Resorts Respond to New CDC Testing Order

As you may have heard, starting Jan. 26 all travelers flying into the U.S. will need to present proof of a negative PCR, NAT or antigen COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of your flight’s departure. Or, if you have tested positive for COVID in the previous three months, you can submit a note from a health provider or public health official authorizing you to travel. You can read about the requirements in detail here: https://largaytravel.com/cdc-to-require-negative-covid-test-from-all-inbound-passengers/

Naturally, your first question might be, “How am I going to get results back in time to board my flight?” Fortunately, airlines and many of our preferred resort and tour partners are making strides to ensure travelers are able to comply with the CDC order.

American Airlines is making its VeriFLY app available to all passengers starting Jan. 23. Passengers can upload the documentation they need, including proof of a negative test, in the app. Where will you be able to get tested so you can get those results promptly?

Several Caribbean destinations and resorts are already putting testing sites in place to make things easy and convenient for their guests. Aruba has expanded testing centers near resort areas that offer appointments so visitors can meet the requirements without spending too much of their vacation working. Average turnaround time for test results is 24 hours.

The Bahamas already requires visitors to take a test on the fifth day of their stay, so guests staying between five and eight days will already meet the CDC’s requirements, and testing centers are already set up if you don’t fit in that category.

Most resorts on St. Lucia already have testing facilities, and others are setting them up to make sure their guests can get test results within the 72-hour time frame. Jamaica is working to expand its testing infrastructure to meet the rising demand, as are Belize and Costa Rica.

Sandals Resorts will make on-site complimentary tests available to guests through March 31. Karisma Hotels & Resorts will do the same for guests at its Riviera Maya, Dominican and Jamaica properties. AMResorts has the same offer at most locations. Palace Resorts in Mexico and Jamaica will have complimentary tests for up to two guests per room, with a charge of $19 per test for additional guests. The Grand Hyatt Baha Mar offers appointments for RT-PCR tests ($134.40 per person, results within 6 hours) or rapid antigen tests ($16.80 per person, result within an hour).  Playa Resorts will offer complimentary on-site testing through April 30 in Mexico and the Dominican Republic ($49 per person in Jamaica).

Grace Bay Resorts in Turks & Caicos will make RT-PCR testing available to guests for $150 per person. Testing will be at Grace Bay Club, with complimentary transportation  for guests at West Bay Club, Point Grace and the private villa collection. Appointments will be scheduled based on departure date. Case de Campo in the Dominican will offer PCR testing on-site for $150 per person with same-day results and a VIP testing lounge.

We will keep you updated on further developments as travel rules continue to change by the week and even day. Make sure to consult with your travel advisor about requirements for your trip. If you need help with your trip planning, contact Stefany at: (917) 653-9346 and or stefany@largaytravel.com or info@dmctraveltailor.com.

Check out some fun facts on Lake Como – the first stop on our hosted Italy trip

Hi,

Hope you are well.

Lake Como will be our first stop on the Lakes to Lagoon and Wine Italy trip we are hosting June 15th-23rd 2022.

Here are some fun facts about Lake Como. Enjoy!

Click here to see a day-by-day itinerary of our Italy trip

There’s nothing better than visiting Italy with a native Italian! Space is filling up. Contact Stefany with any questions at: stefany@largaytravel.com and or info@dmctraveltailor.com.

With passion and adventure,

Daniele and Stefany

Book now to travel in 2021 (or 2022)

When the calendar turns, our phones usually start ringing. January is normally a very busy time in the travel industry. People gather over the holidays, finish out the old year and turn their attention to what adventures the new year will bring. Some of them want to get away as soon as they can to get away from the cold weather (and maybe delete any unpleasant experiences with unruly relatives over the holidays from their memories). Others want to get away for spring break or plan a summer vacation. 

It’s also the time of year when cruise lines, tour operators and hotels launch specials to attract business while travelers are in the mood to get their plans set. The January wave season is typically the heaviest booking time all year. In conjunction with what’s likely to be a theme of 2021, things are kind of the same and kind of different this year. With vaccines rolling out and optimism abounding, people are feeling more confident about scheduling events in the future. The deals are there, too, with all sorts of travel suppliers running specials for future travel.

What’s different about this wave season is our travelers have a year’s worth of untaken trips taking up space in their heads and hearts. That makes space even more at a premium than in years past, especially if destinations continue to limit capacity well into the year. Populations will be getting vaccinated at different times, so certain countries will still put limitations on how many travelers are allowed and how full hotels and resorts can be.

What hasn’t changed is peoples’ love of travel. If anything, it’s become even more precious since we’ve been deprived of so many of our favorite places. That makes this January busier than ever. Each month you go later into 2021, we’re seeing more and more bookings already. Before you know it, we’ll be moving about the world again. Rules will still be different than they were before March. Some places might require proof of vaccination from travelers. Others will still require negative PCR tests in a certain time frame. More people will be traveling, which will make navigating the protocols more complicated.

As ever, we’re here to make your life — and especially your travels — easier. Our first piece of advice is to get your trip scheduled as soon as you have a set of dates you think will work. Cancelation policies are still flexible, so in most instances you’ll be able to change your dates if need be. But space is filling up fast, even for 2022. Everybody missed travel in 2020 and very few people got to do it, so it’s in demand. We’ll help you navigate the rules in your destination. We’ll also help set up the behind-the-scenes tours that will keep you out of the crowds and find the unique experiences the returning crowds don’t even know are possible. 

Safety and personal space are still part of the new luxury in 2021, along with all the other amenities and personalized service we deliver. Wave season is here, and it’s time to plan.

Rescheduling your Honeymoon and Mini-Moon

If you or a loved one had a wedding scheduled in 2020, odds are it didn’t go exactly according to plan. You might have rescheduled at least once. You might have gone ahead with the ceremony, but with a lot fewer attendees than you planned. Maybe you just made it legal and will stage the main event when it’s safe to do so. No matter what, you still have your eyes on that honeymoon.

Again, things might have changed in this department. Perhaps your preferred honeymoon destination isn’t open to Americans and you need to switch gears or just get away for a few days on a mini-moon. There are several islands in the Caribbean welcoming visitors that are great for short stays or full-length honeymoons. Looking for fun in the sun but want to stay in the Lower 48? The Florida Keys offer a touch of the Caribbean without a passport, as does the Virtuoso-preferred Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, just minutes from Miami but in a world of its own.

Not everybody wants a beach getaway, of course, and there are plenty of other options out there. Skiers can hit the slopes at any number of resorts in the Rockies of Colorado and Utah, or keep things closer to home with runs at Jay Peak and Killington in Vermont or New Hampshire’s Loon Mountain and Bretton Woods. The national parks make for excellent romantic destinations throughout the country, showing off their natural beauty and featuring some great glamping and cabin options for just the two of you.

If you’re looking to do the big trip now, there are few trips more romantic than a safari, which you can do in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda is a possibility, and you can cap off your African or Middle Eastern trip (the UAE are open) with a stop in the Maldives. North of the Sahara, the wonders of Egypt and the oases of Morocco are welcoming Americans.

Most of Europe is closed to Americans or requires a long quarantine, but Croatia—a fabulous honeymoon destination—is not. Visitors are also allowed in Turkey, from the history of Istanbul to the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia and the seaside resorts of Bodrum.

Across the Pacific, French Polynesia is welcoming travelers to the gems of Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea, some of the most romantic islands on Earth. Closer to home, several countries in Central America are open, as well as Peru, Colombia, Chile and Brazil.

Whenever and wherever you’re planning to go, consult with your travel advisor on COVID-19 entry requirements, travel insurance and potential quarantines in your destination. If you’re waiting until your favorite destination is back open, we’re thrilled to help you get some plans in place now. With flexible cancelation and airline change policies, there are fewer and fewer penalties for changing your plans these days.

The Safe Return of Cruising

If you’re a cruiser, you love cruising and probably already have one booked for 2021. If you’re not a cruiser, you might be thinking there are some deals to be had. To an extent, you’re right, but you shouldn’t wait too long to make your booking for next year. That’s because demand is sky-high (thanks to all those dedicated cruisers). With the CDC likely to extend its no-sail order for ships with more than 250 passengers through the end of the year, most lines aren’t restarting until 2021. And when they do start, they won’t be at 100% occupancy. So just like with premium hotels and tours, space will be limited and if you don’t book early you could end up waiting for a year or two.

During their time away, the cruise lines have been busy putting together panels of experts in infectious disease, public health, hospitality and maritime operations to ensure they can deliver safe and fun experiences on the high seas. The measures they’re implementing will begin before you even board the ship, with enhanced screening in the terminal before passengers board and negative COVID tests likely to be required. The traditional muster drills at the beginning of the cruise will be done electronically, either via app or in-cabin TV to avoid gathering in large crowds. Masks will be required in public areas, and extra space will be allotted for distancing in restaurants and at shows.

Cleaning protocols will be stringent, with every surface throughout the ship routinely sanitized. Even before the pandemic, Lindblad Expeditions introduced the industry’s first self-disinfecting fleet, powered by the ACT CleanCoat system that breaks down unwanted microbes via a photocatalytic process.

If you want to secure space but still not sure how you’ll feel about cruising next year, that’s OK. Cancellation policies are incredibly flexible, with most giving you until 48 or even 24 hours before sailing to change your mind without losing money. The cruise lines and your advisor want you to feel comfortable, not pressured. If you’re not sure what your schedule will look like next year—and let’s be honest, who among us is?—it’s easy to adjust your cruise dates without penalty, so long as there’s space.

Remember, that no-sail order applies only to ships with 250 or more passengers. Small ships, already a fantastic way to have a more intimate experience and get into smaller ports the big ships can’t even reach, can still sail. That means small ships such as those from UnCruise Adventures, SeaDream Yacht Club, Azamara and others are sailing, and adding some unique itineraries to their repertoires.

Cruises will be back and better than ever. The question is, will there be any space left by the time you book?

Dream Travel Destinations: Botswana, Africa

Is Africa one of your dream travel destinations? If so, Botswana should be on your list.

Seeing the animals from the water offers a different amazing vantage point. I did a land and boat safari in Chobe National Park when I was in Botswana and the highlight was seeing so many elephants playing in the water on the boat safari. The Okavango Delta is a great spot for a safari in a mokoro which is an adventure! Botswana can be paired with Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and or South Africa.

Keep in mind, it is best to plan at least a year in advance for Africa as many of the top lodges fill up quickly as they are limited in space. When you are ready, I am excited to plan your African adventure! Email Stefany at: stefany@largaytravel.com and or info@dmctraveltailor.com.

With passion and adventure,

Stefany