Sunday Spontaneity Flight 01:09:22
CDC moves Costa Rica down a risk level, goat-themed vacations are a thing, and one cruise line lets passengers get married in Antarctica
It’s been another week of wondering, will that trip planned in 2020 finally happen in 2022? But, not in the pandemic-is-ruining-everything way you might think.
A little context: This past weekend, I finally got to celebrate the holidays with my side of the family after not being able to, thanks to our good ol’ friend Rona. My mom’s main present was, for the second time, showcasing photos of the Airbnbs I’ve booked for our trip to Greece (first booked for 2020 summer, now for this summer). But this time around, I’m feeling different about traveling internationally with my mom, less…fearful, which might sound odd considering Omicron. Of course, there’s the chance we’ll have to cancel our trip again (I’ve got the insurance in case that’s how it shakes out), but there’s a part of me that’s more hopeful than ever that this trip will happen, even if the world isn’t back to normal again.
We’re vaccinated. We’re boosted. We’ll probably get boosted again. We’re hopeful that this milder, highly contagious variant will help us reach immunity faster. We’re more aware that there will be other variants, and that that news shouldn’t consume our lives (especially with optimism that new strains will continue to be more mild). And as a result of all the above, we’re becoming more resilient, more open about sharing our experiences, and less fearful, which has been COVID’s largest strength thus far.
I try not to be a walking cliche, but it’s true that life is short and should be treated as such, especially as we already had to pause much of our lives for the last two years. So, as we start this new year, book that trip (with insurance), and if you ultimately have to push your plans, so be it. Let’s try to start traveling the way we used to — with confidence.
CDC updates its weekly travel recommendations: Let’s highlight the good news first (because yes, there is good news here!!). The CDC moved Azerbaijan, Moldova, Mongolia, and Romania in the right direction, from Level 4 (very high risk) to Level 3 (high), plus Costa Rica transitioned from Level 3 to Level 2 (moderate). Level 1 also has two new additions: The Philippines and Niger, a nation in West Africa. As for countries that have increased in risk, Aruba is one of the countries making headlines, moving from Level 3 to Level 4. See all other travel recommendation changes here.
The U.K. eases travel testing requirements: Health authorities in the U.K. have announced that those traveling to England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland no longer have to provide a pre-departure negative COVID test, despite the surging numbers from Omicron. The decision was made based on what was deemed an ineffective method as the infection continues to spread, and the country hopes that this will help its suffering travel industry (although only essential travel is recommended).
Disney World changes up airport transportation options: If you have a Disney World trip booked in the near future (50th Anniversary celebration, anyone?), it’s helpful to know in advance that the Magical Express is no longer in service. Disney started offering free airport transportation for all guests staying at Disney resorts in 2005, and when the discontinuation news came out last year, it broke hearts (mine). But the show must go on, and with additional transportation options listed here, it certainly will.
Fun and/or Interesting Trends
“Goatel” is the new goat-meets-travel experience: “Goatel” is exactly what it sounds like: a goat-themed vacation experience. The concept was started by Lainey Morse, the founder of the OG goat yoga, and has expanded to multiple locations where people can book an accommodation in the middle of nature — with, of course, plenty of nearby goats involved. During their stay, guests can take part in Goat Happy Hour, where they can spend time unwinding with farm animals. Check out their website for various locations, programs, and packages.
Cruise line makes Antarctica a wedding destination: Starting on Feb. 14, ocean cruise line Atlas Ocean Voyages is launching their “Happily Ever Atlas” program that allows passengers to tie the knot in Antarctica. Before this, marriage ceremonies in Antarctica were strictly symbolic and required obtaining a marriage license elsewhere, but this program changes that.
Hotels are embracing their natural surroundings more than ever: Ever since the pandemic began, travelers have been flocking to the great outdoors — and there are plenty of new accommodations that help you do just that. National Geographic just released a list of new hotels that are all about embracing their surrounding environment, many of which immerse guests into nature. Get ready to bookmark a few of these gems.
**In light of COVID numbers spiking due to Omicron, we will be skipping this week’s “Things to Do Next Weekend” section.**
Hope your first full week of 2022 brought you some joy, and that the week ahead does the same. Travel Safely (& Boldly), friends! Until next week x