How’s that proverbial destination bucket list coming along? Crossed any off lately ? Added new pins to that travel map? If there’s a heavy pause here, high time to think about making a move.
The world seems to have thrust open its post pandemic doors while throwing its Corona weary arms in the air. Zero to sixty. I’ve had a front row seat to this full throttle resurgence of fervent flyers eager to regain lost ground, having had two years obliterated from travel diaries.
Cruise ships are dotting international waters again, albeit with new, strict protocols. Last month, I sailed the Regal Princess on a seven night cruise. We boarded in Rome, stopping in Naples, Heraklion, Crete (pictured above), Kusadasi, Istanbul, Mykonos, docking in Athens. Though Italy had dropped its Covid testing and contact tracing mandates, Princess required a negative test, full vaccine regimen including booster, with masking onboard and constant sanitation reminders. Most cruise lines are still requiring vaccinations ( with boosters) and/or pre-sail testing. These high standards aim to maintain optimal passenger health and safety while keeping their boats afloat. If it ensures cruising regains normal operations, I’m good with that.
Though each country I visited- Italy, Greece, Turkey- had its own rules, they were spottily enforced locally. In waving off our masks, a Kusadasi spice merchant wryly declared: we’re all gonna die of something. Indeed. We prefer it not happen 4000 miles from home.
Having traipsed around Europe these past few months, it’s evident that travel itchy feet are globetrotting again. Bratislava cafes are bustling while Athens merchants cheerfully engage throngs of tourists, eager to strike deals. Munich’s Glockenspiel is back to drawing crowds for its midday musicals. From London to Mykonos and beyond, hotel managers are smiling again, greeting happy wanderers. Smiling but anxious.
Still ramping up to pre-pandemic levels, travel and tourism workers are in hot demand and short supply. Airlines and tour operators are churning out trainees at warp speed. Hospitality staffers are working overtime. Transfer operators in particular are experiencing severe driver shortages. Inexperienced new hires take time to live up to expected service levels. Pack your patience.
Given high season travel is well under way, strategic planning is smart and advantageous. If the current trend continues with packed flights and lengthy TSA snake lines, there may be no off season this year, especially with the recent termination of inbound US testing. European cities are overflowing with tourists learning that even with priority status, disruptions are now a way of life.
Savvy adventurers are well served to consider off peak periods and underserved locations, smaller cities. Like castles? Instead of Neuschwanstein, consider the Rhine Valley, chockablock with medieval monuments. Wine lover? Think Hungary, with its lesser known but sensational vintages. Love Italy? Head to the hills of Piemonte, ablaze with colorful mountain villages producing world class wines, cheeses, and truffles.
Been procrastinating? There’s a trip for every travel dream. The joy of my job is turning ideas into rich experiences and magnificent memories. Buy the shoes. Eat the cake. Take the trip. Live the dream!
Failure is not misssing the target, it’s never taking the shot,