WTMJ Cares is powered by Watry Industries and Premier Aluminum.
Sponsored by Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, Town Bank, and Griffin Automotive Group (Chevrolet, Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge and Ford)
The coronavirus pandemic is leading us to change so much about our lives: Where we spend our time in work and play (mainly at home), how we interact outside our family (at least six feet away), and where we go.
Most travel since the pandemic began has been necessary travel; to work or the grocery store. But as summer arrives and the country begins to reopen, vacation travel is beginning to ramp up, at least domestically. And for many, not much of it seems to be overseas until the pandemic subsides.
“I’ll just be honest. I’m still gun-shy on overseas,” says Dr. Mary Beth Graham, an infectious disease expert at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin. Graham appeared this week with John Mercure on WTMJ Cares Special Roundtable. “If you look again at the number of cases in Brazil, Italy, Spain, I think we need to be a bit further out. Domestic travel, I have no major concerns on that.”
Many travelers in America seem to be agreeing with Dr. Graham. They’re choosing to hit the road to find locations where they can be physically distant from others, and safer from the possible spread of COVID-19.
“People are looking for wide open spaces, family travel, comfort level whereby if they need to get home, they can jump in a vehicle and get back home,” Fox World Travel’s Rose Gray added. Gray hosts the Fox World Travel Show, Saturday mornings at 9 a.m. on WTMJ. She sees the hottest domestic travel locales for 2020 as national parks west of the Mississippi River.
However, there are trends showing that some Americans are getting more than just an itch to travel internationally as well.
“Airlines are starting to add daily flights back, which tells you it’s absolutely opening up,” Kenny Judd of Collette Travel told Mercure. “We’re in contact with a lot of tourism boards. Greece, Spain and Portugal are all opening up. There are talks about the entire EU.”
Collette is considering setting up travel options for Italy as early as late July. Italy is the most-researched destination on their web site, according to Judd.
Iceland is expected to be the top international travel destination overall.
“It was already the safest country in the world…the top trending destination over the last three years,” Judd said.
Mexico is more open for travel now, according to Judd, but he says our northern neighbors in Canada are opening at a slower pace.
“A little bit more conservative,” says Judd of Canadians. “We are looking at maybe August into September as they open up the borders. They are tending to be a little more hesitant.”
For those who travel both internationally or domestically, there are multiple ways you can travel safely to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
“What health departments would say, if you’re coming from overseas, you should quarantine, and you should do it for 14 days,” Dr. Graham said.
“Look for one of the free testing centers and go get tested. If you’re coming back and want to do that, I think that’s a very reasonable approach somebody could take when they come back.”