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With the quarantines in force, is summer vacation worth it?

(CNN) – As the two-week quarantine requirements around the world become a reality in a context of easing travel restrictions, future summer vacationers are now faced with a new conundrum:

East Trip with such strings attached worth it?
For many travelers, the answer will likely be a no. After weeks or months after being asked to stay at home, on a plane for a distant flight destination the mere fact of being responsible for isolating yourself once you arrive at your accommodation has a questionable appeal.
For Chicago-based travel photographer and writer Joshua Mellin, venturing into a place subject to a quarantine restriction “goes against the principles of a responsible traveler”, and he is not interested. Even if Mellin finally had to arrive at two weeks of quarantine before he could travel freely, he said the challenge would be to find affordable accommodation in which he would be willing to stay locked up for two weeks – the length of which is equal to average american summer vacation.

When traveling to a destination that has strict rules for foreign (and, in many cases, domestic) arrivals, it may be prudent to avoid areas where these measures are restrictive.

Alison Hickey, President of Kensington Tours, states “we would not recommend traveling to a destination that has a 14-day self-quarantine requirement”.

Hickey advises to “work closely with your agent or travel agency so that you know exactly what the details of self-isolation mean in your particular destination” if you cannot or do not want to avoid a destination with one 14 days – quarantine rule.

Anyone who has little vacation to consider a summer trip abroad should of course also read the decisions of the official government – or risk spending an entire quarantined vacation within the walls of a standard hotel room, or worse, end up in jail for breaking the rules.

Evidence of self-isolation

As restrictions around the world begin to ease and economies slowly reopen, hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions are once again preparing to welcome international travelers. However, it is certainly not as usual.

Australia and New Zealand were among the first nations to introduce self-isolation measures for people (domestic and foreign) entering their country.

The rules are clear: if you have left the country or if you come from another country, you must not leave your home or your hotel, except in an emergency. It is prohibited to go to public places and people cannot visit you while you are in quarantine.

The times have traditionally forced Hawaiians to welcome visitors. People have found that non-compliance with self-quarantine rules could end up in jail.

The times have traditionally forced Hawaiians to welcome visitors. People have found that non-compliance with self-quarantine rules could end up in jail.

Shutterstock

In Hawaii, a popular travel destination that has strongly discouraged visitors since the onset of the pandemic, imprisonment is a possibility for people found breaking the self-quarantine rules.

From June, people arriving in the UK by air will not only be required to self-quarantine for two weeks, but they will also be asked to provide an address with the place of their self-isolation to allow random checks.

Required, not required

In the United States, part of the language surrounding the practice of self-quarantine offers a margin of interpretation.

It is not prohibited to cross state borders, but the rules vary from state to state – some asking or instructing and others advising or demanding – that visitors outside of state self-quarantine.

So far, it seems like Hawaii has been an outlier in implementing strict follow-up measures or ways to follow those who break the rules.

In late March, while trying to analyze White House directives, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said he had not seen the instructions for self-quarantine having an “enforcement mechanism”.

Since May 4, road signs along the toll road in the northeast, including Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut, advise travelers to isolate themselves, but it is at roughly its magnitude – roadside signage.

But Big Sky, Montana, which begins a gradual opening of its summer operations from May 22, say this: “In accordance with the governor’s directive, a quarantine of 14 days is in effect for travelers arriving in Montana from another state or country.”
Puerto Rico hopes to start welcoming visitors again in the coming weeks.

Puerto Rico hopes to start welcoming visitors again in the coming weeks.

Discover Puerto Rico

Selecting a destination with no quarantine rules in place can be an important factor in choosing a vacation this summer.

“I would recommend looking at local destinations that don’t involve quarantine,” says Hickey.

Puerto Rico is also preparing to welcome visitors in the coming weeks, but travelers to the United States will be “asked to self-quarantine” for 14 days upon arrival. (The CDC continues to recommend against all non-essential displacement in the region.)

Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico, said that as the island “begins its gradual reopening, and containment and management of the virus remains consistent, we can expect to see less stringent measures.”

Self-quarantine = stay at home?

As more and more regions of the world prepare to restart dormant tourism economies, those that force visitors to stick to two weeks of strict self-quarantine may find it difficult to attract visitors.

Again, the promise of heavy fines and / or jail terms may be a rather indirect way of telling people to stay away.

Canada, rather than implementing any type of two-week quarantine “request” or “restriction”, does not allow non-essential visitors to enter, period.

Do some states and countries even want leisure travelers this summer?

Beaches are closed and travelers and international arrivals to Australia are sent to hotels for mandatory quarantine for 14 days.

Beaches are closed and travelers and international arrivals to Australia are sent to hotels for mandatory quarantine for 14 days.

Chris Hyde / Getty Images

Maybe not.

“We know our economy will suffer from this action, but we really appreciate the cooperation we have received from our hotel industry to understand that these actions are necessary,” he said.

The hotels are cooperating, says Marisa Yamane, director of communications and public relations with the Hawaii Tourism Authority. They “have been excellent at alerting us when they suspect someone is violating the quarantine order. They either notify us or call 911 for the police to respond.”

Open and social distances

Greece hopes to welcome tourists by July 1 to places like Karpathos (above).

Greece hopes to welcome tourists by July 1 to places like Karpathos (above).

Katie sehl

Greece, meanwhile, increasingly wants to welcome travelers and hopes to do so by July 1.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis tells CNN they are betting on “more upscale tourists” due to a reduction in low-cost airlines transporting international travelers to Greece’s main vacation spots.

Mitsotakis says that “agrotourism, tourism in small hotels seems to me to be better suited to this new type of post-pandemic world.”

Indeed, in regions and seaside resorts where social distancing is easy to find, although at a generally high cost, self-isolation may not be as much a requirement as a spatial inevitability.

Francis Ford Coppola's Turtle Inn in Belize is ready for social distancing.

Francis Ford Coppola’s Turtle Inn in Belize is ready for social distancing.

Courtesy of Turtle Inn

Francis Ford Coppola’s Hideaways in Belize and Guatemala hope to reopen by July 1, but countries are waiting for their governments to provide more information.

Asked whether self-quarantine will be required from area visitors, a public relations spokesperson for Hideaways properties only says that they “are the perfect secluded getaway.”

“We like to say that the properties are SPF 100 – security, protection and familiarity.”

At around $ 500 a night for the Turtle Inn in Belize with an option to charter a private flight for maximum isolation, as SPF 100 is not cheap.

CNN’s Mick Krever and Elinda Labropoulou contributed to this story.

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