The vaccine is here and it has given the traveler great hope that they will soon hitting the road on the way to an exciting destination. The Professor has been handling an unprecedented number of travel queries daily about his small group tours.
Although being vaccinated for the Corona virus is a big step in getting everyone to travel, there is much more to it than that.
It seems that Europe, Canada, and South America have been locked down much more tightly than the United States. Hotels and restaurants have been closed for months. There is no question that many of them will not re-open. For those that have not closed, at the very least they have reduced staff either temporarily or permanently. We know of transportation companies that have either sold off many of their vehicles or have let leases expire. Museums and attractions have closed and they have either reduced staff either permanently or at least temporarily.
Hotels, restaurants, travel suppliers, guides, museums and attractions cannot simply "flip the switch" and re-open when the green light is given to travel again. Staff needs to be hired and trained. Equipment needs to be purchased. Supplies must be re-stocked. Trains, ferries, planes will need to be put back in service after careful cleaning and maintenance. Those in the travel business will probably need time to get up to speed with new rules on how to do business safely in the post-Corona virus era.
All of this cannot happen overnight. Well, when can it happen? That is a good question.
Everything will hinge on how fast people can get vaccinated. Ask yourself this question: when do you think you will be vaccinated? January? February? March, April or June? Let's take an optimistic approach and say everyone will be vaccinated by April (I'm already looking forward to 6 months from now to see how my prediction worked out). The questions remain:
- Will everyone in the destination you are going to be vaccinated too?
- How long after enough people have been vaccinated will travel be green-lighted?
- How long after enough people have been vaccinated will restaurants, hotels, and other travel suppliers be able hire/train staff, get equipment and supplies to re-open? Mind you, these companies are not going to do so until they are absolutely sure they won't have to lockdown again.
- What travel restrictions will still be in effect after everyone has been vaccinated? Will there still be lockdowns or quarantines.
- Will special restrictions be imposed such as "vaccine passports"?
The Traveling Professor is a small group tour operator. As a business and a responsibility to our travel clients we have considerations too before we travel. It is common practice for us to make reservations for certain travel services like hotels, transportation, guides, etc., and to send a monetary deposit to confirm those plans. Likewise, the travel client sends us a deposit as their commitment to travel. Those financial commitments must be made months before travel. We want to be very careful that we protect the financial commitment of all those involved, therefore as a small group tour operator we want to be very, very sure we can meet our commitments. Therefore, we would need to know months in advance it is safe to travel. With all the uncertainty surrounding the vaccination roll-out, it is difficult to say when we can travel again.
But don't worry! One day again we will be on the road again. It might be sooner, it might be later. Optimistically, we are looking at June or July and we pray every day that will happen