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.
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. (And see below for our Trending Destinations).
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.
Trending Destination: Northeastern United States
Check back here as we update our Trending Destinations, where we highlight a place with extraordinary hotels that offer great rates long in advance and flexible cancellation policies. Be sure to contact our Travel Specialists and check official resources for information about any current restrictions.
From Rhode Island to Martha’s Vineyard to the Catskills, the Northeast United States is chockfull of storied summer escapes for those looking to get out of the big cities when the temperature climbs. Below are three of our favorite hotels in places across the region, but be sure to contact our Travel Specialists for more personalized recommendations.
Martha’s Vineyard, MA: Hob Knob
Martha’s Vineyard is the kind of destination that can feel a bit closed off to outsiders. It’s a place that’s perhaps better known for vacation homes and vacation estates than it is for hotels. But there are some gems to be found, among them Hob Knob, a charming 19th-century house in Edgartown that’s been converted into a small and intimate 17-room boutique-style hotel.
Newport, RI: The Attwater
In Newport, where “summer” is a verb, where tennis is still played on grass, and where the very smell in the air is a sort of privileged New England potpourri of ocean breezes, butter-poached seafood and warm-from-the-dryer white laundry, something as down-to-earth as a tasteful little b&b like the Attwater can seem rather revolutionary. For one, they’ve got a penchant for colorful contemporary furnishings — and a quick look at the photos should make it clear that we don’t mean that in some snarky, euphemistic way. In fact the interior design could easily work in any number of the United States’ more design-conscious cities.
Catskill Mountains, NY: Hutton Brickyards
As New Yorkers rediscover the charms of local travel, places like the Hudson Valley are not just booming, but blooming, with stunning destinations sprouting from the unlikeliest sources. Hutton Brickyards, in Kingston, 90 miles up the river from Manhattan, is one of these: a decommissioned industrial site finding new life as a stylish and luxurious retreat, a combination of a modern boutique hotel and a multi-purpose event venue.
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.