when I was wearing one of those default blue mask actually just changed it to like one of those cloth custom ones, which just, you know, is a less hider and fits my big head better. So I would recommend that too. I flew delta which is still has the middle seats open. Sojust kind of great weather here flying in economy or you want to be upgrades or something like that. Having that middle space gives us a little bit of extra room. So that feels good, I think we're gonna see that start to go away. And Delta has already announced next month that that's going away for them. So planes are going to be more crowded again, shortly, which is fun for anyone. But by and large, you know, flights didn't feel too different from normal. Okay, so we talked about some of the restrictions and how the flights and things like that are working now. But where can you go in 2021? And the answer is it's pretty fluid. There's a couple of sites that have been monitoring tr monitoring that update very frequently. And I'll link those in description below. They're super helpful. As of this recording, there's about 84 countries that are letting us travelers in that number fluctuates as more countries are trying to be more accommodating, they're seeing, you know, they were trying to see our numbers go down and you can see the number of countries go up. But now with our numbers increasing at any given moment, other countries could kind of restrict us. The other thing to consider is while we should have access in the states to vaccines if we choose to take them, other countries have had zero vaccine vaccines administered so far, right? Because they haven't had the access. So it's not just if you're vaccinated, but if the country you're trying to go to, you know, what's their current situation. So it's very fluid. And as our numbers go up, it's kind of hard to justify and are seeing the number of countries have led us in increasing. So again, you know, looking at one of the sources, he just went from a New York Times about 84 countries, let us in. But even though there's all those countries, and I still have a few ways that I'm thinking about, kind of funneling this down to where I'd even want to go, right. And so the first filter, obviously, is any other countries that will take us in, right. countries that are likely open now, or have been open through the worst parts of the pandemic, probably will remain open. Right? So instantly, I'm thinking of Mexico that really never shut its doors to us, through the heightened points, right are very likely to to remain open. So that's obviously one of the filters can can we be let in. And I'm kind of basing that on, you know, what the list is today, hoping that that for the most part, will can stay consistent throughout. The other thing I'm thinking about is just overall distance from home. So even though I'm fully vaccinated, there's still a high percentage and other countries that that won't be. So what does that mean? It means that a lot of things will either still remain closed, so I won't get the full experience that I want. When I'm traveling, I'm really trying to travel for the culture and how people are living day to day. And you know, I wouldn't consider a lockdown normal day to day. So I don't think I really get the full experience. So there's a lot of places that, you know, as time being my number one limiting factor, I don't want to go to a spa, if I'm going to feel like I'm kind of shortchanged, especially I'm going there, no, I'm going there for the culture. So that's definitely one. The other part is, if there's not, let's say, access to vaccines largely to stay distributed in the place I want to go, Well, if their health care is going to be strained, then what I don't want to be an additional burden on their healthcare. And I also don't want to be in a spot where I'm so far away that I don't get access to whatever treatments that I might need. So I kind of want to put some restrictions on how far I'm even willing to go. So I think for me, that's about six to 10 ish hours away. And you know, being on the west coast, it's different How is back in New York, I think that six to 10 hours gives me a lot more spots, then being in California right now. But something to consider, right, I don't want to spend 20 hours on a flight and then not be able to get the full experience that I want. I'd rather just wait a little bit later. And then my third filter here is quarantining periods, cost of testing and testing requirements, as well as any additional like insurance requirements. So places that require me to quarantine, unless I'm going into like a specific resort bubble, or out for me, like I just don't have the time. So if I have to wait for a certain period that I just can't, I can't swing that it doesn't make any sense. So any places that require you to quarantine and it can be, you know, you might have to quarantine up to 14 days, and then get a PCR test that could take up to three days, depending on where you are. That could be you're out of commission for 17 days. For me, like that just isn't gonna work out, the math can't work. I also don't want to go spend a ton of time hunting down tests if I can avoid it, right. So if like there's a test in the airport or close to my hotel, and fine, I'd probably think about it, but to already be compressed on the time that I have, then have to spend a chunk of that going to track down a test and things like that. I mean, I don't even like wasting time going to the ATM when I'm traveling, let alone going to track down this test and you know, being subject to whatever cost it is because you're going to need that test to get back in to the country. So your whatever that cost is you're going to pay it. So I don't really like to be kind of restricted from that perspective. If again, I can avoid it. So for me, I mean, I'm really what does that mean? I'm looking, I'm looking at places that will accept proof of vaccination. Pre flight, PCR test results. Look, I'm okay with getting a test here. I think that's fine and absolutely fair and responsible from that perspective as well as places that You know, I feel like their numbers aren't going up and you know, fall within my six to 10 ish hour. So kind of tentatively looking right now at like Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Jamaica. But in all actuality, I'll probably just do like Hawaii or Cancun for a while. splore, a little bit more California, I don't think there's going to be any big international trips, definitely not before the summer, you know, as you count Mexico kind of thing like that. And then kind of play it by ear from from that I might book a couple trips using points. And now, because I think there's a lot of good deals for the fall, and kind of play it by ear and know that I can cancel at any point. So it's kind of the way I'm thinking about it right now. Now, the other thing that's going to be important is going to insert to change to is this concept of the vaccine passport. So so you get your you get your vaccine, we talked about the three that are that are already been approved in the US. And so after you get that for shot, you get your COVID vaccination report card, right, or your record card, and it's just a rectangular piece of paper. It's about as wide as your cell phone not quite as long. And, you know, the concept of this vaccine passport is such a hot topic for debate right now is companies are trying to create a network of digital vaccine records to make, you know, traveling easier. But there's a lot of controversy between, you know, who should access that data. There's a lot of restrictions. And anytime you're trying to organize, you know, some data across multiple countries, there's a lot of challenges that prevent itself. So for now, you know, the only thing you really have is that card. So we should talk about what you should do with that card once you get it. So for me, one of the first things we did was, once we got the second one, I got the Pfizer and so you get the first one, put it in a safe spot, bring it back to get your second one. And for j&j, you won't have to do this right. But if you have Pfizer material have to. And then what we did is we just photocopied both sides of it, and then put them together and then laminated that, and then kept the original. And the reason for that to why that's so important is, you know, this is, this is your only thing for a while that proves you have vaccinations already talked about how I really only want to go to countries that will accept the vaccination report, to avoid some of the testing requirements, and especially not that I'm super worried about that, but I'm much more about like the quarantining so half the time for it. So that was one big reason, make sure that this is laminators protected, I have a backup at home, the original is gonna be a backup at home, keep that safe, keep it right next to my passport, so I'll carry it with me there. The other thing though, is why keep the original protected is not laminated, but just put somewhere else's. We don't know how long the vaccines gonna work and protect us. And so we might need a booster, just common and some of these vaccines, right, so we don't know how long it's gonna last. And if you want a booster, I don't know if they're gonna have a stamp or a sticker, or whatever it is. But I still want to be able to put that proof of that booster on the original card, and then it can just laminate a copy of that, again, kind of move forward. So that's kinda what I'm doing. Now, obviously, this is something that you should protect, there are going to be ways to potentially get backups and things like that. And I'll link some information below or in the show notes. Like how you can get a copy if you lose it. But you know, you should probably try to avoid losing it, this is going to be your thing that makes it a lot easier forward until we can figure out some sort of digital digital passport. All right. Oh, and you know, the thing is, so you can just bring this to staples and eliminate it for you for free. One of the things I think it's so funny as all the companies that are giving you incentives to get your vaccine, and one of them is my favorite one is Krispy Kreme, that will offer you one doughnut a day for the rest of the year if you show your vaccine card, and I'm just sitting there laughing because no one can eat just one Krispy Kreme donut. It's such a good marketing play, because you're gonna go there and you're gonna order a dozen and they'll charge you for and you can do that any day of the week. So I think Krispy Kreme is pretty smart there. But, you know, shout out to staples for you know, laminating each of these and again, you want to protect this as best you can. Alright, so a couple of final thoughts here. One is I think we're going to start to see more of a return to normal We'll travel shortly or, you know, it already kind of feels pretty normal. Other than the mascot here, the other thing is, you take that mask off, so I realize I eat and drink a lot on flights. So, you know, I feel like my mask was off at least a quarter of the flight, just drinking water, you know, the full hydroflask. And right now they're the they're offering you like these little snack packs that have chips and water napkins, you know, sanitizing things, you know, just some little snacks there and everyone kind of gets the same one there. I am very much looking forward to the return of cocktails in the air, there's something about having a, you know, a core something 3000 feet and above. So, you know, the wines and the beers that they offer you in cans. So it really hit it for me. So I'm looking forward to that, I think that'll be a fun little perk, once things come back. Bite, you're gonna get more crowded, right? So I took a fly in December to go home for the holidays. And there were several rows that were open and you can kind of spread out which was, which was fun. But I think we're gonna see more of the shoulder shoulder like we've had in the past. And I you know, I mentioned Delta's already saying if they're gonna re open up those middle seats come may 1, so more of that. The other thing is, we're also seeing prices already starting to rise. So if you can, I'd recommend booking flights now, and booking them flexibly. And as far as you know, as you as you want. You know, think September, October, usually a time I like to travel because, you know, there's not a lot of major holidays and kids are in school and things are generally cheaper. So it's quieter, I usually take advantage of that. So I might book a couple flights like that. Probably just using points because they're really easy to refund and I want to tie up a lot of money for that long especially. And, you know, points don't age well. So if to burn a lot on a good deal on lock that in now probably, you know, makes a lot of sense. For me, though. That's kind of what we're all focused on. And yeah, you know, I'm excited to see what travel looks like and things. I mean, it's crazy this time last year, we were like this could take years to get to where we are now. And suddenly, it's here and it kind of feels like it's snuck up on us. And, you know, with return to travel and work and things like that as early as in a couple of months, so we'll see. And we'll try to keep you guys updated from that. So that's a wrap it up here. You know traveler stuff is going to be our show for this week. I really hope you enjoy this week's episode. And you know, if you like these type of solo episodes, reach out, let me know and I can do more of these in the future and give you my perspective. You want to reach out you can DM me on Instagram at travel with guy or just shoot me an email guy at travel with guy calm. Like I said, I'll link all the articles that I used to kind of get this materialand content. There's a few from CNN, a few from New York Times and obviously the CDC is the main source there so I'll link everything directly there. And also, you know, if you want to sign up for the newsletter and get emails and get updates like this directly to your inbox, you can sign up for the newsletter and then that link will be in the show notes below or you can check my link out Instagram. If you want to find a transcript of this episode. You can find that on our website to travel with guide comm along with other beginner guides and resources to help you travel and see the world on your terms. Thanks so much to everyone's already subscribed to the show that really helps us grow in it only takes a second if you haven't already. Make sure you never miss an episode by clicking that SUBSCRIBE button down. Okay travelers I'm gonna get out of here. Until next time, Peace!