#*@+ the travel ban! These travelers are taking a vacation anyway

Why some people are ignoring the travel ban.

#*@+ the travel ban!

That’s what some travelers are saying this summer. They’re shrugging off the resurgence of COVID-19 infections and ignoring the shutdowns – and they’re taking a vacation anyway.

Half of Americans plan to stay put this summer, according to a new survey by LuggageHero. But 31% have taken a domestic trip since lockdown restrictions were eased, and a remarkable 19% have traveled internationally.

That’s a shocking number of travelers who refuse to heed the travel bans and are planning a vacation anyway.

Why are people ignoring the travel ban?

Why? Some of the reasons, like traveling to see a loved one or family member, may be legit. Others, maybe not. The reader who bristled at my recommendation to cancel his summer vacation last week comes to mind. He wrote to “thank” me sarcastically for urging Americans to reconsider their trips.

“It will be nice to experience travel with normal people and not have to put up with ninnies like you baying at the moon about masks and quarantines,” he ranted.

Either way, the prospect of summer travel crowds raises an important question: Is travel really necessary at a time like this?

Taking a vacation for love

One of the top reasons people defy the travel bans is love.

“Restrictions be damned,” says Nicholas Wolaver, who plans to travel to Europe this summer. He hasn’t seen his girlfriend in more than three months.

Croatia, unlike most of the European Union, is allowing Americans in, which makes it a perfect meeting-up point for Wolaver, who is based in Atlanta, and his girlfriend, who lives in Moscow. He just has to show a negative COVID-19 test result when he arrives, and he’s in. He added they will both wear masks and respect social distancing, except perhaps when alone with each other

“We’re researching flight and hotel options for August,” says Wolaver, a communications consultant.

There’s a movement to waive travel bans for unmarried couples. Already, Austria, Denmark, and Norway have loosened some of their travel restrictions to allow bi-national unmarried couples and family members to reunite. And the #LoveisNotTourism and #LoveisEssential hashtags are trending on social media.

“The pandemic has taken an emotional toll on those with loved ones abroad,” says Maury Chasteau-Simien, a British expatriate who lives in the U.S. and supports the Love is Essential campaign. “Couples and families are kept apart by government-controlled restrictions such as the current EU travel ban in the U.S. and the 14-day quarantine in the U.K. There’s a scary indefinite blank space around when they’ll be allowed to see their loved ones again.”

Is international travel allowed yet? See reopening dates for Jamaica, Dubai, other destinations

How to get around the ban for a little family fun

Other travelers are planning trips to see family. Consider Marco Sison’s situation. He and his girlfriend are currently in the Philippines, but they want to travel to Austria for a family baptism. Europe is also a great place to spend a few weeks during the summer. His girlfriend is Austrian, and Sison has dual U.S. and Philippine citizenship.

“To navigate the travel ban, we are looking to travel from the Philippines to Turkey,” says Sison, who writes a retirement blog. “Turkey is currently letting in U.S. citizens with no quarantine.”

Then it gets a little complicated. From Turkey, it’s on to Serbia, then to Montenegro, and after a 14-day quarantine, Germany and finally, Austria.

And if they don’t get through? “Turkey is a good compromise,” he says. “We can both apply for temporary visas that last up to one year.”

Well, that’s one way to do it.

Some are defying the travel ban because they can

Others have told me that they’re finished with the lockdowns and that they’re going anyway. It doesn’t matter to them that there’s a proven link between travel and the spread of coronavirus, or that the lockdowns are there for everyone’s protection.

“The quarantines are mostly on the honor system,” says Jeff Klee, CEO of travel-booking site Qtrip. “So it’s not surprising that some folks are ignoring mandates and treating them more like suggestions.”

People like Laurel Barton are trying to be responsible about it. She’d already canceled two trips during the pandemic and wanted to get out of the house this summer while still respecting the health guidelines.

So Barton, a travel guidebook author who lives in Lincoln City, Oregon, stayed close to home. Last week, she took a quick road trip to the Oregon coast, trekking south to Bandon-by-the-Sea instead of flying to Europe. And in fairness, she planned her vacation long before the tsunami of new COVID cases and left for the coast just as the case numbers started to climb.

“Outdoor activities, keeping to ourselves, and eating something we didn’t have to cook ourselves were on the agenda,” she says.

Others – and you know who you are – are not being as responsible. When I said “cancel your summer vacation” last week, you thought I was talking to someone else. You’re not wearing masks, you’re defying recommended quarantines, and you’re acting as if the summer of 2020 is like any other. Come on.

Time to cancel your summer vacation

Look, this is a difficult summer for everyone. When I hear about people who thumb their noses at the travel bans and take a vacation anyway, I wonder: Even though you can, should you? Is traveling the right decision for you and anyone else you come into contact with? Or am I just being a ninny?

I’ll say it again: It’s time to cancel your summer vacation. I mean it.

If you take a vacation anyway, follow these rules

Know before you go

If you decide to take a vacation anyway, find out about the latest COVID trends before you leave. “If you decide to travel, you will need to know what mandates are in place, such as mandatory face masks,” says Lisa Lindsay, executive director with Private Risk Management Association, a nonprofit organization. To get the most current information, she recommends checking the travel advisory sections on the CDC and State Department websites (check the embassy in the country you plan to visit for specifics).

Bring your tool kit

Government restrictions change quickly and with little advance notice. Be prepared for new requirements, says Michael McGarrity, vice president of global risk services at Global Guardian. “Bring face masks and hand sanitizer,” he says.

Make sure you can get out

If you’re on vacation and there’s a lockdown, be sure you can get home. “You may get in, but you run the risk of not being able to get back out if a quarantine is put back into place,” explains John Gobbels, chief operation officer for the air medical transport and travel security company Medjet. “Many people found out in the first wave that lockdown meant lockdown. Even if planes were leaving destinations, and returning to the U.S. during the first few days of the global alert, no more were being allowed into those destinations, so exit flights virtually stopped.”

So what are you going to do?

Are you staying put this summer or getting out of town? Hey, we’ve been confined for three months, so it’s only normal that you would want to get out. It’s a difficult choice. And sadly, as I saw since this story first appeared in USA Today, it’s also a political debate. Who would have thought that it would ever come to that?

Oh well, comments are open. 🗳️ (And if you’re American, don’t forget to vote in November!)

Posted in On Travel Tagged , , ,

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can’t. He’s the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes weekly columns for King Features Syndicate, USA Today, and the Washington Post. If you have a consumer problem you can’t solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

Underwritten by

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by AirportParkingReservations.com

With nearly 20 years in the industry, over 128 airport covered in the U.S. and Canada, and over 1,000 Hotel and Parking Partners-we provide travelers the best options on how to get to the airport when flying. Whether you want to; drive yourself and park near an Airport (Airport Parking), stay the night before your flight at an airport hotel and leave your car (Hotel and Parking Package), or take a shared Shuttle/Private Car/Limo to the Airport- we got you covered. The best deals can be found online, and booking a reservation has never been easier. You can explore all of our options by visiting us at AirportParkingReservations.com, ParkSleepFly.com, AirportParking.com, and ShuttleFinder.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Generali Global Assistance

Generali Global Assistance has been a leading provider of travel insurance and other assistance services for more than 25 years. We offer a full suite of innovative, vertically integrated travel insurance and emergency services. Generali Global Assistance is part of The Europ Assistance (EA) Group, who pioneered the travel assistance industry in 1963 and continues to be the leader in providing real-time assistance anywhere in the world, delivering on our motto – You Live, We Care.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Seven Corners

Seven Corners has helped customers all over the world with travel difficulties, big and small. As one of the few remaining privately owned travel insurance companies, Seven Corners provides insurance plans and 24/7 travel assistance services to more than a million people each year. Because we’re privately held, we can focus on the customer without the constraints that larger companies have. Visit Seven Corners to learn more.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. Learn more at Sodexoinsights.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelex Insurance Services

Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. We offer comprehensive travel insurance plans with optional upgrades allowing travelers to customize the plans to fit their needs. Compare plans, get a quote and buy online at Travelexinsurance.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Insuremyrentalcar.com

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at  Mediacomcable.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Arch RoamRight

Arch RoamRight is one of the fastest growing, most-highly rated travel insurance companies in the United States. Travel advisors love working with us, and travelers feel protected with our trip cancellation and travel medical insurance coverage. We also make it easy to file a claim online with our fast, paperless claims website. Learn more about RoamRight travel insurance.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit  Virtuoso.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

VisitorsCoverage is one of the world’s most trusted providers of travel insurance for millions of global travelers in over 175 countries. Working with top-rated travel insurance partner providers, VisitorsCoverage’s award-winning search, compare and purchase technology simplifies the travel insurance process and finds the best deals for the coverage you need to explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at VisitorsCoverage.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. Elliott.org readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by TravelInsurance.com

TravelInsurance.com makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at  TravelInsurance.com.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on  Squaremouth.com to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, SinglesCruise.com, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Generali Global Assistance

Generali Global Assistance has been a leading provider of travel insurance and other assistance services for more than 25 years. We offer a full suite of innovative, vertically integrated travel insurance and emergency services. Generali Global Assistance is part of The Europ Assistance (EA) Group, who pioneered the travel assistance industry in 1963 and continues to be the leader in providing real-time assistance anywhere in the world, delivering on our motto – You Live, We Care.

%d bloggers like this: