I’m not sad to see the end of 2020, but I think it’s a bit early to celebrate. What will happen with 2021 travel is still very uncertain. The pandemic, which is closing in on 2 million deaths world wide, is far from over. It’s great news that vaccine distribution has begun. But it will take many months before a significant portion of most countries are vaccinated. And so travel is still a risky proposition. Even for young, healthy folks, it’s a risk to everyone they encounter. If you decide to disregard the public health implications of travel, your options are still limited. Many countries continue to isolate from the disease spreaders or implement challenging quarantine policies.
So what’s going to happen to travel in 2021? Well, I for one have started to plan some things for later in the year. I have one domestic trip booked for July. And I’m starting to work on plans for the fall and winter. But I won’t book anything that I can’t cancel easily. I think there’s a 50/50 chance the July trip will work out. I give better odds on fall and winter travel.
With all this hedging, I’m not (yet) looking for home exchanges beyond driving distance from my home. I don’t want to put another family in a difficult position. What if I decide to cancel but they still want to travel? Maybe they are coming from a country with a better public health infrastructure, where the vaccine is distributed more quickly. Or maybe they have a higher risk tolerance than me. I feel pretty comfortable with home swaps within driving distance. But beyond that, I’m waiting for the vaccine. And at the current distribution rate in the United States, I’m not super confident about when it’ll finally get to me.
I expect that in a month or two the vaccination timeline will be clearer and I might start looking for home exchanges for the winter. I really hope that’s possible!