Unlocking the World

8 ways that getting jabbed gives you the travel edge

Forrest Brown, CNNPublished 30th September 2021
Los Angeles, CA - May 28: Amid a busy getaway travel day for the Memorial Day weekend and the first holiday since coronavirus pandemic restrictions have been relaxed, travelers make their way to their destinations at LAX, United Airlines, Terminal 7 in Los Angeles Friday, May 28, 2021. Officials say travelers should arrive early for Memorial Day weekend flights. After months of Los Angeles International Airport looking like a ghost town, holiday crowds are back. Were seeing more travelers than weve seen in the last 14 months. We had over 75,000 people come through on Sunday alone to the TSA checkpoints, thats by far a record in 2021 for us, said LAX spokesperson Keith Montgomery. Photo taken in LAX on Friday, May 28, 2021 in Los Angeles, CA. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
(CNN) — Stock traders seek it. Athletes crave it. And it's something that can help tourists as they navigate the pandemic.
It's "the edge" -- a desirable advantage that puts you ahead of the game. And in travel right now, there's one thing that can deliver that boost: a vaccination card. In many important aspects of travel, it pays big dividends to get jabbed and secure that proof of vaccination.
Here are eight ways that fully vaccinated tourists have the edge as we enter the fall travel season of 2021:

1. Access to more foreign destinations

A general view shows (from bottom) the Alma Bridge, Invalides Bridge and Alexander III Bridge, and the northeastern Paris skyline on September 18, 2021.
This view shows bridges over the Seine as well as the northeastern Paris skyline.
Alain Jocard/Pool/AFP/Getty Images
Do you want to travel outside the borders of your own country? You have a longer list of nations from which to choose if you're fully vaccinated.
This is especially the case if you're arriving from a place that your host country deems high risk for Covid-19.
US passport holders who are fully vaccinated can gain entry to some of the most popular destinations around the world that their unvaccinated counterparts cannot. As of September 29, that list included favorites such as Canada, France and Turks and Caicos.
All of this remains in a state of flux as the pandemic situation changes weekly. And it's not just Americans itching to go abroad who are affected by vaccination rules.
A visitor looks out over Manhattan and beyond from the Edge, the highest outdoor sky deck in the Western Hemisphere. It's located at Hudson Yards.
A visitor looks out over Manhattan and beyond from the Edge, the highest outdoor sky deck in the Western Hemisphere. It's located at Hudson Yards.
Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images
The United States has barred citizens from key countries around world from going there to vacation. That includes citizens of Brazil, the European Schengen area, Ireland and the United Kingdom, all nations that sent lots of visitors to America before the pandemic.
But the United States will roll out the tourism welcome mat starting in November to these nations -- and people around the rest of the world. The catch? You must be fully vaccinated.
That also means unvaccinated people in places that currently are allowed to visit by air -- Mexico and Panama, for instance -- will lose their travel edge and find that door closing later this fall.
Bottom line: The unvaccinated tourist isn't without foreign travel options, but the edge clearly goes to the fully vaccinated tourist.

2. Fewer Covid-19 tests to take

People rest at a fountain in front of the Karlskirche or St Charles Church in Vienna on April 21, 2021.
People rest at a fountain in front of the Karlskirche in Vienna, Austria.
JOE KLAMAR/AFP via Getty Images
This spring and early summer, it looked like vaccination cards were going to liberate travelers from all kinds of things, including Covid-19 tests. Then when the Delta variant surged, we learned that vaccinated people can still contract and spread the coronavirus in "breakthrough" cases.
So how much testing you can avoid when you're fully vaccinated depends on the destination.
For instance, Austria will let people bypass the entry test if fully vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19. France won't let Americans in unless they're fully vaccinated, but no pre-travel test is required. If you're fully vaccinated, you can visit Panama without a test.
And vaccinated people could be exempt in some places from follow-up tests that unvaccinated people have to take while on holiday.
Bottom line: In general, fully vaccinated tourists have the travel edge, but they can't expect to avoid all tests.

3. Shorter or bypassed quarantines

Boats are moored at the Moorings base in Tortola, BVI., Monday, July 5, 2021.
Pleasure boats are moored at the island of Tortola, part of the British Virgin Islands.
Steve Helber/AP
In some places, proof of vaccination can either get you out of quarantine altogether or let you at least shave some time off a mandatory quarantine.
In the former category, the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean currently lets vaccinated guests skip quarantine. In the latter category, Bermuda will require only short quarantines for vaccinated travelers awaiting required arrival test results.
And in St. Lucia in the Caribbean, fully vaccinated visitors have a wider array of lodging options.
Bottom line: Some destinations still require quarantine regardless of vaccination status, such as South Korea and Bolivia, but the vaccinated traveler still maintains a solid travel edge in choices of destinations and time savings.

4. A passport to cruises

Carnival's Mardi Gras cruise ship is docked in the bay of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021
Carnival's Mardi Gras cruise ship is docked in the bay of San Juan, Puerto Rico, in August.
Carlos Giusti/AP
Good luck finding a cruise at all if you're not fully vaccinated. Because of the close quarters on ships, the industry is having to be particularly cautious.
Some of the world's biggest and most notable cruise lines won't take you on as a passenger unless you're fully vaccinated (with exceptions for children). They include: Carnival, Crystal, Disney, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Princess and Windstar, to name just seven of many.
It's just as strict on freshwater vessels. Top river cruise lines are also asking to see proof of full vaccination, including Avalon, Uniworld and Viking River Cruises.
And then there are shore excursions to consider even if you manage to find a cruise ship taking unvaccinated passengers. Through at least November 1, the Bahamas will require all cruise passengers 12 and older, including those on islands owned by cruise lines, be fully vaccinated before going ashore.
Norwegian Cruise Line, which currently isn't allowing guests younger than 12, pitches all the benefits of a fully vaccinated ship contingent: no masks, no social distancing, fully opened restaurants and entertainment venues and no capacity restrictions.
Bottom line: Vaccinated travelers have more than a travel edge with cruising; this is total travel domination.

5. Some more resort and hotel options

Pigeon Beach in Saint Lucia as seen from Fort Rodney on February 6, 2019.
Elite Island Resorts owns properties throughout the Caribbean, including St. Lucia.
Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images
Unlike cruises, resorts and hotels are much more open to all comers. Still, there are land-based lodgings that are starting to enforce their own rules. Some examples:
-- All guests 16 and older at Elite Island Resorts, with properties in Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia, the Grenadines and Panama, must show proof of full vaccination.
-- Starting on October 15, hotel company Highgate will require all guests 12 and older to be vaccinated at its seven locations in Hawaii. Mufi Hannemann, president and CEO of the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association, said the move "will resonate. It will set a standard," according to the Honolulu Star Advertiser newspaper.
-- In New York City, the following are for the fully vaccinated only: Public Hotel, Equinox Hotel and Wythe Hotel.
-- In New York's Catskills Mountains, boutique hotel Urban Cowboy Lodge books only fully vaccinated guests. (Its Nashville, Tennessee, location doesn't have the same requirement, demonstrating the role state politics can play).
-- Ten Thousand Waves resort in Santa Fe, New Mexico, says you must be fully vaccinated.
Bottom line: Fully vaccinated tourists have a small -- and possibly growing -- edge in accessing more resorts and hotels.

6. Access to more entertainment and sports venues

More and more entertainment and sports venues, especially those indoors, are demanding either proof of vaccination or at least a negative result from a very recent Covid test. That includes major entertainment destinations such as:
-- New York City: Proof of vaccination is required to enter movie theaters, music and concert venues, museums, professional sports arenas, indoor stadiums, theaters, arcades and other entertainment venues.
-- Paris: For places such as theaters, museums and concert halls, you'll need a health pass showing either full vaccination or a recent negative test result.
-- London: Want to see some live performances? Show that proof of vaccination or go through the hassle of getting yourself a fresh test. Rules vary by theater.
-- Berlin: Want to burn off some energy in the city's famous dance clubs? You'll need to be jabbed or be recently recovered from Covid to join the crowds.
-- Toronto: They're all business in this Canadian city when it comes to fun. The CBC reports you'll need proof of vaccination to enter sports venues, theater, cinemas and casinos, among other places.
Bottom line: Fully vaccinated tourists score a big travel edge when it comes to fun 'n' games.

7. More dining options

A customer shows proof of vaccination to a host at a restaurant as vaccine requirements are in effect in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021.
A customer shows proof of vaccination to a host at a restaurant as vaccine requirements are in effect in San Francisco.
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images
For many tourists, it's all about the food. And in some of the top fine dining cities around the world, you need a vaccine card or a negative Covid-19 test result to enter.
In the United States, the likes of New York City, New Orleans and San Francisco all have some type of vaccine or recent negative test requirement in place.
And while an unvaccinated diner can get a Covid test to enter some cities' restricted indoor dining venues, a vaccine card saves you the trouble of getting a fresh one every few days.
You'll encounter the same type of requirements if you want to enjoy some escargots in Paris. The rules apply even on terraces.
And in places such as Atlanta that don't have citywide rules, you might encounter individual restaurants that have their own rules about vaccines and negative tests.
Bottom line: Unvaccinated travelers have a place at the table, particularly outdoors, but fully vaccinated travelers have the edge with a bigger selection of the tastiest choices.

8. Less medical risk and more peace of mind

A nurse administers a  Covid-19 vaccine to a client at a clinic in Lakewood, California, earlier this year.
A nurse administers a Covid-19 vaccine to a client at a clinic in Lakewood, California, earlier this year.
Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
There's the issue of can you go? But there's also the issue of should you go?
Answering that is CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and research professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.
"We are at a point in the pandemic where people will be making very different decisions based on their personal medical circumstances, risk tolerance and the value of their activities to them," Wen said last week.
Wen said that fully vaccinated people who have been very cautious throughout the pandemic still might choose not travel because of the risks they perceive. "On the other hand, there are fully vaccinated people who say, 'I'm aware of the risks, but I'm still going to live my life as if there is no pandemic happening.'"
She said "both would be reasonable decisions" for a fully vaccinated adult.
It's a different situation for the unvaccinated adult, she said.
"I don't think it's responsible for people who choose to be unvaccinated to be engaging in travel and interacting in public where they could potentially be infecting other people."
Wen said that fully vaccinated people should "be aware that they could still have a breakthrough Covid-19 infection. Chances are it would be mild, and there's a small chance that they could also be a carrier who could infect other people."
Wen also said fully vaccinated travelers should wear high-quality N95 or KN95 masks in high-risk settings. Even fully vaccinated people should quarantine for at least three days upon returning home and get tested before seeing vulnerable individuals, she said.
What Wen wants people to know: "If you're fully vaccinated, you can travel. Whether you do depends on your own risk calculation. There are ways to reduce your risk and by being careful upon your return."
Bottom line: Fully vaccinated tourists have a significant travel edge when it comes to personal health safety.