Summer of 2020 has been filled with apprehension, uncertainty, closures, restrictions, protest, violence, fires, hurricanes, and record-breaking heatwaves. And this year thus far has many of us hurting for a vacation. But is it safe to travel this fall? Uncertainly looms around this question as it has haunted this whole year. In 2019, the new year of 2020 was full of success and promise, however, it was like none of us had anticipated. This makes us all increasingly eager to welcome in a new season for change and progress in a productive, sustainable direction. The first day of fall in California was September 1st and the pandemic is reported on the rise again, in more than half the states.
Will it be safe to travel in the fall domestically?
While precautionary procedures and policies will remain in place, the recommended options for fall travel are not far off from those of summer travel. Domestic destinations and outdoor recreational activities on the outskirts of the city offer some of the best options. Micro-vacations such as weekend getaways, camping trips, and relaxing escapes with (if there's no avoiding it) short flight durations seem to be the most common reprieve.
Will it be safe to travel in the fall to big cities?
The question of safety, comfort, and enjoyment of travel to large cities in the fall is more nuanced. COVID positive cases are trending down in many cities, and increasing in others. However, in top destinations such as New York City, desirable attractions and activities are likely to remain off-limits. Whereas experiences such as watching a Broadway show, attending musical concerts, taking in the majesty of the ballet, and experiencing an intimate theatre performance remain closed.
Travelers interested in experiencing cities in a quieter and more off the beaten path manner on the other hand, may find this time of year welcoming. Generally, you will find fewer crowds and less congestion in large cities than you normally would have. Although, the risk of viral transmission in crowded areas remains higher than in remote destinations. Travel to densely populated locations, particularly in travel hubs, is not recommended.
Will it be safe to travel in the fall internationally?
Although many international destinations remain closed to US tourists, others are starting to reopen their borders. The Caribbean islands are actively looking for ways to open safely and lift travel bans. Approximately one dozen islands are currently allowing US tourists, albeit with limitations and entry requirements.
The Costa Rica Tourism Board, on the other hand, has announced a staged reopening and will begin allowing US tourists from six states (New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Connecticut) starting on September 1, 2020. The plan is to continue lifting travel bansin Costa Rica as the case loads drop in other US states.
Mexico has reopened for tourists and lifted travel bans for those arriving by air and sea and has been one of the most popular destinations for American’s wishing to take an international trip, escape to beautiful beaches, and enjoy warm weather. Unlike Costa Rica and Caribbean destinations, no testing is required, but incoming visitors will be required to undergo health screenings and temperature checks at the airport, according to CNN.
The Good News
The drops in temperature that this new season ought to bring (goodbye 100º+ weather!) and the changing colors of the leaves make for gorgeous outdoor getaways. Family road trips, luxurious glamping experiences, beautiful hikes that immerse you in nature, can all be done safely. You can feel a little more assured that you can travel without putting yourself and others at risk by following CDC recommendations. Hotels and lodges have been given guidelines to safely remain open for travelers, however, it is still important to do your due diligence in researching just how strictly these policies are enforced and even what products are being used.
The world is still full of wonderment, and adventure with new places for to be discovered and enjoyed close-to-home and domestically.Please respect yourself and others by wearing a mask, practicing CDC COVID-19 guidelines for travel, and knowing when travel should be delayed.
Learn more about staying safe if you must travel, here