Is All Travel Fair Game If You’re Fully Vaccinated?

Filed Under: Travel

All American adults have had access to coronavirus vaccines for a couple of weeks now. A lot of people were waiting for the vaccine before they felt comfortable traveling again, so hopefully anyone who is eligible is choosing to get vaccinated.

Everyone in my family (including me) is now fully vaccinated, and I’m eternally grateful to scientists for making that possible. To be honest, I was over-the-moon when my parents got vaccinated back in January (to the point that I was in tears), while I found my vaccine experience to be rather anti-climactic, which is probably a good thing, since this whole thing has been emotional enough.

In this post I wanted to share how the vaccine is changing my approach to travel, and then I’d love to hear how other vaccinated people are feeling about things.

My perspective on the vaccine

First of all, I think it helps to be on the same page about why being vaccinated matters in this context. I’m certainly no doctor or scientist, though here’s my simple perspective on the vaccine:

  • The vaccine protects me nearly 100% from coronavirus-related hospitalization, so for all practical purposes I’m protected
  • Much more importantly (since I’m not in a particularly high risk category), the vaccine reduces my chances of spreading coronavirus to others by well over 90%
  • Are there small risks to getting vaccinated and the potential of rare side effects? Absolutely, as there are with literally everything we do in life
  • We’re likely soon going to reach the point in the USA where we run out of people to vaccinate, so in terms of public messaging I think it’s important that we emphasize how getting vaccinated allows a return to normal; it’s time to dangle some carrots, because we’re going to have much bigger issues if a third of the population chooses not to get vaccinated

My philosophy on traveling when vaccinated

Now that I’m fully vaccinated, does it change where and how I’m willing to travel? Yes and no. As OMAAT readers will know, I’ve been living in hotels full time for several months (for reasons I explained in a separate post).

While the topic of traveling during coronavirus has been polarizing, I’ve believed for a long time that there are responsible ways to travel, and conversely, there are lots of irresponsible things you can do without traveling.

Now that my whole family is fully vaccinated, here’s how my approach to travel is changing:

  • I finally have the ability to spend quality time traveling with my parents while feeling at ease; similarly, I can feel at ease traveling without my parents and then seeing them shortly thereafter
  • I’m less risk averse in terms of destinations than I was pre-vaccination; I still wouldn’t want to travel places where healthcare systems are overwhelmed, or where locals don’t want visitors, as I do think it’s important to respect local customs and recognize that not all countries have made the same progress
  • At this point my much bigger concern with travel is the logistics, rather than actual safety — what are the odds a destination will actually be “open,” and how logistically complicated is it to get somewhere?

Greece is open to Americans, but also in lockdown, so…

How my travel activities change when vaccinated

This will probably be what changes most now that I’m fully vaccinated, but I’m not sure it’ll be that drastic. Above I mentioned how I thought it was possible to travel responsibly. For me that comes down to wearing face masks when in public, good hygiene, not socializing, dining outdoors, etc.

Now that I’m vaccinated, I don’t feel like I need to be quite as strict in that regard. However, I do think my mentality has changed a bit, so I’m not sure I’ll be living as if it’s 2019.

Personally:

  • I’m still gladly going to comply with local ordinances and business rules regarding mask wearing (and no, I won’t be wearing a chins trap) and other coronavirus related safety policies
  • However, I’m not going to be as proactively over-the-top was I sometimes previously was with precautions (for example, in the past I’d walk with a mask even if I was in a quiet area, I’d keep my mask on during an outdoor meal except when eating, etc.)
  • I’m open to dining indoors, though I’m not sure I have much desire to, as I even preferred dining outdoors pre-coronavirus
  • I’m an introvert, so I’m kind of going to miss having the coronavirus excuse for not socializing 😉
  • I still simply can’t bring myself to go to any sort of a crowded indoor space like a nightclub; then again, that probably has more to do more with me being introverted and having an early bedtime, rather than coronavirus as such

While I’d feel comfortable dining indoors, I don’t have much desire to do so

Will travel shaming finally stop?

Here’s a general question that I’ve been thinking about lately, not because it personally impacts me that much, but rather because this seems to be something that both individuals and the travel industry overall are struggling with.

Suffice to say that there has been a lot of travel shaming since the start of the pandemic:

  • On the one hand, that has probably worked in some cases to get people to change their behavior, or at least not to promote irresponsible behavior
  • On the other hand, I think it has largely become toxic, and if anything it has just driven people to go “underground”

I’ve spoken to some travel industry executives in recent months, and almost without exception the general topic of “travel shaming” has come up. For example, what’s the right balance for travel brands to strike when promoting their product during a pandemic, and especially towards the later part of a pandemic, at least in the USA?

I’m genuinely curious to hear how OMAAT readers feel about this. Does being shamed for travel stop when you’re vaccinated? Are you sharing on social media about traveling and/or hanging out with friends when you wouldn’t have several months ago? Do you add a caveat every time about how you’re vaccinated?

I’d be curious to hear how people feel about this.

Is the end of travel shaming near?

Bottom line

With vaccines now available to all American adults, hopefully most of you have at least gotten your first jab, if you’re not fully vaccinated yet. This is incredibly exciting, and I’m sure I’m not alone in being grateful to science for how quickly this has all happened.

I’ve seen differing takes on how people are approaching travel when fully vaccinated, and I’d love to hear from OMAAT readers about this.

If you’re fully vaccinated, are there any limits to where you’d travel? Are you approaching your activities the same as you did pre-coronavirus, or are “habits” of the past 14 months hard to shake? And are we nearing the end of travel shaming?

Comments
  1. People should refrain from travel to places where hospitals are overwhelmed, including but not limited to India, Brazil, and Nepal.

    I believe at this time, long-haul international travel to far-flung destinations is simply irresponsible and putting the lives of others at risk.
    DOMESTIC TRAVEL will remain the safest option until the rest of the year.

    Safest destinations for travel this year include Domestic, England, Israel, Iceland, Aruba, and the Bahamas

  2. Even if I am allowed to travel to a place, I would consider the opinion of the local population as well. I am planning on visiting Iceland since I am fully vaccinated, but I’ve read that the locals aren’t exactly very welcoming to tourists at the moment and want tighter border measures (which I honestly don’t blame them for).

    Less travel shame for me, more about the local opinion and whether they want tourists to be there or not.

  3. I am hoping to travel to Europe for Xmas market if they are open to foreigners this year.

  4. Six weeks after anyone can talk into a drugstore with no appointment, I’m going to cease caring for others. If you don’t want the vaccine, your choice. However, I’m not going to modify my behavior because someone won’t take 2 seconds to get jabbed.

  5. I think yes, but until mid- to late next year, I’d steer clear from destinations where cases are still high (Brazil, India, South Africa).

    I might keep my summer itinerary short to Scotland. Will probably take the train since I miss it so much.

  6. Everyone will have their own opinion of what they are comfortable with. I just spent 2 weeks in Tanzania and it was a great experience. All staff at the lodges followed strict protocols with mask wearing, hand washing, etc. It actually felt very safe and they were excited to have guests contributing to the local economy. Almost everything was outside and socially distant. Same thing with the flights, Qatar had great protocols followed by the crew. I am vaccinated and tested negative before returning to the US. No one tried to travel shame me but if they did I would just ignore them at this point.

  7. @Ben — your post is quite irresponsible and very anti-science. The vaccine offers us a strong lever to slow the spread, but isn’t a silver bullet. Public messaging needs to make this very clear, and you need to do your part and stay at home!

    I’m shocked that you would behave so recklessly.

  8. From my POV from someone in the UK who is unlikely to be offered their first does until June and second until September, I think the most important thing is respecting local views. I’m quite happy with how things are going now, but I can’t tell you how quickly I personally would snap if tourists start coming in, not following mask rules, rule of 6 etc. It’s so important if travelling to remember just because YOU have had the privilege of being offered a vaccine many locals won’t have, and it’s so important to be respectful of that at all times, as when abroad you are a guest in that country.

  9. Hi Lucky,

    Any chance you could do a post about your broad experience traveling and living in a hotel with a dog? I know you’ve spoken about this in the past but a follow up during the pandemic would be very helpful!

  10. @ Henry — Give the post another read. 😉

    “Here’s a general question that I’ve been thinking about lately, not because it personally impacts me that much, but rather because this seems to be something that both individuals and the travel industry overall are struggling with.”

  11. My view – get good information from reputable scientific sources (i.e., credentialed experts within the mainstream scientific consensus, not rando truthers/contrarians and ex-UFC podcast hosts), and then:

    1) ignore the anti-vaxxers/anti-maskers/assorted other worthless conspiracy theorists.
    2) ignore the overzealous scolds clinging to restrictions that the science shows are no longer necessary once vaccinated.
    3) go on about your life responsibly – which sounds like exactly what Lucky is planning to do.

  12. Now that I am fully vaccinated I am finally open again to air travel and vacationing responsibly; however I am particularly mindful of what the COVID numbers and trends are in any destination I am considering. For instance, although Greece is officially open to US tourists, the country is experiencing a surge in COVID cases with some lockdowns and restrictions in place. Furthermore, Greece attracts visitors from all over the globe, who may bring with them the COVID variants and risks common to their home country, and who often enjoy entertainment, clubs and beach experiences in close proximity to one another while in Greece. Bottom line, although Greece in summer is one of my favorite holidays, I’m not eager to travel there until the circumstances there improve.
    On the other hand, I am more comfortable traveling to most, but not all destinations in the US.

  13. @ Sir Walter Raleigh — I’d love to hear your take on why you think it’s anti-science? As far as the rest of your comment goes, we’ll have to agree to disagree. I respect your take, and I recognize that many people hold that viewpoint. In an ideal world I suppose everyone would just stay home to stop the spread for several more years, but I also think that’s doing more harm than good, especially for those who are vaccinated.

    As far as I’m concerned, at this point the best thing we can do is get vaccinated, and encourage others to get vaccinated. For those people on the fence, telling them just to stay home even after getting vaccinated will do more harm than good, in my opinion.

    And I’d also ask you, concretely, at what point would you no longer recommend staying home? Coronavirus isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and it’s likely that a not insignificant portion of the population will choose not to get vaccinated. I’d get your point if 90%+ of people were onboard with getting vaccinated and we’re just waiting for everyone to get their turn, but that’s not where we’re at.

  14. I am weighing up travel too. A number of countries are hurting badly from a lack of visitor dollars. One thing I (and my team if traveling for work) can do is spend in country, and specifically at small businesses where available. Equally, we only want to travel where the risks are low to us and to the local population.

  15. I miss traveling. I wish Australia would open up and would speed up the vaccination roll out. Due to pre existing health condition I have had 1 jab and am booked for the second.

    I have traveled quite a bit around Australia. I have to tell you, I REALLY Miss social distancing which is a thing of the past. Indoor dining does not bother me and has it been doing it for over six months. As for reavel, I will not go to a place where the type of travel I want to enjoy involves wearing masks etc. We are lucky that travel within Australia is largely back to normal (although shutting interstate borders is annoying). Two weeks ago I went swimming with whale sharks in Exmouth WA, the week before was in South Western Australia. I spent last week at the park Hyatt in Sydney and went to see Hamilton with a full audience. Aside from staff wearing masks at the Park Hyatt in Sydney, wouldn’t know there was a pandemic. The buffet at the Park Hyatt is back and it is packed on weekends. Masks on planes and in airports are still mandatory and I can tolerate that. Next month I am going to spend a week at the Park Hyatt Auckland and do some travel around New Zealand. Again I expect travel to be back to normal. I know Australia has locked its borders, but travel within the country is ridiculously busy within is ridiculously busy at the moment. I just booked to go to lord Howe Island. I took the first available spot – which is April next year! I am
    Going to Darwin in August (Bamurru Plains) and literally could not get accomodation unless I stayed at a YHA.
    Enjoy being able to travel internationally I am jealous.I am also VERY GRATEFUL that we have had a very much normal life for many many months now.

  16. @sir Walter Raleigh: LOL at the people still travel shaming. Get over yourself. Millions of people depend on the travel industry for jobs. People have been and can travel safely. Anyone promoting staying home at this point is not listening to science.

  17. @Lucky

    Why are you censoring my posts? Are links to studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the British Medical Journal considered too fringe for you? Is questioning the safety and long term repercussions of mRNA vaccines versus live attenuated ones beyond the pale? Is attributing a large portion of COVID-19 deaths to obesity a conspiracy theory? “Follow the science” unless the actual science might contradict your progressive priors, amirite?

  18. Time is up, if people were at higher risk i hope they used this time to get more healthy and look internally about getting into shape instead of blaming others. But im sure that is exactly the opposite of what most people did. Its time to open back up and get moving!

  19. @ All — Before you attack, note that Rio’s case rate is about the same as the US rate was just three weeks ago. Heck, even India’s reported rate today is just 40% of the US peak rate, although I don’t doubt that India’s rate is severely under-reported.

  20. And as for traveling, I never let the pandemic stop me if I could help it. I am not about to let vaccination or non-vaccination stop me now. I’ll be flying to London soon and I have to pay for their ridiculous three tests. Anyone who is afraid of getting sick can stay at home and avoid indoor congregate settings. Anyone who isn’t vaccinated but wants to be shouldn’t be shaming those who are vaccinated and/or unafraid of going out in public for living their lives. That other person can only get you sick if you are spending an extended period of time breathing in his infectious air, and that is only possible if you choose to be out in public, too, so who is to blame?

  21. I’ll add my 2 cents worth since I just got home from first trip in 13 1/2 months. We were vaccinated early cause we knew how to get an appointment, but waited to travel. First up was trip to Denver to meet 3 family members for the first time. First time on United domestically for years and different protocols for boarding and TSA on each end which is disconcerting. Real good mask compliance at the hotels and restaurants, too. Best was gathering with vaccinated friends for a dinner at a couple’s home with out masks! 🙂 Best part of traveling was meeting the new grand nieces and nephew <3

    We’ll head to Iowa in June to see a new family member- another grand niece.

    Last October I booked a Round the World trip JFK-HKG-LHR-IAD in first with 2 Cathay Pacific segments. I planned to just transit Hong Kong enjoying the Wing cabana, but spend a few days in London. However I’m nervous that London’s lockdown might not be lifted, so Today I switched to just Transiting LHR and the Concorde lounge.

  22. To me travel shaming related to COVID is not a topic anymore. I do hope however that people will stop flying so much and do something for the environment. A topic conveniently forgotten by many frequent travellers. Look at what you emit then compare it to the per capita target of the Paris accord. You will be horrified . A long haul flight will destroy your entire year limit.

  23. @Sir Walter Raleigh:

    I am not sure how you can consider this post irresponsible or anti – science. As the wonderful Governor of Florida said today, if you are mask shaming, then you obviously don’t believe in the science that the vaccines are safe.

    It’s this type of mentality that provides fuel for the anti vax argument that this is all made up to keep government in control and people under the control of government. It’s not helpful.

    On this I have to agree with Ben 100%; you travel if you choose and travel responsibly and safely as you can. Same thing after 9/11; there are no guarantees in life, but if you are locking yourself in your house, you’re not living. I could easily be killed by a crazy driver in Northern Virginia driving to the grocery store.

    God Save the Queen!

  24. If anyone read my post and wonder about timing for the RTW trip I booked in October, it’s for this July – Birthday month! 😉

  25. I think travel is reasonable for vaccinated people who are travelling to places where covid is not running rampant. It takes a special kind of jerk to holiday during a pandemic in a country where the hospital system is close to buckling.

    If vaccinated people are going to take appropriate precautions (masks indoors, social distancing etc) then domestic travel is fine. International travel for vaccinated people is fine as well with caveats such as 1. the destination is not going through a major covid surge, 2. precautions are being taken, 3. the hospital system is not under strain and 4. that the country is vaccinating their citizens. For unvaccinated people I think they should certainly should not be putting people at risk with their international travel.

    I also don’t think being vaccinated is the end all be all. You can still catch covid like 10% of the time. Maybe much more frequently depending on the variant. Even with minor infections you could still end up being a covid long hauler and maybe even develop conditions that significantly shorten your life span (there is much we don’t know about this virus, but there are reasons to be concerned about this). God forbid someone test positive in a foreign country and have to undergo a quarantine there or even worse end up in some foreign hospital. Some health insurance companies may not cover people who visit level 4 countries. Smartest move seems to be to stick with domestic travel unless going to a country where the virus numbers are way down, you are vaccinated and where the country takes the virus seriously.

  26. The Big Elephant in the room is, if vaccinated people can carry and spread Covid while immune themselves. The biggest study to date 60,000 people in the UK for the Oxford vaccine and indicates this is unlikely. Many more people, many more vaccines to be studied yet. Getting a little ahead of ourselves!

  27. “Travel shaming” is quite an American thing (at least in it’s intensity and how much it’s a heated topic).
    US has become this totally crazy place where one can’t say, do or think anything without triggering others who then go online and spew hate. Not sustainable in the long run.

  28. Unfortunately the US is still requiring negative covid tests even if fully vaccinated. There is a definite risk of testing positive and being stuck somewhere. Participants in the mRNA trials were not tested unless they had sypmtoms. So if you travel to a country with a high number of cases you could be asymptomatic, test positive, and be denied boarding.
    Or just fly to Mexico, no tests required, and anything goes at the US land border, no tests or checks whatsoever.

  29. The only shaming that should be happening moving forward is against those who refuse to vaccinate. I pretty much agree with Ben’s take and the posters who said it’s probably not a good idea to travel to areas where the hospitals are overwhelmed.

  30. @Gene – It is not about case rate. It is about hospitalization/death rates. India/Brazil/etc. do not have the capacity to handle the cases they are experiencing today. Brazil is 2-4 months behind us in vaccination. My rule of thumb right now is not to travel anywhere that has a vaccination rate that in the same range of the US. Our vaccination push, the bottomless checkbook, and the efficacy of the 2 shot vaccines that we have ample supply of just shows how incredibly fortunate and rich we are in the US.

  31. I plan to do most if not all my 2021 travel this summer and fall before flu season starts.
    What concerns me most nowadays is breakthrough cases data.

  32. @Omar

    There is a difference between being anti-vaxx and being hesitant about a completely new vaccine technology. The mRNA vaccines were rolled out faster than any other in history, partly due to the nature of the platform making it possible, but largely because of the safetyist mentality increasingly taking over the developed world. Just one life! Fortunately there are many other vaccines in development that use more traditional techniques that should become available soon. I am particularly interested in the live attenuated vaccine from Codagenix. Not only is it a nasal spray rather than an injection, it also requires just one dose and will likely have better efficacy against any future variants that arise than the mRNA vaccines.

  33. My issue is traveling internationally is still not going to be 100% convenient. As of now, we still need a negative COVID test to reenter the country even if we’re vaccinated, and not every country will have the infrastructure to do that. So while it is definitely better, I’m hoping that international travel will be just as open and easy too.

  34. Ben,the USA is doing quite well economically through covid. The nation has become savers rather than spenders. There is money in pockets thanks to government handouts .

    Property prices are rising, so is the share market. Unemployment levels are ok.

    Same here in Australia.

    If we look at figures for tourism, taking into account what people in USA spend overseas, compared to income earned from foreign tourists and foreign students, the USA (and Australia) are both profiting by the present situation. The amount people are spending on domestic tourism has risen really well.

    You might want to travel internationally. So be it. However, your government might like things the way they are.

    I noticed at our end, the government just slapped on an extra $50 security tax onto international departures. I guess to pay for the vaccine. Someone has to pay for it… Meanwhile on domestic airfares I can fly really cheaply. Really cheaply.

    I get my covid vaccination tomorrow as I had to wait a bit after getting the flu vaccination. Vaccination probably won’t change my travel habits. Pricing will though.

    I see USA also has cheap domestic airfares. People tend to think with their wallet. Expect to see more domestic visiting friends and relatives travel. That’s fun, easy and rewarding emotionally.

    Anyway, do your research. You might find it rewarding to tell the readers about wonderful places to visit in the USA.

  35. There’s a feel good factor surrounding those of us who are now fully vaccinated and I am just as guilty, I have been looking at travelling come the Autumn this year. Then comes buyers remorse after booking a trip and reading that a lot of the locals are not so happy about letting in foreign travellers even though the numbers locally and at home are very good. I think 2021 is another year I personally will have a staycation but will make up for it in 2022 when more of the globe gets vaccinated and we understand the dangers (if any) of the variants and if our vaccine antibodies will deal with them.

  36. Its going to be a personal decision for everyone, based on risk factors and vaccination status (of you & your travel companions), risk tolerance, etc.

    Personally, having been vaccinated for months now, I am ready to travel. I am going to Cabo next week, and hoping to go to Greece in early June. For those commenting on Greece’s surge–it peaked about a month ago and has been slowly decreasing. Restaurants opened for outdoor dining this week, and they plan to exit lockdown in a couple weeks. They are trying to go about travel semi-responsibly. The islands were among the first to be vaccinated, they are encouraging people working in tourism to be vaccinated, ferries are being kept at reduced capacity, etc. I am keeping plans flexible, and know cancellation is possible. But I think I would rather go before the cruise ships start running again in July & August.

  37. @Ben — I’m genuinely sorry for my harsh tone in my initial message. I see where you’re coming from, but here’s a more level headed explanation of where I’m coming from:

    Personally, I think we should try to hold off on international travel and travel to domestic hot spots until we know how these mutations are going to pan out. Yes, we’re safe from the virus for now, but the virus is mutating faster than ever before and we don’t know how effective vaccines are against a triple, 4x, or 5x mutated strain!

    We should do our part to avoid taking up resources in places where the focus should be vaccination rollouts and COVID defenses, as well as discouraging international travel where strains can mix and cause these mutations.

    By stay at home, I mean avoid international travel.

    @David — “God Save the Queen” — LOL! If you choose to live under an oppressive monarchy and are proud of that, I seriously doubt your judgements!

    No doubt you harbor some deep seeded racist beliefs as a colonial worshipper!

  38. I’m fully vaccinated, but I’ll be traveling only to countries that actually want travelers and have the pandemic under control. I don’t want to strain their medical system, nor do I want to force other countries into accepting travelers when their population clearly do not want people there.

    After all, the host countries are ultimately the ones that have to deal with fallout from travelers, so they obviously should have the only say as to whether or not travelers are welcome (and not individuals like George who think the US tourist dollar is the only thing that should matter to anyone in the world).

  39. The mRNA technology has been in development for years, so really enough with the strawman argument about fastest vaccine ever! The vaccines were built upon existing technology that had taken years and years to develop.

    @Lucky – how did you go about getting vaccinated while living out of hotels? Did you go back to FL for a short period of time?

  40. @cargocult

    I frankly don’t think that’s a good reason. There’s J&J if you don’t want mRNA right now. Having said that, I think mRNA has huge advantages including the highest efficacy and more importantly the boosters will be highly tailored to the new variants and can be made in a very short period of time.

    The pfizer vaccine is the most studied of all the vaccines and has been approved in the most countries so I didn’t hesitate to take it.

  41. That’s a tough one… we just took our first international trip a couple of weeks ago after being fully vaccinated, although I did a LOT of research prior to it. I booked first class tickets (and chose flights on AA 777’s when possible to maximize distancing), we went to a destination that we knew had good protocols in place (St Kitts) and to a small, remote, outdoorsy hotel (Park Hyatt SK).
    A lot of the staff had gotten a vaccine there already, so we felt comfortable with our decision and felt it was responsible, and I think it’s fine to travel that way. As others said, it’s a lot about the destination and make sure we are not going to make things more complicated for locals, should we get sick.

    Now if you’re going to Cancun and Miami to attend a giant, maskless parties, by all means, you should be 1000% shamed…

  42. For those of us who travel internationally for work, the calculus has always been different. No shame here on both the business and leisure end of the equation. Personally, for myself and all my extended family, Covid is over. We followed the rules, no vacations, no family gatherings, no social events, and we all got vaccinated at the first possibility. Countless Americans made monumental sacrifices for the greater good of our vulnerable fellow citizens and its now time for the public health officials and politicians to recognize that effort and allow the vaccinated to move freely for work or leisure.

  43. As someone who is fully vaccinated, I am happy that travel is becoming a little bit easier, and would encourage others to travel safely and considerably while observing local restrictions.
    I do, however, find it selfish to just say “I’m vaccinated so I’ll go wherever I like and wherever they’ll let me in because I can”. I also feel that we are not yet in a position to say confidently that because we are vaccinated there is nearly 100% protection from hospitalisation and a 90% chance of not spreading the virus.
    One of the biggest concerns in countries where the virus is still widely in the population is that the longer it’s spreading and the more people that have it, the higher the probability of mutants developing. No vaccine has been able to state confidently that they protect against all variants which immediately puts into question any of the probabilities of hospitalisation and/or spreading.

    Only last week, the US recorded 345,000 cases in a week! As of 3 May, 45% of the US population had one dose and only 32% had both. That is as bad as if not worse than most European countries, per 100k population. Being vaccinated alone does not open up the world.

    Vaccination is definitely our way out of the pandemic. Shutting ourselves at home is not the solution either. We do need to take measured steps to get the world running again. But we mustn’t be bullish about it. It’s a global effort. Common sense and sensibility! Let’s not ruin it as we slowly aim for the finish line!

  44. @The Original Donna.

    What an entitled point of view.

    It’s not matter of recognition. It’s a matter of safety. Indians did get their recognition, and since the beginning of the year they have been able to have a 500 people wedding as politicians said that this was “overdue”. Viruses don’t care about politicians, recognition or other such nonsense.

  45. I believed masks/outdoors/distancing (and HEPA filters) made travel, even international, safe pre-vaccine. Now I feel comfortable going anywhere except Brazil/India where the medical system is in serious trouble.

    Those who worry about Int’l but not domestic travel forget that COVID doesn’t recognize borders. Unless you exclude entry to everyone (including citizens), COVID and its variants will eventually arrive.

    I took my travel activity “underground” on social media after receiving some hate last year, and just now started talking about it again now that I got my vaccines.

  46. @John hit the nail on the head–if everyone’s been given equal and fair chance to get the vaccine, but decided against it, it’s not on you to worry about others’ decisions.

    As for me and places I would, or would not go..obvious hot spots like India are a hell no, especially with how Modi and the inept government have royally ruined lives and the country. It’ll be a few years before I even consider transiting through an Indian airport.

    Aside from that everything else is fair game. Especially if countries that have their act together open up to vaccinated travelers

  47. I’m ready to travel TATL/TPAC (have been flying domestically since July) as we are fully vaxxed. I don’t think we will though until CDC drops the ridiculous return test requirement! False positive rates are not minuscule!

  48. I’m vaccinated and would like to travel to places that want us and are safe, but to me, the main concern is the pain in the bʊtt that is now to travel between the testing, the airport, the entry, the exit, and if you get stranded or have to rush out of an international location because cases spike back up or whatever, so for me, the fear of getting sick is basically not there; rather it’s all about how inconvenient it is now.

  49. I think the fair thing to do for a vaccinated person is to focus on travelling to places where most of the population is vaccinated like Israel, UK, UAE because vaccinated people can still spread the virus.

  50. @Sir Walter Raleigh:

    Your opinion about staying at home and not traveling due to there being no “silver bullet” (to mitigate/reduce Covid spread) made sense up until recent times if we are referring to the US. However, the vast majority of adults in the US who have sought out a vaccination are either completely vaccinated or in the process of being completely vaccinated. The remainder of unvaccinated adults at this point are almost completely comprised of people who don’t want to get one and in many cases may never want one. Therefore, we as a country need to move on and start opening up again, including beginning traveling again (at least domestically and safer foreign destinations). Covid, like the flu, will be with us for many years, and we have to learn to live with it. The unvaccinated adults in this country will unfortunately have to learn the hard way why they should have gotten vaccinated when they had the chance when the probable happens down the road and they get infected.

  51. Yet again, I think you’ve shared a very thoughtful and reasonable opinion. I think you’re 100% on the money that it’s irresponsible to travel to places that can’t handle tourism and that are still managing their own populations BUT that at the same time, the travel shaming has reached toxic proportions.

    In general, the shaming got out of hand and could even be counterproductive. There is SO much misinformation out there about what does and does not cause transmission. I’m not a scientist by any stretch of the imagination, so I just defer to the CDC and my state’s Governor. If they think that X activity is safe (whether X is running outside without a mask or eating indoors or going to the spa), then I too will consider it safe. There are WAY too many knee jerk reactions out there that certain activities are not safe without any data. We have to find a way to live our lives!!

    I’m hoping to be able to go to France this summer. If Macron does in fact welcome Americans (per his claim) and the CDC says international travel to France is safe, then you can absolutely catch me knee deep in rose on a beach in St. Tropez. If my (extremely intelligent but not a scientist) mom has a knee jerk reaction that such a trip isn’t safe, then I’d disregard her advice. If the CDC says France isn’t safe, or if Macron rescinds the welcome mat, then I’ll try again next year, and maybe go for Montenegro this year.

  52. forgot to add that my husband and I are both fully vaccinated!
    Sincerely,
    Dreaming of St. Tropez

  53. I went to Egypt last July and had an amazing trip. Just came back from 2 weeks skiing in Switzerland. Heading to Mykonos in late July. All on Air France, since I work for them, and I had and have no worries… you only live once.

  54. @AlanT98 What study do you know of that proves that vaccinated people can still spread the infection? We don’t have enough data to say either way!

    UAE has high vaccination rates, but has been giving a lot of Sinopharm shots. The data on that shot is really lacking.

  55. @Sir Walter Raleigh:

    LOL….I am actually American, but my God Save the Queen remark was partly due to your name, and also for my deep admiration for Her Majesty’s 70 years of service to her country.

  56. @NK3
    I was not referring that those that are vaccinated being able to spread the disease but rather the opposite. The vaccine was not tested to determine if it protects one against becoming infected but with no symptoms. Thus since the govt is still requiring negative tests you could pcr test positive, have no symptoms and not be able to fly. You might even find yourself in a country that suddenly cancels all flights like Mongolia did recently while you are waiting for a negative test.

  57. It’s been 5 days since my second shot. I nine more days, my road trip to the brewpubs of the Pacific NW starts.

    June = Italy, if they’ll have me, somewhere else in Europe if they won’t.
    July = Medellin, Colombia!
    August-December = A combination of Italy & the UK.

    Let’s goooooooo!

  58. The vaccines provide effective immunity rather than sterilizing immunity. What that means is they offer significant protection against hospitalisation and/or death in the event that a person is infected. Where I live, some of the latest variants coming out of India have proven virulent enough to infect fully vaccinated (Pfizer, Moderna) frontline medical workers. Thankfully, with minimal adverse effects so far.

    What this means (particularly for leisure travel) is that even if fully vaccinated, there’s a chance you could still get infected. Depending on the destination, having the virus show up on pre-departure/post-arrival testing could result a lot of upended holiday plans or worse, time spent in quarantine facilities.

  59. I’m not interested in traveling until the destinations are “back.” Today, many hotels are scrimping and saving to compensate for a year of no revenue. The Club lounge is closed, the minibar is empty, and the restaurant is serving frozen crap because the supply chains for high-quality produce are still broken. I live in Midtown Manhattan, and I love New York, but I wouldn’t come here until the museums and shopping and sports and theaters and bars and restaurants, etc., are open.

  60. Anyone that is elderly and/or with known health issues (taking meds), obese should get the vaccine. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were developed prior to the variants being added to the mix. Kind of like taking last year’s seasonal virus shot this year. Effective, yes, but not as effective. Better than nothing? Of course! Young females of child bearing age should not take it. Not if they are planning to have kids. Vaccines are experimental and without FDA approval, but approved under emergency authorization. Long term fertility studies aren’t done and young women are very unlikely to be severely effected by COVID-19.

  61. Who were you referring to as “locals” when wrote …”where locals don’t want visitors…”.

    California discouraged travel from other states when you visited. Actually they still do — “Non-essential travelers from other states or countries are strongly discouraged from entering California.” Even Disneyland is respecting this prohibition by only being open to California residents when it opened last week.

    So, if “locals” doesn’t include Californians, what does it mean?

  62. Travel is not fair game after being fully vaccinated. Those who believe that came home from spring break in south Florida with a variant.

  63. If you feel safe in a car you should feel safe traveling vaccinated. If not I’d be happy to point you to the nearest tin foil hat store. I believe in science and the vaccine works.

  64. You can still get the virus even if you are vaccinated. The vaccine does not protect against the mutations. However, I think getting to/from places is much more difficult than entering considering the lack of information regarding transit passengers for many places.

  65. @Ben One travel sector not mentioned in your post, with which I generally agree, is cruise ships, particularly of interest in Miami. Most cruise ships embarking from Miami or Fort Lauderdale are gigantic, with thousands of onboard passengers and crew members – like floating crowded convention centers isolated at sea. Cruise ships are totally unlike any other form of travel and anyone not recognizing that is at best being disingenuous. Yet the cruise lines – starting way before vaccines were widely available – were lobbying sympathetic politicians, the CDC ( engaging their fans, travel agents dependent on cruise line commissions and cruise travel bloggers) and the White House to approve cruises from and to U.S.ports without all onboard being vaccinated.N.B.: onboard crew live in crowded quarters, with most living in multiple berth small cabins and unable to socially distance. The health of those onboard also, of course, impact local communities when they disembark. Just this week the Chairman of Royal Caribbean Cruise Line stated he believed all those who prefer not to be vaccinated for whatever reason should be allowed to cruise. So, what are your thoughts? Do you think the cruise lines (of the major lines only NCL has stated all onboard must show proof of vaccination) are being responsible? Would you or your parents cruise on a vessel where all onboard have not been vaccinated?

  66. @cargocult Brilliant. Points. mRNA vaccines are not new. You call them new. They are new and scary to you. They have been around for roughly 20 years in a lab and they have been tested on humans in various vaccines. Dont like those? We have JNJ vaccine which is not MRNA. AstraZeneca also not mRNA. The unknown effects of Covid, that is something I would be more concerned with. Facing the hard undeniable facts are as follows. No matter what happens like Pfizer full use authorization, etc you will continue to find an excuse not to get the jab. I also see a large number of people who have never gotten the flu vaccine. That seems to correlate here. You merely hide behind the excuses.

  67. Is travel with the vaccine safe? Sure, but the US has made it very clear that international travel with or without the vaccine should not be done at this time. Period.

  68. @JBR: “The remainder of unvaccinated adults at this point are almost completely comprised of people who don’t want to get one and in many cases may never want one.”

    I don’t think that’s quite true. There are huge numbers of people who simply don’t have time to go get vaccinated, and it will take weeks and months for them to slowly get around to it. And among people who say they don’t want it, many of them are amenable to persuasion by sources they trust, like their doctors. And then there are many who are concerned about the safety of the vaccines, and they will come around as time goes by and evidence accumulates that there are no major side effects showing up months or a year after the injection. I suspect that in the US we will get to 75 – 80% vaccinated, but it will take until around this time next year to get there.

  69. @iamhere: “he vaccine does not protect against the mutations.”

    That is not correct. The vaccines available in the US and the Astra Zeneca vaccine are effective against all known variants, with the possible exception of some of the newest variants emerging in India and Brazil.

  70. Travel shaming? Who cares? It is your life, travel is not illegal, do it as it pleases you. Why do people still care about what others may think of their actions? You are an adult, you are not breaking any law so if you feel comfortable traveling just do it.

  71. @EC2: “Young females of child bearing age should not take it. Not if they are planning to have kids.”

    There is zero evidence that the vaccines affect fertility, nor is there any known mechanism by which they could. You could say that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, and you would be right – but there is also no evidence that the vaccines cause, say, brain tumors in men (or any number of other complications). So why single out women of child-bearing age for a warning about the vaccines? This is fear-mongering with no basis in evidence or fact.

  72. To answer Lucky’s question about travel shaming: I think most people agree now that travel isn’t really causing problems as long as you’re responsible (i.e., don’t travel to places where the virus is out of control). Travel shaming is over, more or less. The much bigger problem is that travel is still a hassle for several reasons, including testing requirements to return to the US and high rental car prices. And of course the restrictions on entry still in place by many countries all over the world.

  73. Your own CDC stated the following a couple of days ago:

    ___________________________________________________________
    Overview

    Currently authorized vaccines in the United States are highly effective at protecting vaccinated people against symptomatic and severe COVID-19. Additionally, a growing body of evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people are less likely to have asymptomatic infection or transmit SARS-CoV-2 to others. How long vaccine protection lasts and how much vaccines protect against emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants are still under investigation. Until more is known and vaccination coverage increases, some prevention measures will continue to be necessary in some settings for all people, regardless of vaccination status. However, the benefits of reducing social isolation and relaxing some measures such as quarantine requirements may outweigh the residual risk of fully vaccinated people becoming ill with COVID-19 or transmitting SARS-CoV-2 to others. Additionally, taking steps towards relaxing certain measures for vaccinated persons may help improve COVID-19 vaccine acceptance and uptake. Therefore, there are several activities that fully vaccinated people can resume now, at low risk to themselves, while being mindful of the potential risk of transmitting the virus to others.
    _________________________________________________________

    It was stated on the news last night that there is a huge problem in the USA for getting people to actually become vaccinated. One example was only 4000 of 6000 vaccinations were delivered at one site because of vaccine reluctance.

    Quote:
    As of 6 a.m. EDT May 3, a total of 105,523,520 Americans had been fully vaccinated, or 31.8 percent of the country’s population, according to the CDC’s data.

    Herd immunity is suggested at 75% yet at less than 40% people are starting not to become vaccinated.

    I think it is too soon to assume that fully vaccinated people pose no risk to others and that “return to normal” is where the world is at.

    This will result in wave 4,5,6,7 etc.

    And please, share your about to expire vaccines that are not wanted with other countries starting with the closest to home so the shipments will arrive in time to be used.

  74. @Ben, Further to my comment and questions regarding cruise lines, let me make one important observation on your post since you have been open about your mother’s treatments for cancer. While not a doctor, from what has been published by reliable sources, people who have undergone chemotherapy can be immunocompromised. Since this population has not been studied in depth in relation to currently approved vaccines for COVID-19, it is thought that they would only receive 60-65% effectiveness vs 90-95% in the general population. This might have an impact on traveling with your mother, especially if anywhere during the trip she might be exposed to unvaccinated individuals who may or may not (the latter especially in Florida) wearing masks and maintaining social distance, such as in airports.

  75. @ Azamaraal: the problem is that the same stupid people that tell the above and that vaccines are effective, bla bla bla.. then say “oh but you should still stay home”. That is call brainwashing and controlling people. I heard people saying “why am I taking a vaccine that was approved under emergency if even after getting it I am still not allowed to live a normal life.” Blame this stupid Neanderthal administration.

  76. My own travel criteria are
    1. vaccination
    2. local prevalence of Covid-19 is low

    This is because the vaccine is highly effective but not foolproof. Those who have gotten sick (but not died) warn that getting Covid-19 is no piece of cake. Some unlucky ones have prolonged brain fog, lack of taste, and other problems. Some really unlucky ones got a lung transplant, which does not compare with a healthy lung.

    People, like Ben/Lucky, are younger and have an occupational reason to travel so I’m not too hard on them. However, be very aware that often we think we are safe only to learn that we’re not being safe.

    One area that I’m not very satisfied is the flimsy masks that so many people wear. It’s very rare that you’ll find someone wearing a N95 mask. Initially, there was reason to save them for hospitals and doctors but now the supply has caught up so ordinary people should wear them.

    I’m counting on 2023 as when I travel more though I might take very limited steps in 2022.

  77. Hi Lucky,
    What is your opinion on people who cannot receive one of the vaccines due to medical reasons. Should travel be off limits to them?

  78. I spent 2 weeks traveling across the western US national parks in 2020. I wasn’t worried, I masked and social distanced and had a great time.

    Now that I am fully vaccinated, all shackles are off. This year, I have 3 domestic trips already planned (2 trips to Vegas, and a guys trip to the Kentucky Bourbon trail). I also booked a family trip that was meant to take place last year and that includes 3 weeks touring Dubai, South Africa, and the Maldives. I did my part and got the vaccine. I am completely ready to begin living my life again without restrictions.

  79. @ Ben. I’m being honest in laughing at how you are “curious to hear how people feel about this” or “love to hear from OMAAT readers about this.” You do little if anything to engage your readers, offer little in the way of interaction, and pretty much just post hot topics and run. You are the least engaging of any blogger out there so it’s interesting to me that suddenly you are “interested.” Yes, your content can be good occasionally, but I hardly see you as someone really interested in conversing, countering, or teaching/learning from others in the comments as to your posts. Tiffany in fact is far more so when she decides to be part of the milieu.

    You are an introvert. You admit it. Perhaps blogging as such is not the best profession? At the very least come by it honestly, that you really don’t care what we think, as otherwise you sound like Bonvoy touting their unsurpassed level of care.

  80. Stuart,

    I’m not saying you are wrong are right. I do remember Ben when he was a very constant poster on FlyerTalk especially on the UA forum. He was very passionate and constantly gave his opinions. He was not a professional blogger per se but I could kind of see where he was going. I find this blog helpful because without regularly following it I would miss some pretty major industry news. I work for Air France and I find this site a quick way to catch up on what’s going on. Of course there are other sites to follow if you don’t like this one. And everyone’s got to make a buck 😉

  81. @Stuart are you serious? – “Perhaps blogging as such is not the best profession?”

    This has me rolling. I imagine the vast majority of the people here are jealous, to say the least, of Lucky’s profession. He is a master of his craft, period.

  82. @Adam I am not arguing your points and as I said, some of the content here can be valuable, but stop with the “I’m listening” and “I care” crap. It’s disingenuous and especially hilarious when surrounded with statements like, “I’m an introvert.” It doesn’t take a genius to see that Ben throws up things, let’s it fly, watches the comments for a half hour and then moves to the next posr. Which often begins with “wow” or “omg” or, the latest, “oy.”

    I will continue to read. And will comment. But I will also be allowed to laugh at the often naive way Ben tries to come across as a caring writer/blogger/influencer/whatever the new term is who is genuinely interested in anyone’s thoughts. It’s about clicks and referrals, which is why he pays attention to the comments for the first half hour on a subject he knows will create controversy before moving on to the next potential hit and run.

    Finally, while Ben is fully entitled to make money, we are seeing full well the past few years the result of transforming amateur op/ed content into money making influencing sites and the significant effect It has on the world. Let’s stick to miles. And if there is not enough content Anymore with mike then find a new career before spitballing crap like this stuff that he knows full well will just rule people up.

  83. @Sel Yes, and Bonvoy is clearly the “master of their craft” these days. So, your point? Disingenuous blabber is mine. Or, as we used to say back in the day, “calling out BS.”

  84. It is simple: the probability you get sick, hospitalized (or worse) from Covid, conditional on being vaccinated, is less than the probability you get sick, hospitalized, or killed from the flu in a normal year *even if* Covid is circulating in the population at the level it circulated through the US over the last year. The math is not hard: last year, about 10x the number of people in the US died, and 10x the number of people were hospitalized, from Covid as from the flu in a normal year (and this is even though the flu vaccine exists!). The Covid vaccine lowers your personal risk by about 20x, leaving you with less risk from Covid than from the flu, even if Covid were spreading wildly. Further, your probability of infecting someone with Covid as a vaccinated traveler is 10x lower than an unvaccinated local in the same place infecting someone.

    Honestly, I don’t see any reason to take *any* precautions once you have a vaccine. You are literally more likely to be sick with malaria or bilharzia or any of the other health hazards when traveling than to be sick with Covid at that point. And as to who “wants” tourists – the tourism-dependent regions of the world are seeing their economies in absolute tailspins at the moment, which is why Greece and the Maldives and the Seychelles and others are opening up as quickly as they can. If you refuse to travel because of concern for locals, perhaps show some concern for their jobs and livelihoods as well. If you think it is inappropriate to travel now, when vaccinated, to places safe enough that locals are living life normally – what would change your mind? The possibility of some new terrible variant (or even a whole new disease like MERS or H1N1) will still be there in 2030. As will the possibility of getting sick while traveling.

    Last thing – the amount of anti-science comments here coming from the left rather than from anti-vaxxers is so concerning. Like half the posts above have objectively incorrect statements (e.g., that the vaccines don’t help prevent transmission, or that there are variants with appreciable ability to evade the vaccines, both of which are completely false).

  85. @Kevin
    This is the latest out of Israel. Both the Brazilian and Chilean variants have arrived in Israel and those infected had been vaccinated. Israel has become so concerned they have banned Israelis from visiting Turkey, Mexico, South Africa, India, Brazil, Ethiopia and Ukraine. All are free to make their own decisions but the verdict is still out on variants evading the vaccines. Israel would not be this concerned otherwise.

    https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/coronavirus-in-israel-two-cases-of-brazilian-variant-identified-667095

  86. I’m an American living in the UK at the moment. I just had my first jab this weekend and won’t have my 2nd until July. I would love to be able to travel somewhere, anywhere really, but we are still under an international holiday lockdown for another week and a a half. I don’t like living under the lockdown, but it’s working. That, along with the vaccination program, the numbers are definitely down here in the UK. My wife is due with our first baby in July, and we’re still deciding if we’ll let anyone visit who hasn’t been vaccinated. Most of my family is, but we do have a few hold outs. Yes, my wife won’t be because she’s pregnant, but I’ll be having my 2nd jab in July and we’ve both tested positive for COVID back in Nov, so she likely still has antibodies anyway. We were around some friends of ours for dinner a few weeks back, they tested positive a few days after our visit, but we were still both negative. I guess my point is, I wouldn’t want someone visiting who hasn’t been vaccinated, even if they do have a negative test upon arrival. It only takes 1 idiot, flouting mask rules and everything else put into place to ruin it for everyone else. Next thing you know, we’re back on lockdown again, right back where we started.

  87. @Stuart, yes, Ben is really awful at his job as a blogger. He’s just a multi-millionaire before the age of 30, how can anyone accept such a level of failure?

  88. Although we are both fully vaccinated, we have two kids aged 6 and 2, who cannot be vaccinated yet. So, flying is not an option for us at the moment – who wants to risk the health of their children? So traveling by car is the only option.

    Then here in the middle of Europe possibilities are not too exciting. Most countries have a mandatory quarantine period of at least 5 days, and even outdoor restaurants are still closed. That doesn’t sound like having a lot of fun, locked into a hotel room with your family for the better part of a vacation.

    So, personally I would love to travel freely, but practical reasons make it hard to do so. Probably in the summer we will take a (road) trip to Italy and/or Switzerland, but that’s probably about it.

  89. I miss the old days when stupid people didn’t have an outlet to share their “truths” to a large audience (aside from Thanksgiving.)

    My favorite? “I gotta live my life…” lol

  90. Seems like a few Americans here planning to travel to the UK. Although our lockdown measures will be broadly lifted over the next few weeks just wanted to remind that we are not in the EU anymore and not following their border rules.
    Vaccinated or not you need to isolate on arrival in your hotel room/ accommodation for 10 days or 5 days + an extra test to release. You also need to take a pre test & buy extra tests prior to arrival from an approved list of suppliers (currently for days 2 + 8)

    It is rumoured that US will feature on our “green” (no quarantine) list quite soon due to the great vaccination progress there and lower case rate but I suspect we will want reciprocity !

  91. Ben,
    the most interesting and touching part for me was when you talk about your parents.
    Spoil them rotten…we all can have many wives/husbands/kids/lovers/friends in our lifes BUT only ONE Father and only ONE Mother….do the most wonderful things with and to them….as long as they are here with you!
    Mazeltov to you…..

  92. No. No one should be travelling right now until at least the Year 2024 (maybe 2023 if lucky). We had one case in Australia today. One case can become ten can become one hundred or more.

    Lockdowns save lives and we are all in this together.

  93. Daughter and I traveled thru Dubai to Maldives last year. Then husband and I went to Honduras. We were careful, SD sad worse masks.

    Loved it. Locals happy for the support. Don’t care who wanted to “shame”, they could shame from their bunker.

    This year, headed out again internationally for at least 1 large trip. Maybe more.

    See ya.

  94. @cargocult with the “why are you censoring ME on YOUR blog”. You might as well just scream, “IM A REPUBLICAN WHO DIDNT FINISH HIGH SCHOOL!!”

  95. Booked Bora Bora the day that Tahiti opened back up for travelers. Now we can’t wait for June to come. I don’t see any issues and I am happy to see that the restrictions are in place (full vaccination, negative test). They are all more than fair and allow us to enjoy the world we live in agin.

  96. Travel shaming is mostly done by those who hijack the pandemic for some political objectives, in particular the Greens. They do not understand that most travelling is not for leisure purposes, but for work, education or family.

    I’ve been travelling within Europe during most phases of the pandemic, obviously respecting all protective measures, both to protect me and the others. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to travel elsewhere, which means I spent countless nights on videoconferences (without compesation during day time, of course …). I will definitely do any trip I’m supposed to, once I’m allowed to.

    As it looks, being vaccinated is becoming part of the latter and I’m glad I’ve already had my first jab. Living in Europe, this quite something, and I’m happy about it. Number two is already scheduled for early June, which makes me hope that I’ll be travelling more from mid-June.

  97. In short, for us, being fully vaccinated changes everything. Of course, respecting all safety, cultural and social distancing protocols in our home country (US) and abroad remain extremely important. But, frankly, we always travel that way, and now is no different. IMO, travel shaming serves little good except to signal the “virtuousness” of the shamer. The “shamee”‘ is not likely to change their actions and may just go underground.

    It is funny to hear the Australians tout domestic travel as we know their borders are closed to tourism (excepting bubbles) and are likely to remain so for another year or more. I and my spouse previously traveled for work and extensive, weekly domestic travel was routine pre Covid. While obviously, being fully vaccinated now, we are happy and feel very fortunate to able to visit family safely, otherwise domestic travel holds little allure for us. We both have stressful jobs and find the experience of cross border journeys to remain exhilarating. I personally have crossed the “pond” 50 plus time—-all for pleasure—-and seeing the sunrise over the Atlantic remains a thrill. So, now we are looking to overseas markets that are welcome to foreign visitors and will carefully follow the protocols I outlined above. Next month we head to Croatia and in the fall, assuming liberalization of border restrictions continue in Europe, Switzerland.

    Now, I will say this, given wobbly international schedules and quickly changing border entry guidelines, any cross border travel involves far greater effort than pre Covid. Both our outbound and separately booked returned journeys experience at least 2 major problems each. So, it is not for the feint of heart.

    But those waiting until both the cross border journey and destination experience settle down into their pre covid ways will have to sit on the side lines for a long time. It is anyones guess when those folks will venture out. We are not willing to wait that long. Life complications, non- Covid sickness and other unforeseen tragedy are just as likely to get in the way. So, on a limited basis (given current restrictions), we are accepting the diminished but still real risk involved, and venturing out into the world where we can.

  98. Unfortunately high vaccination % in some countries does not change the following problems:
    1) The vaccination rate in many countries will remain low for quite some time.
    2) Travel restrictions and country regulations (test requirements, additional documentation, etc.) would remain for quite some time. Those also would change any moment causing travel distractions.
    3) Long term “Stockholm syndrome” developed by a portion of population after ca. 14 months of lock downs and restrictions.
    However, without even considering Covid-19, right now we do have simply too many people traveling in USA. Try to book any reasonable hotel near a beach in North or South Carolina (or in Charleston or Savannah) for the upcoming weekend and you will find that those are sold out. Hyatt and Andaz in Savannah are sold out for Sat night and Hyatt Place at Savannah airport goes for $230+tax (or 8K points – still available!). This is without any business travel or conventions going on. Just Mothers’ Day weekend.

  99. my mother-in-law (early 70s, relatively healthy and fully vaccinated by now) who traveled extensively before Covid, resumed international travel and dining out at the first opportunity (has been to Africa twice since covid, to the Caribbean and now going to Greece)…she says “each day of lockdown is a day out of my life” and “I don’t have years and years ahead of me, my clock is ticking – better die from getting sick with covid while living to the fullest than die of boredom and old age while safely locked from covid in my house”…we used to argue with her and worry about her, now we just envy her…perhaps there is something to it – don’t put your life on hold, it’s too short…and while we worry about possibility of the next variant, we might die ‘safely’ (from covid) in our locked house from a heart attack or some such…life should go on, with or without covid…so yes, being fully vaccinated by now, I am resuming international travels, too…

  100. Yes, until a person is fully vaccinated and there is herd immunity and the COVID-19 crisis is no longer killing thousands of people per day, you can expect to be “travel shamed” for choosing to spew aerosols and post pics about a leisure trip while thousands gasp for oxygen in India, thousands die in the streets in Brazil, and millions across the globe suffocate and die from COVID-19. We absolutely **SHOULD HAVE** been “travel shaming” any idiotic American who chose to party it up and fly around for no good reason when dead bodies were piling up in the streets of LA, Chicago, NY, etc. Now that vaccines are a thing, it makes sense for reasonable and controlled travel to places that are not inundated with COVID-19, if the person understands the risks (new variants, breakthrough infections, asymptomatic carrier transmission, transmission to children and elderly). But when there’s still literally a global pandemic and immeasurable and incomprehensible suffering, you take a really big risk both healthwise and with your public image when you choose to blog/vlog/live it up and party as someone’s loved one just passed away in the overfilled ICU in the country next door.

  101. @ Stuart — Wow, allow me to recap. I’m naive, I’m the least engaging blogger out there, I’m not interested in my readers, I’m not interested in teaching/learning, I should change my career, I’m like Marriott Bonvoy, I’m disingenuous, you laugh at me, I spitball crap, I write amateur op/ed content, my content is “good occasionally,” and I’m only here for the clicks and referrals. Did I miss anything? Let me try to respond to a few of your points.

    First of all, it’s totally fair that not everyone is going to “get” my blog or like it. I don’t expect everyone to. And my feelings aren’t hurt when people choose not to read. At the end of the day miles & points is my passion — I’ve been blogging about it every single day for over 13 years, and I’ve loved it for even longer than that.

    Not many people make a good living doing what they love, and I don’t take that for granted. I could have sold this blog or outsourced most of the content, and it would still probably do pretty well. But I choose not to. Why? Because I love what I do. If my passion for this doesn’t come through to you, then just don’t read. Clearly other people feel differently, or else this wouldn’t be the largest independent blog in the space.

    I absolutely could (and probably should) do a better job responding to comments, but let me share some insights on why that has been a struggle, so you can at least understand where my head is at:
    — Believe it or not, I read every single comment (yep, even the comment an hour ago telling me I should get an HIV vaccine rather than a coronavirus vaccine) and I am genuinely interested in what readers have to say, I learn from them every single day, and am grateful for how much they engage
    — I only have so many hours in the day, and like most people, I do my best to balance priorities; I spend most of my days working, I try to spend time with my husband, I try to cherish the time that I can spend with my parents, and I try to work out for my mental and physical health, and at times it’s hard to find the right balance there
    — When I don’t interact much in comments it’s not due to lack of interest, and I often end up prioritizing writing more posts over responding to comments, which I realize always isn’t ideal
    — There’s a great community here at OMAAT, and most questions that readers have are answered by others, while I use other questions in the comments as inspiration for future posts
    — I have horrible wrist pain from spending so many years typing nonstop; there’s simply only so much typing I can do in a given day, so if I’m not responsive, it’s literally because my wrists are in pain and I’m icing them

    PS: Who the heck comes onto a website that they’re not forced to read and are paying nothing for, and provides unsolicited advice telling someone they should consider a career change? Stuart, I think that reflects more on you than me.

    PPS: While you can continue to read, no, you won’t continue to comment. Good riddance.

  102. Currently traveling internationally is still too much trouble due to constant change of rules. No thanks. With that said, I’m booked to an international leisure trip late November so crossing my fingers and toes that my destinations will be more vaccinated by then. Already started to book my trip to Far East in the spring of 2022. I expect covid crises will diminished drastically by then. Myanmar, sadly, will be off the list until further change.

    @Stuart you do realize that just about every successful blogger/ youtuber out there, they always ask their audience their opinions without fail in the end because google cares about engagement. If google doesn’t care, I highly doubt Lucky will be asking “what do you think” at the end of every post. I’m an introvert and if I’m in Lucky’s shoes, I would do exactly the same. I also find reading his comment section can often be extremely informative as often locals/ in the knows chime in and provide info that’s impossible to google.

  103. Travel shaming will continue to happen for sometime. Mediocre and unhappy people will always find targets so that they can feel superior. Fifty years ago it was minorities, then it became smokers, then it became the insufficiently PC, and now they are focused on travelers and those demanding reopening because the risk has decreased, and we just want our lives back. My guess is those who choose not to be vaccinated will be next target.

  104. @Rick
    Those who choose not to be vaccinated are being targeted even more than the travel shamers based on the comments in this thread. Cargocult gets it from both sides.

  105. @Alan The treatment of Cargocult is disgusting. If he is in fact being censored, it makes me question continuing frequenting this blog. With the facts available, I chose to get the Pfizer vaccine. He chose to abstain which is his right to do as free human being, and as a traveler he has been following all rules. If people don’t like what he is posting, counter with facts not name calling and vaccine shaming. I thought travelers were more open minded.

  106. @Rick

    I agree completely. Post facts – name calling proves nothing. I looked into the vaccine under development which he mentioned and it looks very promising. I can understand why he is waiting. Rather than being an antivaxer he seems to be well informed.

  107. Hey Ben, do you have any reference for this statement: “the vaccine reduces my chances of spreading coronavirus to others by well over 90%”.

    I thought there wasn’t any related study to evaluate this aspect.

  108. @Lucky/Ben Don’t your readers deserve a response about if you are censoring certain non-false opinions on the vaccine that have a connection to your posts and do not resort to name calling. You have a responsibility to limit personal attacks (although on that score apparently calling someone an illiterate republican is just fine) and to prevent the spread of fake news. However, don’t you also have a responsibility when a question is raised about your moderating policies to answer it? This goes to the heart of the integrity of this blog and your silence could be read as some to be an acknowledgement that you are censoring fact based and scientifically soured arguments against the vaccine. I myself am vaccinated, It does not mean I should take others’ ability to engage in the conversation.

  109. @Kevin

    Unfortunately you are spreading misinformation by your statement that vaccinated people cannot spread while asymptomatic.

    Below is a statement from the US CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL (called the CDC). Please actually read it.
    ________________________________________________________________
    Currently authorized vaccines in the United States are highly effective at protecting vaccinated people against symptomatic and severe COVID-19. Additionally, a growing body of evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people are less likely to have asymptomatic infection or transmit SARS-CoV-2 to others. How long vaccine protection lasts and how much vaccines protect against emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants are still under investigation. Until more is known and vaccination coverage increases, some prevention measures will continue to be necessary in some settings for all people, regardless of vaccination status. However, the benefits of reducing social isolation and relaxing some measures such as quarantine requirements may outweigh the residual risk of fully vaccinated people becoming ill with COVID-19 or transmitting SARS-CoV-2 to others. Additionally, taking steps towards relaxing certain measures for vaccinated persons may help improve COVID-19 vaccine acceptance and uptake. Therefore, there are several activities that fully vaccinated people can resume now, at low risk to themselves, while being mindful of the potential risk of transmitting the virus to others.
    ________________________________________________________________________

    In case you missed it – THE CDC STATES that no studies have been conducted that prove immunized people will not be carriers. NO STUDIES have shown proof that the vaccines are totally effective against variants.

    Variants are spreading like wild fire and are a major concern.

    Hospital ICU’s in Canada for example are so full of patients that they are shipping covid patients hundreds of miles by helicopter and are seriously considering triage as a necessary option (those that have a lower likelihood of surviving will not receive treatment).

    The USA
    ___________________________________
    As of 6 a.m. EDT May 4, a total of 106,168,588 Americans had been fully vaccinated, or 32 percent of the country’s population, according to the CDC’s data.
    ___________________________________

    If only 32% are fully vaccinated and you are an asymptomatic carrier then you pose a risk to those who are not vaccinated. Although it may be their choice – by travelling you may be exposing them to an extra risk.

    So please don’t call anyone who can read the numbers and listen to scientific information idiots and dumb republicans. I actually think most republicans are highly educated as most conservative people tend to be. Their degrees tend to be in Science, Math, Economics, Engineering.

  110. @Rick – I for one appreciate that Lucky will edit out the racists, hoaxers, white nationalists, misinformation spreaders, etc. that sadly now exist and flourish on other travel blogs out there (and having read them for over a decade, these people only came around in the past few years…hmmm what has changed that made them crawl out from their dark holes…)

    Guess what…it’s his blog and he can do as he pleases…full refund to you if you aren’t satisfied.

  111. @Rick

    Agree with UA-NYC on this one. Lucky’s only responsibility is to himself, seeing as this is his own personal blog. “Freedom”, as anti-vaxxers like to call it, cuts both ways. I am sick and tired of seeing anti-vaxxers raise the same points (that have been debunked over and over) in different words.

    Good riddance.

  112. @UA-NYC and @David

    Lucky can do whatever he wants this is his site and he can run it as he sees fit. I simply feel that if his goal is to create an engaged transparent interactive space that he does not need to reply to every comment, but at least a disclosure of moderation policy and answering questions about same by either him or his staff would be appreciated. I saw what I considered an injustice to a fellow commentator, and even though I disagree with him regarding vaccines I felt the need to stand up. The nastiness is not necessary. Did I say anything nasty to merit that? I do not pay for this site, but my traffic does contribute to ad sales and the price for such ad sales. Obviously the non response from Luck or even someone who works for the site is an indication that they do not consider this to be an issue which is fine. I used to follow 3 travel sites. One became too corporate and eliminated comments altogether. This one at least appears to be using moderation allowing some to be nasty as long as they have the “correct” views and moderating others. I choose not to engage in a site where a thumb is put on the scale and comments are deleted or allowed based on what opinion they express. Thank God there still exists one site with owner interaction and a more clear and seemingly fair moderation policy. You may get your wish and chase away enough people that this becomes your own echo chamber. I am sure it will then only be a matter of time before you find another thing to argue about and turn on each other. Thank you Lucky for the many great articles. I got real enjoyment out of this site for years, and wish you only the best moving forward.

  113. @Rick

    I think it’s possible to create an engaging, interactive space without having to engage with anti-vaxxers (for the record, I never called you an anti-vaxxer so I’m not sure what nastiness you’re referring to). Even major search engines and social media sites have started moderating misinformation so I have no issue at all with their moderation policy.

    By the way, the moderation policy you are asking them to disclose can be found here: https://onemileatatime.com/comment-policy/ it’s been there for at least months, particularly the COVID section. Despite that, you repeatedly ask for them to clarify it when it’s there to begin with.

  114. @David I admit to at least keeping tabs on this particular post as since I addressed to particular commentators I think it is fair to respond to you should you choose to reply, and I will monitor this thread for at least a day’s or two. The nastiness was the Good Riddance at the end of your post. That is is hardly cruel, but it is dismissive and unnecessary to say to someone politely trying to engage. If I misread that, I apologize. You are also correct that I vaguely remember a moderation policy, but I have not read it in some time. That is on me. I did take a look just a moment ago. The sections on being polite, courteous, and avoiding politics seem to be completely disregarded. The COVID section as I read it says facts and opinions are ok. Unsupported false information is not. The commentator said he cited sources from medical journals. If certain sections from that policy are being selectively enforced or seem to be enforced differently than written, is it not ok to ask why? I’m not owed an answer if the moderators choose not to give one, but I don’t think it is unreasonable to ask. I respect Lucky and this site enough to ask before I make an assumption. Regardless, no ill will towards Lucky (who I still think is great even if I disagree with how he chooses to moderate HIS blog not to say I am claiming that my opinion should affect him or the business he built.), the site, or to you. I am just a person who has always believed in fairness and consistency even for views that I don’t agree with. I believe honest courteous and respectful debate is the best form of intellectual sunshine when dealing with views that I consider to be in dark.

  115. @David

    I can understand Rick’s concerns. Much of what you might call misinformation on the major search engines and social media sites that they censor is often scientific research that simply does not match their agenda. When you see the information their “fact checkers” have used to label it as misleading or incorrect, it is often unsubstantiated.

    Given that it looks like nearly 50 percent of the Americans are either waiting to get the vaccine or not interested, then your definition of an interactive space would exclude half the country. I am glad that Ben still permits them to comment as there is information that can still be learned. Furthermore this type of discussion might just convince more to actually get vaccinated if one’s argument’s are based on evidence and not simply opinions.

    Rick was standing up for another commenter who has stated that he will not get vaccinated with the mRNA vaccines but provided information on vaccines still under development that he was considering. The same person also pointed out that those with obesity were more likely to die from covid and provided links to several articles with evidence that suggested this was true. In today’s woke environment, maybe some considered that fat shaming, which was not his point.

  116. @Rick

    I think you are trying to have a discussion in good faith, so I will engage. At this point in the pandemic, patience is probably wearing thin for many, myself included, so I should start by apologizing for my tone.

    In regards to @cargocult’s comments, I cannot see the comments he tried to post, that were blocked, but of the two that I can see, one is his rather unhelpful opinion that he can travel however he wants whether he’s vaccinated or not, and that people who are afraid should just stay at home. That’s the same anti-vaxxer position that has caused hundreds of thousands of deaths over the pandemic. Presumably the comments blocked are worse.

    The other comment is in regards to “waiting for some vaccine in development that may or may not workout”, this is not helpful when the goal now is to reach herd immunity as soon as possible, not to mention there are options besides Pfizer and Moderna if you’re afraid of mRNA (which isn’t new technology, unlike what he claims). The weird thing is he portrays mRNA as a vaccine for safetyist (whatever that means), but also makes it seem like a dangerous new tech, which seems rather contradictory.

    I think there is a fine line between sharing your opinion, and trying to present false information that greatly harms public health disguised as “opinion” or “fact” (often citing articles published on personal blogs by someone who isn’t even in the medical research profession). I also don’t see any links in his comments to back up his claims.

  117. @Alan, the key paragraph in the bbc article was this:

    “The Seychelles, which relies on tourism for much of its income, began vaccinating its population in January using Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccine doses donated by the United Arab Emirates.”

    The Sinopharm vaccine’s effectiveness is very pretty bad. So it’s not surprising to see vaccinated individuals get infected there.

  118. @Omar

    Astra Zenaca does not have a great efficacy either yet the UK is reporting dramatic drops in cases and deaths. Might the difference be that the UK is locked down to nearly all international travelers and the Seychelles is fully open? I know I am only speculating but it seems as if case numbers outside of the UK and Israel have even surged in countries with fairly high vaccination rates. Both the UK and Israel have been locked down and permitted few international travelers. Israel has even banned their citizens from visiting a number of countries with new variants and high case numbers, plus Mexico.

    Mexico has seen dramatic drops in cases and hospitalizations while having a low number of vaccinations. I live in Mexico and the atmosphere is almost as if the pandemic has ended. Nearly all businesses are open, although the number of failed businesses is obvious throughout the city. Scores of storefronts have for rent signs. It seems most people still wear masks outdoors but there have never been any Karens here so one has always been free to choose, except in most stores they are still mandatory. In rural areas, even those rules are not followed.

  119. @Omar and all

    This morning the New England Journal of Medicine announced a large study done in Qatar released the findings for efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine against the B variants and others. (There were many more participants than studies by Pfizer).

    1 dose – less than 30% effective
    2 doses – over 60% if exposed more than 14 days after the second dose.

    Compare those numbers of up to 100% effective against the initial Covid-19.

    Those numbers should be considered when thinking that you are immune from Covid-19. Basically you are only partially protected at best.

    The table is below. I apologize but could not seem to take a decent screen shot with my pc. Probably should have used the phone but you can see the results or do the search for

    search: New England Journal of Medicine Qatar Covid Pfizer Study should get the original.

    Table 1. Vaccine Effectiveness against Infection and against Disease in Qatar.
    Type of Infection or Disease PCR-Positive Persons PCR-Negative Persons Effectiveness (95% CI)*
    Vaccinated Unvaccinated Vaccinated Unvaccinated
    number of persons percent

    Infection
    PCR-confirmed infection with the B.1.1.7 variant†
    https://www.nejm.org/na101/home/literatum/publisher/mms/journals/content/nejm/0/nejm.ahead-of-print/nejmc2104974/20210504/images/img_small/nejmc2104974_t1.jpeg

    After one dose 892 18,075 1241 17,726 29.5 (22.9–35.5) 29 PERCENT EFFECTIVE
    ≥14 days after second dose 50 16,354 465 15,939 89.5 (85.9–92.3) 89 PERCENT

    PCR-confirmed infection with the B.1.351 variant‡
    After one dose 1329 20,177 1580 19,926 16.9 (10.4–23.0) 16 PERCENT EFFECTIVE
    ≥14 days after second dose 179 19,396 698 18,877 75.0 (70.5–78.9) 75 PERCENT

    There is some good news here and some bad news. With two doses the protection appears to be upwards of 75%.

    The bad news is that it is much lower than regular covid and definitely requires 2 doses + 14 days.

    Another article today stated that 3 DOSES of MODERNA are required for variants.

  120. Your statistics are false. Only around 40% of the U.S. adult population is expected to receive the vaccine. This is far lower than predictions for much of the globe. It would be highly irresponsible to start travelling right now, especially when the vaccine is only around 90% effective at best. Certainly don’t encourage your parents to travel right now. Be safe. Don’t be an idiot and become a statistic.

  121. @Ben – I think there are too many people in this world who what others are doing. Anyone who tells the other that the other is doing wrong needs to assess themselves first. I see nothing wrong with what you’re doing because 1. It is not harmful and 2. You love what you do.

    Look – I like your blog because it’s a good distraction for me. I’ll be honest that I don’t think all of the content is very informative, well written, original nor important to me, personally. A huge portion of that is because most of my travel is unconventional, not glamorous, and frequently involves military tag along or smuggling myself to my locations! I haven’t had a vacation for six years and counting but that’s ok! Like you, I love my job! On some difficult and stressful days, your blog does offer a space for me to just unwind from the critical and relevant stuff going on in my world as a embedded journalist.

    I don’t mean the above as a criticism. All I mean is that if I, a reader, am returning to your blog, then you’re definitely doing something right! I don’t get the problem some have with what you write because there are numerous other outlets they can turn to. Each of us have our own reasons for coming here or to other blogs. In short, do what you love and is important to you.

  122. We took weekend trip from west coast to east coast and all the UA flights we took were full. Glad to see travel industries getting more revenue as vaccines making some people feeling safe to go back to usual activities. We are going to Cabo in a few weeks. We never stop traveling last year exceptions of going to Europe and Japan. We took vacation in SJD to CUN and a few domestic spots last year and we felt pretty safe as far as precautions resorts and restaurants were taking. Getting CPU as Premier Silver was a treat too since most of flights were empty in 2020. Now we see former travel shamers (haters) started to travel and I feel some of those folks were totally being taken advantage of higher pricing for mediocre at the most products due to sudden travel rush.

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