Preparing to Travel Again

We’ve been living with the COVID-19 pandemic for a year now, and it’s clear that we’re all experiencing it differently. Some people have already had the vaccine and are ready to get back out into the world sooner rather than later. Others are still maintaining a stricter, tighter “pandemic pod” and waiting for numbers to decrease before they can even contemplate loosening those boundaries. 

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Wherever you are on that spectrum, you are probably starting to wonder when you might be able to travel again, where you might be able to go, and what’s going to happen when those floodgates open and everyone rushes to make up for lost time. The answer to that last question is pretty easy, actually.  When we reach the tipping point where the general public feels travel is safe again, there’s going to be a tidal wave. A little bit of advance planning now will help you stay ahead of that curve!

To help with that, we’ve put together our suggestions for where you can travel now, where you can most likely travel later this year, and why you should do some advance planning now for bucket list trips for 2022.

I am already packed.

If you’re ready to get out of here right now (or within the next couple of months), your best bets are Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Costa Rica. Some testing requirements are in place (both in the various destinations and here in the US for your return), but the rules are easily complied with.

(Road to Hana, Hawaii – Photo Credit: Annie via Shared Adventures Travel)

a swim-up bar at a glistening blue pool in mexico
lush green mountains of Hawaii an a blue bay on the road to hana

Resorts are maintaining strict safety protocols. Occupancy is at reduced capacity. And there are warm breezes and sandy beaches ready to make you forget your pandemic problems.

(El Dorado Maroma, Riviera Maya, Mexico – Photo Credit: Annie via Shared Adventures Travel)

I’ll be ready by the fall.

If you need a few more months to get vaccinated and feel comfortable about making travel plans, that’s okay. There are some destinations that are still working out their plans too, and they should be ready for you by the Fall. I would expect much of Europe to open back up to Americans by Sept/Oct. French Polynesia, which has already been welcoming tourists but is on a brief pause right now, should also be back up to speed before the fall. And you might even see cruises begin again by then.

If you want to snag an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora, or a villa in Tuscany, you can start planning now to stay ahead of the curve.

(Top:Passau, Germany – Photo Credit: Annie via Shared Adventures Travel)

(Bottom: Moorea French Polynesia – Photo Credit: Meagan via Shared Adventures Travel)

I need to plan something BIG for next year!

If you’ve had to postpone big celebrations in 2020 and 2021, you’re not alone. There’s going to be a LOT of people looking to celebrate milestone birthdays and anniversaries in 2022, and the big “bucket list” trips are going to be popular. Things like African safaris, European river cruises, Machu Picchu, the Galapagos, and Australia/New Zealand always require some advance planning, but that will be even more true now. 

(Kapama Private Game Reserve, South Africa – Photo Credit: Annie via Shared Adventures Travel)

It’s never too early to start thinking about your timing, wish list, and budget so that you’re ready to take advantage of any special pricing offered THIS year for big trips in 2022.

(Sydney, Australia – Photo Credit: Liz Picurro via @following_liz)

Please be sure to share even your tentative plans with us now so that we can keep an eye out for sales and promotions that you might be interested in. The world is slowly opening back up to us, and when you’re ready to take advantage of that, we’re ready to help!

Travel Trends for 2021 and Beyond

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Travel interest is up, vacation inquiries are increasing, and it’s clear that people are feeling hopeful. As virus numbers decline, and vaccination percentages increase, we’ll see more and more people getting back out into the world. But travel will no doubt look different than it has before.

We’ll likely be wearing masks, taking tests, and ready to show proof of vaccinations for the next year or two. But what else will be different about the travel landscape? This question is top of mind right now for travelers, those of us in the travel industry, and anyone in the media who covers travel trends. We’ve done a quick survey of what the various “in-the-know” sources are predicting, and here are the trends that seem to be a common thread:

A Focus on Hygiene, Health & Wellness

The pandemic underlined the need for excellent cleanliness standard, and travel suppliers across the board stepped up their protocols in 2020 to ensure our safety. Refreshingly, it looks like health will continue to be a priority for these companies. Hotels are improving and expanding their contactless check-in. Airlines will likely continue their thorough cleaning schedules. Both are elevating staff training and using improved cleaning tools. How companies demonstrate their commitment to our health and safety will be a top priority when deciding who to travel with in the future.

This past year has also brought increased stress levels and a host of mental health challenges. We expect that 2021 travelers will use their vacations to focus on relaxation, rejuvenation and restoring a sense of well-being. From hosting themed wellness retreats, to providing more outdoor experiences, hotels and resorts are committed to finding ways to take care of guests’ mental and physical health.

Nature & Space

aerial Salish lodge and spa sitting atop the large waterfall in washington state

The classic road-trip vacation gained huge popularity in 2020 as a way to enjoy nature, and still have some control over your health bubble. The need for wide-open spaces remains high among those considering where to travel in the coming year. Remote locations, of course, make it easier to social distance, but beyond that, breathing in some fresh air and reconnecting with nature does wonders for your mental and physical health.

( Photo Credit: Salish Lodge & Spa – read more about the Lodge and other luxury remote resorts here!)

a couple sitting on the back terrace of their overwater bungalow with private jacuzzi and direct access to the sea in the Maldives

Remote locations are only part of this trend. There is also a growing interest in single-residence accommodations. Everything from private villas, and stand-alone casitas to unique spaces like tree-houses or over-water bungalows. Single-residence spaces add an element of exclusivity and luxury to the travel experience, and also make it easier to maintain distance between groups. Many resorts and hotels have committed to offering more stand-alone lodging options, along with private excursions and experiences. Mixing wellness and privacy with much-needed fresh air, places outside of the big tourist hubs will be the top destinations of 2021.

(Photo Credit: via Unsplash)

Green & Sustainable Travel

The impact of over-tourism on delicate ecosystems has been an ongoing concern and, with the COVID lockdowns, a window of opportunity opened for local governments to take action towards better conservation. Moving forward, you’re likely to see destinations encouraging you to try new and different sights or experiences, rather the perennial favorites that attract big crowds. They’ll be making better use of their spaces and spreading out the visitor traffic. Iceland, for example, is opening a new “Sky Lagoon” to give visitors a second option to the oft-crowded Blue Lagoon. Destinations are also encouraging people to slow down, stay a bit longer, and explore and connect with the location in a deeper way. This is the perfect opportunity for travelers to explore unknown corners and hidden gems. Locals are taking this chance to think about how to raise the quality of tourism, and travelers are looking for companies and destinations that are eco-conscious and are making a demonstrably positive impact on the environment.

Local & Community Based Travel

Being forced to slow down and stay inside has certainly taught us to appreciate the little things in life. There is a new focus on community (at home and abroad), and travelers are increasingly looking for unique, authentic, local experiences.

local Thai folk with honeymoon couple

We expect continued interest in things like taking a cooking class, picking up a local craft, or learning more about the region from a local perspective. Personalized experiences that engage with the community, and that feed profits back into the local economy, will take priority.

(Photo Credit: Marissa via Annie’s Escapes – you can read all about Marissa & Derek’s Thailand honeymoon escape here!)

Companies like Hyatt and Hilton have created programs to support their local communities, and others are likely to follow. There is a real sense of caring and support from future travelers. And they are holding companies equally accountable for their impact on and connection to the surrounding local community.

Our overall sense is that the way we travel in the future may see us traveling more slowly, with more purpose and consciousness. Focusing on our own physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing as well as that of the places and communities we visit. If you are excited to talk about these trends or to start planning a new adventure let us know! We can’t wait to see what the future brings!

Navigating Post-Covid-19 Travel

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Navigating the world of travel post-COVID-19 can be confusing. The world is slowly opening up but where can you actually travel right now? What is your risk once you arrive, and what checkpoints and procedures will you have to go through? Every country has different rules, and it can be a full-time job just trying to stay on top of the most current information. Fortunately, there are some very user-friendly tools available to help you plan your next trip safely. Below you’ll find our top four sites for post-COVID-19 travel information and what each one provides you with.


[Screenshot of the COVID-19 map on]

The CDC website is one we have all probably become familiar with in the past months. In addition to providing sanitation and containment tips, you can see case-count data for every state on the CDC map . It will tell you the number of cases in a given state within the last seven days. They also provide advice on how to stay safe during road-trips and suggestions for domestic travel safety. This is the first website to check when you are considering a road-trip or other domestic travel. 


covid-19 sitata world map
[Sitata’s covid-checker world map]

Sitata is both an online map and an app. It’s been around since before the pandemic but I think we can all appreciate its usefulness just a little bit more right now. On the Sitata website, they have an interactive COVID-19 map. The map not only shows the active case density per 100,000 but also gives their own risk rating. It’s especially helpful to have their interpretation of the case-count data and an objective, quantifiable risk rating for each country you’re considering. 

The app itself was developed by Dr. Ronald St. John, who was Canada’s first director-general of emergency preparedness, and that background is evident. It uses computer algorithms and a 24/7 news feed to monitor outbreaks and other safety concerns. You can you store your entire itinerary and the app will update you on health concerns, safety issues, and even transit strikes for the specific areas you’re visiting. Additionally, it provides quick-access emergency numbers and doctors’ information should you need it. If you pay to upgrade to the pro version, the app also offers to notify your friends and family when you’ve landed, gives you real-time flight updates, and provides terminal or gate changes. As we start to travel again and are more conscious of what could happen, this app is a great tool to keep our minds at peace.


[travel entry restrictions map by country on]

You may only think of as a search engine, but their entire COVID-19 section is a great resource. The most helpful piece, which provides up-to-date information about travel restrictions around the world, is their interactive COVID-19 map . The map shows you the different “phases” each country is in, their current active case-count, and any specific travel restrictions or quarantines in place. A few of the countries have a whole page dedicated to their quarantine and border policies. Kayak is a user-friendly resource for an at-a-glance color-coded update on which countries are available for travel. When you’re starting to consider traveling internationally, the Kayak map is a great place to start.


[IATA’s travel regulations map]

The IATA Travel Centre is a great centralized source of information about international travel restrictions and regulations. They have a travel regulations map, which provides you with detailed information from each of the countries’ own governments. It doesn’t focus on case count or risk factor — it just gives you the facts about the restrictions, listing the overall rules and all the exceptions. The language is a bit more technical, but it covers each type of traveler and all the possible exceptions. IATA Travel Centre provides a quick, easy tool to check your passport and visa requirements. You can also check the customs and pet information for each country. This is a simpler way to check up on the regulations for other countries without trying to slog through each government’s website. They update the information regularly — just keep in mind when you’re looking at it that the “date published” is written in the European fashion — day/month/year.

The travel restrictions are ever-evolving, and if you are making travel plans the burden is on you to stay updated. Using these sites will empower you to decide when and where you feel most comfortable traveling in the new post-pandemic world. And contacting Annie’s Escapes will help you make it happen!

You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)