Travel Tips for 2021: How will this summer’s trips be different?


It’s been a grueling, stressful year.

When summer travelers take to the roads and skies once again in 2021, their trips will have been a long time coming.

The variety of wanderlust that so many weary sun seekers have caught even has its own official designation: “Revenge Travel”.

But what lands are safe to explore in the aftermath of COVID-19 travel restrictions? How about destinations that still have them in place?

In the following article, I have endeavored to recommend the safest destinations and travel tips for tourists who wish to make the most of their time off this season by taking in a new place.


Regional destinations

For those who still feel most squeamish about traveling because of the virus, or for families with children too young to be vaccinated yet, a Midwestern road trip may be the safest option.

  • Starting in Chicago, no staycation is complete without enjoying a walk around Millennium Park and taking in the (now reopened) lakefront. The Immersive Van Gogh exhibit at the Lighthouse ArtSpace, and the Monet display at the Art Institute are two top-notch attractions. Enjoy some fun in the sun at the rooftop pools of the Hoxton and the Doubletree Mag Mile hotels. Try some classic American fare at the new Hyatt Place Wicker Park Kennedy Rooftop restaurant. Or, watch the boats sail by on the Chicago River while digging into some fantastic Italian food at Pizzeria Portofino.
  • It’s hard to beat Wisconsin for midwesterners who crave a quick getaway. Lake Geneva is my area of choice. Big Foot Beach State Park is perfect for camping and swimming. Don’t feel like pitching a tent? The Grand Geneva Resort, the Ridge, and Timber Ridge Lodge & Waterpark (for younger kids), are all splendid options. I recommend the nearby Grand Cafe for its snow crab dinners as well as its decadent and ever-evolving dessert menu.


National destinations

Many families, mine included, switched our summer reservations to someplace inside the 50 states out of safety concerns. If your previous international itinerary included an all-inclusive resort, Puerto Rico seems to be the only US territory that offers them (with few exceptions).

  • Having long been closed or otherwise lacking in attendance, America’s amusement parks have been struggling mightily in recent times. However, the nation’s biggest and brightest attractions have stepped up to ensure their guests’ safety. All Disney theme parks in Orlando, for example, are limiting their capacity to cut down on crowds. Speaking from experience, be sure to check the park pass availability before booking a flight or hotel. More spaces for each date open up periodically, so keep hitting that refresh button.
  • For nature lovers, there has never been a better time to venture off the beaten path. Picking the right destination during this era involves checking to be sure that your location of choice is fully open to the public. Yosemite, Starved Rock, and Waianapanapa Parks all have new restrictions in place, while Yellowstone and the Everglades do not. Stay up to date with the National Park Service Website for all these locations and more.

International destinations

Let’s face it: when leaving the country in the foreseeable future, one must be prepared to sit through at least one COVID test and review the very latest travel advisories. After all, the international atmosphere is still quite tense.

The ever-changing Do Not Travel list issued by the US government included Canada, Mexico, and Germany as of late April. Japan also reinstated its emergency prohibition on nonessential travel. Those wishing to visit India’s bustling cities of Dubai and Mumbai will be similarly disappointed. Unless you’re vaccinated, visiting these locations, for the time being, is unwise.

  • Leaving the country is undeniably more complicated than traveling domestically, but may still be feasible, nonetheless. In Mexico, for example, most hotels offer complimentary instant COVID tests for their guests, since health authorities there require it every 3-5 days for all tourists. Upon returning home, travelers must self-quarantine for a week after the trip.
  • President Biden has spoken of creating a “Vaccination Passport” in order to ensure that no one entering and leaving the US is a potential super-spreader. A few major airlines have expressed support for the idea, which has yet to come to fruition. In the meantime, the E. U. has yet to open up their borders to American tourists. Scenic water destinations such as Aruba, Costa Rica, and the Bahamas, however, remain open

Wherever you go this summer, be sure to always pay attention to the latest travel guidelines from the CDC and bear their safety recommendations in mind. Happy travels!