Where are the best places to travel right now? I’m dying to know, aren’t you? Like most of you, we had to cancel some scheduled travel in 2020, and, although we have continued to travel some to our condo on Sanibel Island, we haven’t really gone anywhere else. What about you?
With more and more people getting the vaccine, and things opening up in many parts of the country, I know I’m not alone in my feelings of wanderlust! So I decided to reach out to empty nester travel expert and professional travel advisor, Shannon Leyerle, of Vacations By Shannon. for some answers.
Next, I took to my Instagram and asked my followers what they wanted to know about travel right now.
Today, we are answering several of their questions right here! We’ll cover the rest today at 12 noon (CST) on an Instagram LIVE! Things are changing quickly, and Shannon has spent significant time this week researching the latest updates on Europe and the cruise industry. So in today’s Instagram LIVE, we’ll be going over the most up-to-date information. I hope you’ll join us! (Detailed instructions on how to watch and participate in our IG LIVE are at the bottom of this post.)
As an empty nester with her own travel agency (which was booming in 2020 leading up to the pandemic), Shannon is thrilled that people are excited to travel again. She is back to providing personal service with vacations customized for her clients. Shannon’s services are free, and her goal is to help her clients get the most out of their vacation.
Whether she’s hiking in the Swiss Alps, touring art museums in Paris, sailing down the Rhine River in Germany, or trying out a new attraction at Disney World, Shannon loves the opportunity to try new experiences. She and her husband Mark have traveled extensively, and they just got back from a trip to The Final Four in Indianapolis! The biggest highlight of her 2020 was becoming a first-time grandmother.
Your Travel Questions
Where is it safe to travel right now?
That’s a tricky question because I can’t guarantee safety in The Woodlands, TX, and because some travelers are more risk-averse than others. However, there are many great destinations, and I can work personally with each client to make the trip something they feel comfortable with.
For example, if you want to go to Mexico or the Caribbean, I can arrange for private transfers that will take you right to your gated resort, and you can relax there the whole time. More adventurous travelers may want to venture out, and that’s fine too.
Some European countries are beginning to allow vaccinated Americans to enter. But it really varies, and you have to know not only where you can go, but what to expect when you get there. Even in the U.S., some states are completely open, and some still have restrictions. It’s a lot for travelers to keep up with!
What destinations don’t require Covid tests or quarantine?
The list is growing every day! Iceland has managed to get the virus under control and is welcoming Americans who’ve been vaccinated, and they don’t require any testing. Mexico and Belize don’t require Covid tests or quarantining. However, the US government currently requires a negative test before returning (which resorts have made really easy for their guests). For any international destinations, a negative test is required before you can fly home.
What about the “travel” or “vaccine” passport? Do you have any inside scoop?
Right now, there is no real information on this. However, some cruise lines are requiring proof of vaccination for travelers. So hang on to your vaccination cards! Take a picture of them as a backup and keep them in
a very safe place.
When do you think the cruise industry will open up?
I’m excited to say that there are a couple of cruise lines now sailing out of international ports! The cruise lines are starting to advertise again, and I think that’s a sign that we may be close. I should have more updated information about this on our Instagram LIVE today!
I do know that Disney Cruise Line is launching a brand new cruise ship, the Disney Wish, in summer 2022, and the rumor is that they’re going to announce those sailings sometime later this month. If you’re interested in being a part of the first summer of sailings on the Disney Wish, please reach out and let me know, and I’ll let you know the information as soon as it’s released.
What are some of the most popular destinations right now?
There is SO much demand right now! People have missed traveling, and as soon as vaccines became available, the travel industry picked up, which is great! Many airlines, resorts, and suppliers are working to rehire and retrain the staff they laid off in 2020, so planning a trip takes a little more time. I tell my clients that is another reason it’s smart to use an agent — let them spend time on hold!
As far as the most popular destinations, I would say Disney World, Hawaii, Mexico, and Costa Rica. At this time, Hawaii does require a negative Covid test, but Mexico and Costa Rica do not. Just remember — with destinations limited, that means even more demand for the places that are easy to travel to.
Is it too early to plan travel for 2022?
Absolutely not! One of the best things about travel is the anticipation! Even if you’re not ready to hop on a plane this month, knowing that you have a trip planned for the future gives you something to look forward to, and I think that’s so important!
Disney World is booking packages through summer 2022, and they’ll be celebrating their 50th anniversary starting this October. Some cruise lines are booking guests as far out as 2023!
What are some good ideas for a multi-generational trip?
Disney World is always great, and I’ve booked quite a few multi-generational Hawaii trips lately! Costa Rica is also a good option because there are great adventure options and beautiful beaches.
What are some good ideas for empty nester getaways?
Hawaii and Mexico are perfect for empty-nesters! In Mexico, we can look for amazing adults-only all-inclusive resorts with beautiful beaches and great food. My husband are I are headed to Hawaii in just a few weeks, and it’s actually the first time we’ve been just the two of us. So we’re going to try out the Wailea area in Maui – it’s a little quieter and has incredible luxury resorts.
What are some good all-inclusive resorts in the U.S.?
There’s really only one true all-inclusive resort in the US, and it’s not even on the beach! There’s another adults-only all-inclusive, but I honestly don’t recommend either of them because anyone who’s been to a Mexico all-inclusive will be very disappointed. The kind of all-inclusive resorts that you enjoy in Mexico are just not available in the U.S. Plus, you just really can’t beat the incredible service and beaches in Mexico. You get so much for your money there.
What beaches do you recommend in the U.S.?
Between Miami through Fort Lauderdale, you can snorkel and see shipwrecks and enjoy incredible al fresco dining. However, demand is high, and options are expensive because people who don’t want to have a negative test to go to Hawaii or take a negative test to return from Mexico will choose Florida.
How Can People Get in Touch With You?
Please make plans to join us on Instagram today at 12 noon (CST) for more! Shannon will have the most up-to-date travel information. While you’re watching our LIVE, you can interact with us, ask questions, or even comment on what we’re saying. I’ll be able to interact with you and see your responses right on my screen!
Here’s how to view our Instagram LIVE:
- At 12 noon CST today, head to my profile page on Instagram. Hit the “FOLLOW” button if you’re not already following me!
- At noon, you’ll see an Instagram branded circle (like the one above) encircle my profile picture.
- When you see that, tap my profile picture.
- That’s it! You’re viewing our LIVE!
Let’s Escape More! I’m ready, aren’t you? If you’ve already scheduled travel and you need to refresh your travel gear, you might want to check out the Travel Section on the Empty Nest Blessed Amazon Page. I just had my assistant Casey update it and add some of her travel essentials. (She used to work for Norwegian Cruise Line, so she knows the best travel gear!)