Pent-up demand and a surplus of spending money have itchy travelers eager to check off their bucket lists.
Josephine Darwin, 65, marked March 3 on her calendar with the importance of a golden anniversary and planned to celebrate it with similar gusto. On that date, she and her husband, John, 67, would officially be immune—or as near as can be—from Covid-19. Newly vaccinated with the Pfizer shot, the Nashville retirees are wasting no time getting back to travel: They plan to fly to Charleston, S.C. for a post-vaccine vacation. Call it a “vaxication.”
“I can’t begin to describe our excitement to get out and meet people again,” says Josephine, who hasn’t left her home since March 17, 2020, except for brief walks around the neighborhood and to get jabbed. As soon as she and her husband had their vaccination appointments, they started trip planning. A two-week vacation in Newfoundland is now on the books for September, assuming borders open by then. (They very well may not be; Canada’s eastern provinces have been so strict about pandemic travel bans, they have even denied entry to fellow Canadians.)
As the US vaccination rollout has sped up, so, too, have requests for vaxications. “We have seen a 25% increase in travel inquiries since the first round of vaccinations became available,” says Leah Smith, president of Denver-based Tafari Travel. “Pretty much weekly, I am getting emails from clients saying they just got their first vaccination and are ready to plan the next two years of travel.”
“It’s not uncommon to get up to four trip requests in one email,” Smith continues. “Many clients aren’t even waiting for the second vaccine to book a trip.”
And they aren’t going to visit their grandkids, says Brooke Lavery, a partner at the high-end travel consultancy Local Foreigner. “People who normally take five to seven trips a year and for whom travel has been a lifestyle for decades are doing celebration trips,” she says.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief medical adviser and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has publicly expressed caution around post-vaccination travels, given the possibility of spreading the virus along the way.