The good thing about a majority of the population being vaccinated (as is the goal) is that once a person is vaccinated, it can't be taken back. Meaning, once a person has received their one-dose or two-dose vaccine, there is some level of protection after the two weeks following. It's armed with this knowledge that many travelers, still armed with a face mask and hand sanitizer as per CDC guidelines, have taken to travel sites in order to find a much-needed getaway.

Related: Vaccine Passports: All Your Questions About What, When, And Where, Answered

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The vibe that 2021 is giving is already far more hopeful and uplifting than that of 2020 and, with it, people are asking questions. Curiosity is natural and curiosity about travel, specifically, has been on the rise. At the time of writing, there are still countries under lockdown due to surging cases, and certain parts of the U.S. have not yet announced reopening dates. Therefore, people are willing to travel - with an abundance of caution - but how? And where do you start?

 

Determine Where It Is you Want to Travel

The first step to any vacation planning, even during a pandemic, is always the same: determine where it is you'd like to go. From there, do your research and determine if it's a high-risk area or not (there are interactive maps that can make this incredibly easy), if there are low-risk activities to do, and if potential accommodations can maintain a low-risk environment. If any of these raise red flags or can't be determined, well... there's no sugar-coating it. Simply don't go, or choose a new destination.

Before You Plan Anything, Go Over Every Risk

Once you've planned your destination and have checked off all the necessary low-risk boxes, it's time to determine any potential risks. This is almost like connecting the dots in a way; if taking a plane is the only option, determine the risks associated with the airline. Are they leaving the middle seat empty?

How have their safety ratings scored? If you're driving, the risk is, obviously, far less, so that's pretty much a no-brainer. When you get to the location, will you be taking an Uber or renting a car? Or, will you be relying on public transportation such as a train or bus? The latter involves higher risks than renting a car or walking so, once again, it's decision time.

Narrow Down Accommodations And Transportation Methods Accordingly

In theory, a rented vacation home is less risky than staying at a hotel that has multiple guests. Additionally, renting an RV to go on a cross-country road trip is probably less risky than hopping on a plane to get to the other side of the country. All of these things matter, except in the case of international travel where a plane is likely the only means of travel that makes sense. When booking a vacation in a low-risk country, it's worth it to try and find a hotel or rental accommodation that's near all the attractions you want to see - more about that later.

Have Passports, IDs, Vaccination Cards, And/Or Negative Tests In One Place

There's nothing worse than getting to the airport or realizing after driving for four hours that you've forgotten a form of identification. Especially with vaccine cards; these are relatively new in everyone's lives and they're not something that we're used to packing with us. It pays to keep everything squared away in a lockbox or filing cabinet so that when you're ready to go, it will be, too.

Write Down Your Itinerary Then Double-Check The Guidelines

Let's say your plan is to fly to the Bahamas. You've booked an all-inclusive resort so that everything you need is not only included in the price but is also included without leaving the premises. Let's also say that snorkeling is something you're interested in doing. Before booking an excursion for the day, determine what the guidelines are - is the company offering private snorkeling tours?

Will the staff be wearing masks (as well as other guests?) while onboard? Are things such as meals included, which could lead to more close contact? All in all, keeping things to the outdoors will generally pose lower risks, so this is something to keep in mind.

Pack The Post-Pandemic-World Essentials

Even packing looks different in today's world. Sure, beach trunks or a bathing suit and hot-weather clothes are essential - but so are extra face masks, travel-sized bottles of hand sanitizer, and maybe even an extra bag or two in which to keep used masks. These things are just as important as remembering to put sunscreen on so if you're going to travel, let there be no half-measures.

Next: Vaccinated Travelers Can Now Go To Madeira, And This Is What You Need To See While You're There