We have not posted in months about travel during the COVID pandemic, in large part because most of our travelers are vaccinated and risks for the vaccinated have declined significantly.
However, the Delta variant is now widespread in the US and we know it is both more infectious and is more likely to cause “breakthrough” infections to those who are vaccinated. Thus, it is time for another summary of travel during COVID.
Delta Variant Updates
The Delta variant has swept the United States and much of the world. It has proven to be more infectious and more likely to cause a “breakthrough” infection of someone who is vaccinated. Here is what else we know:
- It is possible to contract the disease if you are vaccinated but your risk is much lower and the seriousness of your illness is likely to be much less.
- If you are vaccinated and do catch the Delta variant, it is likely you can infect others, so you should still take precautions
- It is still much safer to be outdoors than indoors.
- Unvaccinated people are most likely to catch and spread the virus. They are also by far the most likely to suffer hospitalization or death.
- Your risk depends on the vaccination rate of the area to which you are traveling.
- It is smart for even those vaccinated to wear masks indoors, especially in areas where infections are high or the rate of vaccination is low.
Is Travel Still Safe?
In the end, the Delta variant does push us backward in our fight against COVID and we suggest vaccinated people practice more precautions than they might have a month or two ago. However, our safety procedures still remain strong.
Because risk (to everyone) goes up when vaccination rates are lower, where you travel can be important. This makes our tours in Vermont especially appealing. Belgium and Ireland have surpassed the US vaccination rate, while Germany and Italy are about to do so.
We are still focused on doing as much as we can outdoors, which dramatically lowers the risk of infection. This includes activities and meals where possible.
We are still requiring vaccination or a negative PCR test on all of our tours, most of our travelers are vaccinated, and on most of our European tours we are requiring everyone to be vaccinated. This allows us to be in our own travel bubble, as asymptomatic vaccinated people are very unlikely to be infectious.
So, yes, we do still believe travel is safe.
What Happens Next?
Three clear trends are taking place:
- Infections are going up in the US and worldwide. Things are going to get worse before they get better in the US because of the Delta variant.
- Companies, medical institutions, and governments are joining some universities in mandating vaccines. This is what we should have done months ago and could really help us in our battle against COVID. European countries, which had been behind us, are now catching up and surpassing the US in vaccination rates.
- Some cities, states, and European countries are allowing activities (such as indoor dining or access to sporting events) to those vaccinated but not to those unvaccinated.
The end result is that things are changing rapidly but, at this time, we can still recommend travel for vaccinated people.
We will continue to monitor COVID regularly. And if we have to postpone or cancel a tour, you will receive a full credit or refund, as you choose.