I am just so happy. Have you seen the news? Could this be the start of the end of the Pandemic? The United Kingdom is dropping Covid testing for arriving international travelers, and the European Union's new relaxed travel recommendations have officially started as of today! You can read more about that here if you would like.
This is like music to my ears. They are also removing the mask mandate (except on public transports and such) which is also great news. I saw visions in my head of life going back to normal after two years of wondering if it ever would.
The world is opening back up people, it’s time to travel again!
ASTA (American Society of Travel Advisors) petitioned the White House Covid-19 Response team this week urging the administration to drop the re-entry requirements too. ASTA is the power house behind our industry. The re-entry to the USA restrictions is the biggest single barrier to a full recovery of international travel. So, finger's crossed.
Many people are still hesitant to travel outside the US. For that reason, I'd like to share where in our beautiful country you may want to consider visiting.
As of Tuesday, over 63 percent of the U.S. population was fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, but some states and territories have inoculated a bigger share of residents than others. Some countries and a couple of domestic destinations — San Francisco and Hawaii’s Maui County — have started to require proof of booster shots for indoor activities and border crossings.
While high rates of vaccination may not prevent visitors from catching omicron, the statistic can be used as an indicator of how a state’s population is confronting the virus. Federal rules for international travel to the United States apply to foreign visitors, and various attractions may also have their own mask or vaccine requirements, so be sure to check before you go.
Here are 7 of the most-vaccinated places you can visit in the US.
Vermont has the highest vaccination rate of any state in the country, with 79.4 percent of its population fully vaccinated. Covid-19 hospitalizations in Vermont (16 per 100,000 people) are the lowest in the country. There are no state-specific travel restrictions, per the Vermont Department of Health.The Green Mountain State is known for outdoor winter activities such as skiing and snowboarding, with a range of ski resorts and trails to choose from.
Other low-risk attractions include a ski and snowshoe trail at Greensboro’s Highland Center for the Arts, which showcases art in an open-air gallery, or walking and hiking trails at historic sites like Mount Independence in Orwell, which offers six miles of archaeological sites and views of Lake Champlain to explore, even in the winter while the rest of the site is closed.
2. Puerto Rico
The U.S. territory in the Caribbean has similar numbers to Vermont with a 79.4 percent vaccination rate and 16 hospitalizations per 100,000 people.
As of Feb. 2, fully vaccinated travelers will no longer have to present a negative coronavirus test to visit. They will still need to upload proof of vaccination to Puerto Rico’s travel declaration form portal.
As part of Puerto Rico’s easing restrictions, unvaccinated travelers must present a negative result to bypass a seven-day quarantine, or they can take one within 48 hours of arrival. Children 5 years and older must show proof of vaccination or a negative test. Those between ages 2 and 4 must provide a negative test result, while those under 2 are exempt.
Puerto Rico is home to numerous beaches and three of the world’s five bioluminescent bays, where kayakers can see the water burst with light as they paddle. The U.S. Forest Service’s only tropical rainforest, El Yunque, boasts hiking trails and waterfalls, and a walking tour through Old San Juan celebrates the city’s 500-year history.
New England as a whole has seen a large share of fully vaccinated residents. In addition to Vermont, vaccination rates are near the top of the country in Rhode Island (79 percent), Maine (77.5), Connecticut (76.6) and Massachusetts (76.5). Connecticut, which has seen a 26 percent week-over-week decrease in hospitalizations, does not have any travel restrictions in place, per its coronavirus website.
Stroll through charming towns such as Mystic and Essex, or visit wineries and vineyards around the state as part of the CT Winter Wine Trail. If you’re feeling adventurous, try guided ice climbing with Ascent Climbing or snow-biking at Middlefield’s Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort.
Hawaii’s vaccination rate is 75.9 percent. As part of the state’s Safe Travels program, domestic travelers 5 years and older must provide proof of vaccination or a negative test to bypass a mandatory five-day quarantine. There are no additional requirements for travel between islands.
Gov. David Ige (D) told Hawaiian news outlet KHON2 last week that the state will soon add a booster-shot requirement for travelers to bypass quarantine, but he did not give a specific date for the change. The option to provide a negative test result would remain.
In addition to relaxing beachside, travelers can explore attractions such as Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, home to the summits of Kilauea and Mauna Loa, two of the world’s most active volcanoes, located on the Big Island. Head to Gunstock Ranch, a working, Western-style ranch on Oahu, for activities such as horseback riding and off-roading, or take a ride with Paradise Helicopters.
5. New York
New York has a 74.1 percent vaccination rate and has seen a 25 percent decrease in hospitalizations from last week. There are no state-specific travel restrictions for visitors, according to its health department.
If you are headed to New York City, consider open-air options like a walk on converted rail line the High Line or a visit to Little Island, a park located in the Hudson River. But the state has plenty more to offer, like the 750-mile Empire State Trail, where travelers can hike, bike and more, and ample other opportunities for skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling.
Currently, California does not have any travel restrictions or requirements, according to the state’s covid website, and 69.1 percent of its population is fully vaccinated. Hospitalizations (35 per 100,000 people) are below the national figure.
Travelers can take advantage of California’s nine national parks, which is more than any other state. Check out Sequoia and Kings Canyon, where you’ll find mountains, canyons and the biggest trees in the world. If you feel like hitting the water, try surfing at beaches like San Diego’s La Jolla Shores. The state’s cities have plenty of open-air options, from scenic Runyon Canyon Park in Los Angeles to San Francisco’s Mission Dolores Park.
Colorado’s vaccination rate is 68 percent. The state has no statewide travel restrictions in place, but it does advise visitors to respect public health guidance, which may change from county to county, per the state’s covid website.
Visitors can unwind and enjoy mountain views at Iron Mountain Hot Springs in Glenwood Springs, or head to Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, home to North America’s tallest sand dunes, for climbing and sand sledding. You could also go mountain biking at Lunch Loop Bike Park in Grand Junction, while visitors to the Mile High City can take in street art via the Denver Graffiti Tour.
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Sybarite Scoop, a weekly travel blog with travel insight, inspiration and more