Renew your passport NOW, as business travel starts to thaw from COVID will cause a pent-up wave of renewals
As I have mentioned many times before, most countries require a minimum of 6 months of passport validity for entry into their country. Many business travelers have been in travel hibernation mode for over a year. As the pandemic thaws and businesses restart their travel engines many business travelers will need to renew their passports so they don’t get any surprises or delays. When COVID shut down the passport processing centers it took me five months to get my passport renewed. I have heard recently that people are now getting their passports renewed in as little as 30 days. I am worried that there will soon be a tsunami of passport renewals as the pent-up demand to get back in the business travel saddle will lead to a big wave of passport renewals that will start causing longer times for renewals.
International travel rules are changing by the hour – Here is a great international entry guide with up-to-date info – With the expected thaw of international travel in the coming weeks and months I have found an excellent source for daily updates on country entry requirements which include COVID protocols. CIBT is a respected source to help travelers with processing passports and visas for entry into countries around the world. CLICK HERE to view the CIBT entry guide.
Here is the good news and the bad news about the BIG 4 airlines – First the good news – Airline execs say they expect to return to profitability in the next month. That is great news as it shows that demand is catching up with airline supply and airlines are finally generating enough revenue to cover expenses. Now for the bad news – Unfortunately, the airlines have had to go into multi-billion dollars of debt to keep their heads above water for the last year of the pandemic. Some people are estimating it will take the airlines 10 years to pay down the debt they accrued during the last 12 months. Hold onto your hats as many expect airfares to skyrocket in the coming months and years to pay off this humongous airline debt burden.
Two cruise lines tell CDC to “Go jump in a lake” and announce they will start sailing in June – No industry has been hurt worse from the pandemic than the cruise industry as they have been completely shut down for over a year. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has not been a friend of the cruise industry as they have issued a “No cruise” ruling for all cruise lines sailing from U.S. ports. In the last few days both Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises announced they will launch Caribbean, Mexico and Bahamas cruises beginning in early June, with reservations starting this week. Royal Caribbean will sail from Nassau, Bahamas and Celebrity will sail from St. Maarten, thereby circumnavigating the CDC rules by departing from non-U.S. ports. The ships will only allow vaccinated adult passengers and children under 18 who present a negative PCR test. The only problem I see with having Nassau and St. Maarten as the ports of departure is that I do not think there is enough air service to get all those thousands of passengers to the islands to depart on their cruise. It will be interesting to see if the airlines start adding new service to support these cruise lines. CLICK HERE to read more.
The pandemic saved those tiny shampoo bottles in hotel rooms from extinction this year – Every time I travel I usually grab a small bottle of shampoo and conditioner from my hotel room and take it home to use at the gym and to contribute to homeless shelters. In 2019 and 2020 many hotels were planning to find ways to encourage sustainability (eliminate plastics) and save money. One major way hotels can save money is by replacing those small individual use shampoo models with the wall hanging dispensers in the shower that dispense body wash, shampoo, and conditioner with the simple push of a button. These wall-hanging shampoo dispensers are in use already at many economy lodging bathrooms. I expected last year many 4 and 5 star hotels would replace shampoo bottles with dispensers but COVID caused a depression in the hotel industry and left many hotels with no money to make the transition. I still think installing shampoo dispensers is on the road map of many hotels, however, it may be 2022 or 2023 before they have the money to make the move. Personally, I don’t like those wall-hanging dispensers as I don’t trust anything liquid that comes in a 55-gallon drum.
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