I know this won’t be the most popular post and I’m sure to get some nasty feedback, especially from travel providers. Listen, I’m in the business of promoting travel, too. So when people aren’t traveling, I’m not making money. I lost 95% of my income last year and it only started to crawl back a few months ago.
But money has never been that important to me, as long as we’re healthy and I can pay the bills to provide for my family. I also think it’s more important to give advice that errs on the side of caution than the other way around.
Believe me, travel is in my blood. I long for the days when I can start crisscrossing the globe again and get paid for it but right now just isn’t the time.
In June, when everything was looking great, we took our first family trip EVER! That’s because my wife, son and now two-year-old daughter stopped flying in May of 2019 when Natalie was in the late stages of her pregnancy. Olivia was born in August but we took the advice of our doctor and postponed travel with a newborn until after flu season and the baby had built up her immune system and gotten her first set of vaccines. Then COVID hit and the rest is history.
We had hoped to be traveling all around by now but instead, we’re buckling up again since our kids are unvaccinated and vulnerable. No one knows what the long term COVID-19 effects are and I’m not taking chances with my kids.
I’ve had multiple people who live in Hawaii (including relatives) ask me to tell my readers/listeners not to go to Hawaii right now. And that’s not just because it’s crazy crowded and really expensive. It’s because hospitals are filling up fast.
Here’s a quote from one of Oahu’s local TV stations (KITV Channel 4): “Unfortunately, we’re seeing more and more COVID cases in the community and more and more patients in the hospitals. Across our organization, we have 135 so higher than we had a year ago at our peak. We don’t see that number going down soon.”
Personally, I wouldn’t be going anywhere where’s there’s a not a lot of hospital beds, no matter if there’s a pandemic going on or not. But especially when COVID is running rampant. What happens if you get in a car accident or have a heart attack?
So how do you find out what the numbers are? There are a few ways:
1. Use Google
Google the destination and the word “hospitalizations” or “COVID rates”. I just did that with Honolulu and the State of Hawai’i – Department of Health Disease Outbreak Control Division | COVID-19 website came up. It shows case numbers, which are clearly skyrocketing and there’s a summary dashboard that includes Maps, Epidemic Curve, County Rates, and Testing Data.
2. Read The Local News
Check the local newspapers or TV station websites and see what their top stories are. For KHON2 (Channel 2 news), their top story reads: We’re closer to the point where we will run out of capacity’: Hawaii health officials urge no gatherings. One of the quotes in the story is from the Healthcare Association of Hawaii president stating, “We’re getting closer and closer to the point where we really will run out of capacity in the state.” Gulp.
I can’t imagine Hawaii not implementing stricter entry requirements like instituting mandatory testing or quarantine again, which will kill tourism. But that’s why I think it’s best that travelers just start going to other places that aren’t being hammered right now.
Speaking of other places, a Twitter follower from Canada just asked me: “Hey @JohnnyJet we had a trip planned for Punta Cana, but now thinking about flying into FLL renting a car and staying in Port Saint Lucie, what are your thoughts on spending a week in Florida for a week in November? Both of us are double vaccinated.”
My answer: November is a long way away. It all depends on the numbers but if it was for this week, I would say no way, Jose.
This brings me to my go-to website for checking hospitalizations and case numbers. COVID Vaccine & Risk Tracker – Covid Act Now. Just type in the destination like Port St. Lucie and as you can see from the screenshot below, they’re disastrous.
Listen, I get it. People want to travel. I’m one of them and I think if you’re fully vaccinated, don’t have any pre-existing conditions, and don’t live with anyone who is vulnerable, like those with health problems or little kids who can’t get vaccinated, then go. Just be sure to follow the guidelines and rules like wearing a mask, not going out if you’re sick or have been exposed, and don’t go to an area that’s being hammered or is a place where locals don’t want tourists because of a strained infrastructure. I would also avoid crowds and eating indoors and try to fly first class to have fewer people around me.
Another resource: CDC COVID Data Tracker
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