But travelers to the US as excited as they are to reconnect with their loved ones, attend an IRL business conference or take selfies in front of landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge, should be equally prepared for the travel experience that these days. Very different – and still constantly changing.
First, there are new entry restrictions.
All foreign nationals must show proof of vaccination and a negative test within three days prior to travel (meanwhile, unvaccinated US citizens will undergo more rigorous testing), as well as comply with enhanced contract tracing measures.
On land, safety and health regulations that vary wildly from sea to glistening (eg Florida versus state mask mandates and vaccine requirements for indoor dining and other activities in New York) are all but guaranteed to generate confusion.
a patch of security measures
“And the reality is that it’s many different states with many different personalities, and it will be visible more than ever in health and hygiene protocols.”
Arriving travelers must be “fully vaccinated”, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who have received vaccines approved for use in the US as well as those for emergency use by the World Health Organization Listed which have not yet been received. Such approvals in the US, such as the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Here’s what first-time travelers to the US should take the guesswork out of, plus insider tips for a trip that’s as safe and smooth as possible (hint: be sure to pack extra patience).
Visitors are likely to find smaller cities, such as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, less crowded as the US reopens its borders.
Danielle Slim/AFP via Getty Images
More people in popular destinations
Hungry for a bite from the Big Apple or spot A-listers in Los Angeles? Join the crowd: Domestic tourism is already resuming in popular US destinations (remember Hawaii’s governor advising tourists to stop visiting in August?), before foreign travelers head to their favorite attractions. returned to the centre.
“Now is the time to be in Pittsburgh or Minneapolis or Kansas City and go to a place you wouldn’t normally think of,” Tricosi tells Granthshala. “They have a different culture. They have that entrepreneurial base. And the culinary scenes in many of these cities are world-class — they’re just as good as the restaurants in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.”
prepare your wallet
Industry insiders say rising demand from international travelers could lead to an increase in hotel room and vacation rentals this season, when domestic holiday bookings are already strong in many US markets.
Which means the long-awaited Thanksgiving family reunion at a great vacation rental, prized, could be putting a serious dent in your vacation budget.
lack of staff
In light of those widespread labor shortages, Tricoci encourages travelers accustomed to a high level of customer service, a sentiment the American hospitality industry has traditionally been known for managing their expectations, a sentiment echoed by many of their peers.
At the same time, he said the arrival of foreign guests gives the industry another impetus to adapt to its staffing shortfalls. “At the end of the day, they’re traveling, they’re spending money, and it’s up to us to address this issue,” he tells Granthshala.
Rental cars can be hard to come by for visitors to Florida and other popular destinations.
Joe Redl/Getty Images
Rental cars are also in short supply
“Prepaid is not a 100% guarantee, but most operators will prioritize these rental types over pay-on-arrival rentals,” Meyer told Granthshala via email.
Navigating the different (and confusing) health regulations and protocols
Restaurants in New Orleans and some other US cities require proof of vaccination.
Mario Tama / Getty Images
In federally regulated places such as airports and airplanes, masks are mandatory, as well as on regional and local transportation such as trains and subways. But actual enforcement is difficult to assess remotely in places like hotels – where a travel advisor or agent can be invaluable.
“Who has taken this time to renovate and innovate versus who has let things go haywire? I am able to keep up to date with what is actually being implemented by the hotel, as I have access to agencies that are doing frequent site inspections. It’s one thing to put your policies on your website, and it’s another to practice it.”
limited options for testing
In addition, foreign visitors need to remember that all travelers, including children aged two years and older, entering the US must also show a negative test. This is a notable difference from many countries in Europe and elsewhere, which generally exempt children under the age of 12.
Flexibility remains important
As news of the US easing entry restrictions for the travel industry celebrates, its associated complications underscore a point that industry insiders continue to emphasize: no matter where they go. However, travelers should remain flexible (booking refundable airfare, accommodation and other expenses) and as informed as possible (staying on top of the rules).
Top image: Passengers collect their luggage as they arrive at Miami International Airport on September 20, 2021. (Photo by Joe Redl/Getty Images)
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