Supporting Travelers Everywhere
At the Educational Travel Collaborative, making travel accessible, meaningful, and beneficial for all stakeholders is at the center of our mission. The collaborative exists to help young people explore every corner of our world in a transformative way, primarily by supporting independent travelers and leading guided travel to the world's most important destinations. That said, we are happy to share some of our general experience and expertise with the world, in the hope of inspiring and empowering future adventurers. We'll continue to build up an archive of articles that might be of use to the traveling public, and, as always, we're here to help you if you need support planning your life-transforming adventure.
Should I be traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic?
That is an intensely personal question, and is really up to you. All of us have changed our daily lives, including our travel habits, as a result of COVID-19. That said, particularly for young people in the formative stages of their academic and professional careers, waiting for eradication of the virus might not be an option. Much like the global pandemic of HIV/AIDS, COVID-19 is forcing us to re-think how we engage in a number of activities, as opposed to eschewing engagement all together.
That said, we are not unaware of the impacts of travel on global public health. First of all, we don't encourage any travel that is prohibited by local laws or ordinances. Secondly, for those who are traveling, we collaborate very closely with our global health partners to ensure that travel is as safe, and globally responsible, as possible.
The years since the discovery of COVID-19 have required a great deal of dynamism in responding to seemingly ever changing benchmarks. Effective travel planning is all about preparing for the worst likely scenario. Here's the bad news, according to public health experts, it is likely the novel coronavirus pandemic will not be contained until late 2024 or early 2025, possibly even 2028 according to some models. Young people know better than most the feeling of missing out on personally and professionally formative experiences, and exactly how long three to seven years is in terms of their development. In effect, the data is clear - if today's young people are going to see the world, they'll have to do it with COVID mitigation in mind.
The good news is, our understanding of exposure management is stabilizing and PPE is broadly available. For those who chose to travel to countries that are ready to welcome them, we are here to ensure that your travels respect our values of our organization: respecting the needs of communities visited while allowing our travelers to meet and exceed their goals. And our constant collaboration with global leaders in public health means you won't have to stress the details - we've already done it for you.
Is it even possible to travel internationally right now?
The answer for most of the world is a resounding yes! There are a few countries in the world that have banned their citizens from engaging in nonessential foreign travel, but those states are few and far between. The list of countries open to travelers varies based on that traveler's nationality, country of residence, and rapidly changing policies in a number of states. That said, there are destinations across all of the regions in which we specialize that are open to travelers - and our custom approach to designing itineraries for each client means we are in a great position to support those attempting to engage in meaningful travel at this time. Start imagining the possibilities below!
What if COVID-19 restrictions in my country or a country I intend to visit change?
There are a few answers to this. The first is that, should you need to delay your travels, the planning we engage in with you and on your behalf still has value - if you move your trip from this summer to next none of the services we've provided will be any less valuable. The second is that this is where good travel insurance comes in - it can refund your non-refundable expenses (should they exist - we'd really recommend designing your itinerary in a way that avoids these entirely, which, depending on the destination, we can usually do). In addition, your policy can cover a rapid return home or accommodation in case of changing quarantine rules, border restrictions, etc. There are a number of countries who have been quite consistent in their policies - we think of them as our "safe spots" for the upcoming travel season - check them out here!
How does vaccine availability impact travel right now?
Travel opportunities remain extremely limited for those who are not fully vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine. The continued evolution of the pandemic means that many countries are now requiring three doses of mRNA vaccines in addition to testing. As travelers, it is our responsibility to do what we can to avoid any harmful impacts of our journies on the communities we visit - vaccination and other transmission prevention measures are an important part of this. We encourage all travelers to ensure they are appropriately vaccinated for communicable diseases in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control's guidance.
Where can I go right now?
As of now, the following countries are open to fully vaccinated travelers from all or most of the world, including US passport holders. While this list is not exhaustive as we have excluded some areas which are likely to be unsafe or unreliable to visit during this time. If you're ready to plan a trip, we are here to help with the complexities of logistics during COVID, as well as work with you to maximize the value (and safety) of your time on the road.