With vaccines rolling out around the world, travelers are hoping to become travelers again, and they’re planning trips further ahead than ever before. But after a year of uncertainty and constant changes to the rules, many don’t know where to begin.
This is a simple guide to help answer a complicated question: “I think I want to travel. Where do I start?”
Where can I go?
Our advice: be flexible. It’s not an easy process to discover where you can travel, but the tools we’ve found most useful are more than just static maps, they’re interactive and customizable. Some even allow you to set your location of origin and desired destination — and to see in return a list of the restrictions, mandates, and testing requirements currently in place. While you should always check official government websites for the most accurate information — and we encourage you to get in touch with our Travel Specialists at any time for assistance — the following resources provide a great starting place to get an idea of your options.
- To investigate a particular location: Try this interactive map by United Airlines.
Open the page and you’ll see a color-coded map of the world denoting countries that are open, open with restrictions, and completely restricted to travelers. Then, use the drop-down tool below the international map and set your prospective destination for a summary of relevant restrictions (as well as links to official resources). In general, this tool is particularly handy if you have a destination in mind and, as you might expect, it’s especially useful for travelers within the United States. Switch to the “domestic” tab to click through a map detailing travel restrictions and local regulations in specific U.S. states.
- For European travel: Try this page from the European Commission.
This official resource is a particularly helpful guide to intra-European travel. It allows you to select each European country and click through four icons corresponding to the current health situation, coronavirus measures, travel restrictions, and other supplemental information. You’ll get an idea of what’s currently open in each country too, especially when it comes to non-essential public spaces like shops and restaurants.
- For a broad overview: Try this map from the International Air Transport Association.
The IATA is the trade association of over 290 airlines, and their map provides an easy, color coded guide to which countries around the world are “totally restrictive,” “partially restrictive,” and “not restrictive” to travelers. Click each place for a broad overview of current restrictions and regulations.
Because rules and quarantine requirements are constantly changing — and entry requirements do not necessarily equate to open attractions — we’ll stress again and again that you should check official government websites to verify current restrictions. However, if you contact our Travel Specialists, they’ll not only help you navigate and verify those restrictions, they’ll help you find a travel backup plan if you need it. Keep in mind too that the requirements for your return trip might might be stricter than those for your arrival, and hotels may have additional restrictions in place.
What else should I know?
Once you’ve decided where to go and understand the requirements for entry, keep in mind that there are additional variables to consider before your trip. Certain countries, for instance, consider “fully vaccinated” to mean two shots of a double-dose vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca), or one shot of a single-dose vaccine (Johnson&Johnson). Other countries require a person who previously recovered from a COVID-19 infection to get only one shot to be considered fully vaccinated.
Interactive maps like the ones in the “Where can I go?” section provide a great starting point to learn about local vaccine, mask, dining, and event restrictions. Always double check any specifics on your location’s official government website.
While travelers are booking trips with less advance notice, we’ve seen something of a paradox — reservations at restaurants and other limited-capacity activities are filling up even earlier than usual. It’s a balance to keep in mind as you’re considering or planning a trip.
Know too that mandates for hotels may be different — stricter or looser — than local regulations. In some cases, hotel restaurants remain open when public restaurants close, or operate under different vaccination rules. As local regulations and hotel policies for not just restaurants but spas, public spaces, and even parking remain in flux, oftentimes the hotel website or Tablet hotel page cannot adjust in real time.
We encourage you to always check in with our Travel Specialists, who can help you understand in advance what is currently open at your location and the policies of a particular hotel.
Important Traveler News (Updated 12/16/21)
- As of December 2021, all travelers age 2 or over entering the United States must provide a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 1 day before their flight’s departure. Non-U.S. citizens must additionally provide proof of full vaccination. Find more complete information at the CDC website or, for a summary, Delta.com.
How do I find a great getaway nearby?
Domestic is still a more reliable option for many than international travel. Set our Take Me Away Machine to “driving distance” for ideas on nearby getaways.
What should I look for in a hotel?
When you’re ready to book, look for hotels with “refundable rates” — widely available across every region, they’re noted with a “free cancellation” notice under the price, along with the date before which you can cancel without penalty.
THE TABLET RECOVERY PLEDGE
Look for the cleanliness icon on each hotel page. When you see it, you know that this hotel has pledged to train staff on the implementation of safety and sanitary measures, provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to staff and guests, and enforce government-recommended actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. And from the icon, you can see each specific step the hotel has pledged to implement. Read more about the Tablet Recovery Pledge, here.
Many hotels are offering room service, in-room dining, or dining elsewhere on their property in lieu of a restaurant, or to help guests avoid heading into town. Ask our Travel Specialists for details about any hotel’s current dining options.
Because some countries require negative COVID tests to reenter, hotels have begun to partner with health clinics to book COVID tests on guests’ behalf. Ask our Travel Specialists about hotels with this offer.
Our Travel Specialists can help
After a long interruption, we’re finally starting to see an increased appetite for travel. Tablet clients are eager for adventure and, thanks to the vaccine rollout, hopeful they can get back out there again this summer. They’re even discovering some silver linings to the pandemic when it comes to booking a hotel: historically low rates and exceedingly flexible cancellation policies.
Our Travel Specialists can help you with all of that. In fact, if you remember one thing after you close this page, we hope it’s this — that our Travel Specialists are here to help with whatever you need. In addition to providing tailor-made hotel recommendations, our experts have been asked about everything from the social distancing rules in Miami, to which hotels facilitate quarantining in Egypt, to what’s the most popular destination for 2021 (answer: the Greek islands). Get in touch by email, telephone, or the chat icon at the bottom of this page.
For more guides, stories, and information about travel during the pandemic, click here to see our entire Road to Recovery series. Or scroll to the bottom of this page for a sample of some of our most recent releases.
And of course, we encourage you to reach out to our Travel Specialists anytime.