In an article I wrote for TravelPulse last week about the latest travel warnings issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, I noted it would be easier to count the few nations and territories that were not on the list than the plethora of countries that were in the CDC’s crosshairs.
I wasn’t trying to be glib; there’s nothing even remotely humorous about a pandemic that has caused millions of deaths over the last two years. Rather, I was trying to point out the disparity between countries that the CDC considers safe, and the areas that they don’t.
But it got me wondering: At this point, do people even care about the CDC travel warnings anymore?
In a word … Nope.
Not at all.
If these travel warnings are giving travelers pause and concern, they are in the definite minority. I say that from personal conviction, from the thoughts of friends and family and from trusted travel advisors.
We are exactly two years removed from the onset of the pandemic. There was the initial period of almost nine months of trying to evade the virus, the subsequent introduction of the vaccines, the Delta variant and the Omicron variant.
Now the number of cases is dropping, we have a better understanding of how to deal with the virus, and even the CDC revised its guidance here in the U.S. to the point where 70 percent of the country can ditch the masks.
I won’t say the warnings are being ignored now; tolerated is probably the better word. We’re taking these ‘do not travel’ advisories under advisement, for lack of a better term.
Oh, heck, who are we kidding. We’re throwing caution to the wind because, well, it’s been too long, and we are better equipped to handle the outbreak.
“People don’t care,” said TravelPulse contributor and travel advisor Tammy Levent, owner of Elite Travel Management Group in Palm Harbor, Fla. “I have full families traveling together overseas.”
Tammy added that not only are people traveling, but they are spending. A lot – including taking multiple-city European trips. Her most popular itineraries right now include London-Dublin-Scotland, as well as Egypt-Italy-Greece.
“I have a lot of customers definitely traveling quite a bit and they are spending the money they didn’t spend the last two years,” Tammy said.
In my own circle, I have four family members heading to Morocco and three friends just days away from a trip to Vietnam.
Me? Describe it any way you want – apathy, indifference, fearlessness, thoughtlessness, whatever – but I have my own bucket list item. I have seen 143 Bruce Springsteen concerts over my 57 years, but none in a foreign country. I have only read and seen video clips of some of his amazing shows overseas.
If and when he tours again, my plane tickets and my concert tickets will be booked for Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, known more colloquially as San Siro, in Milan.
Because, well … I just don’t care about CDC warnings anymore.