THURSDAY, JUNE 11, 2020 --
Summer's here and you probably can't go there. In fact, you probably can't even get there. And you might not really want to go there anyway.
I don't mean to be opaque, but I've spent the last week researching rules and restrictions and airline routes for traveling to cool places this summer. My conclusion: I know less now than when I started researching. I have no idea where you can go or where might be worth a visit just now.
Sure, some places are easy. Hawaii this week extended its mandatory 14-day self-quarantine
through the end of July. So you are not going there. Australia and New Zealand are closed, so you're not going there. Hong Kong couldn't be blunter: Keep moving, bub. Or as the Hong Kong Tourism Board
says: "All non-Hong Kong residents coming from overseas countries and regions by plane will be denied entry." Japan was expecting to welcome the world to the Summer Olympics in July. Instead, as Dylan once wrote, sign on the door says no company allowed
Canada and the United States are expected to extend their "no non-essential travel" treaty through July, so Vancouver for Chinese food and Montreal for a faux French experience seem off. Britain launched its 14-day self-quarantine this week, so unless you want to sit in an overpriced London hotel room watching reruns of Friends
and The Big Bang Theory
and wondering what happened to quality British television, England's off the board, too. Israel is a 14-day quarantine country complete with a form
Then it starts getting complicated and convoluted. European Union countries--you know, the cool-kid places like France and Spain and Italy and Greece--are slowly opening the borders. They're squabbling among themselves, of course--What fun is a Europe that isn't arguing mindlessly?--but seem committed to reopening for most everyone starting July 1. But "most everyone" may not include U.S. arrivals, so, you know, I hope your supply of Ouzo holds out. (I'm in trouble, frankly, because my stockpile of not-sold-in-America Lavazza A Modo Mio coffee pods is running low.)
China? Um, no. The United States and China are fighting over flight schedules, so basically you can't get there. South America and Africa are now staring down their own Coronavirus outbreaks, so those continents are a bad bet.
So I honestly, seriously, don't know what to tell you about a nice summer holiday. I mean, other than we should have listened to Bob McGarvey two months ago when he suggested cancel everything in 2020
Of course, my job is to help, so I've gotta do something here. I mean, I'm no Miracle Max from Princess Bride
. I can't yell "We're closed!" and slam a little door in your face. I mean, I could, but, c'mon, we're all friends here.
WHERE TO START
Assuming you know where you would like to go, there are two sources that have popped up to track Coronavirus-related restrictions. IATA, the global airline trade group, has created a TravelCentre
page that draws on its relationship with Timatic, usually a passport and visa information service. The data doesn't always seem up-to-date, however. The reverse seems to apply to a start-up operation called Can I Travel
. It's got an easy interface and seems to have current information. But it is not good on upcoming changes.
Another information route might be to check with the country or region's tourism board. Obviously, tourist boards have a vested interest in getting you to visit. They will put the happiest face on any rules and regulations. (Well, you know, unless it's the Hong Kong Tourism Board, the Miracle Max of tourist operations.) But they do not benefit by lying or misleading you. So if they say you can't come, believe it. If they say you can, don't suspend your disbelief. How do you find the appropriate tourist board? Start at this site
to find what you need.
THE CRUISE CALCULATION
You're kidding, right? This year? Without a vaccine? I don't care how much you love cruising, you ain't doing it this summer. End of discussion.
ISLAND IN YOUR EYES
Relatively speaking, the Caribbean has been spared the worst of Coronavirus. But the region has been slow reopening and scattered in its approach. Barbados, for example, has had no travel ban at all. Yet the government of Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire only decided yesterday to open to U.S. visitors. (That starts July 10.) If you absolutely must get away this summer and it has to be over a sea, try the Caribbean. I'm generally not a fan of the Caribbean during the hurricane season, but Coronavirus beggars can't be choosers. Start with this site
as a jumping-off point to examine the rules and regulations. One warning: Lots of airline service from the United States has been dropped. JetBlue Airways, one of the big players, isn't currently flying anywhere in the region.
HOME FOR THE (SUMMER) HOLIDAYS
There is an obvious reality here: This is a See the USA in Your Chevrolet
summer. Or, you know, a Tesla. Although there are some restrictions--USA Today
has a list
--an old-fashioned American road trip might be the ticket this summer. Yes, early-opening states are experiencing the Coronavirus spike many of us fretted about--but you'd know about that without having to sift through piles of possibly unreliable data. You can head to The New York Times state-by-state page
. If you want a deeper dive, John Hopkins allows you to search by county
. Yes, much will be closed or cancelled--the Iowa State Fair pulled the plug this week on 2020 festivities--but how long has it been since you loaded up the Chevy, hit the road and went Hampton Inn-hopping?
By the way, if you have a '53 Chevy like Dinah Shore was plugging in the song, please contact me. I have always wanted to own a car built in the year I was born.