Our thoughts on travel in 2021
Post Covid travel with Embark
As the news cycle changes by the hour, some people question whether they can travel next year and whether it’s safe to be on a plane. We get it.
There seem to be countries opening up, countries closing down and each week new information, or a new report, all of which may change people’s opinions and thoughts on travel. We have recently seen reports that COVID is almost statistically insignificant on a plane if everyone is wearing a mask, and other information on how to travel safely.
From Embark’s perspective, we can share with you some notable pieces of information: We have multiple sold-out large groups confirmed in Tanzania and Guatemala in January and February. We have additional small groups throughout February and March and into the spring and summer to Tanzania, Peru, Nepal and Russia. Our trips to Mt. Elbrus in Russia have received a ton of interest and are booking up. Even better, next summer, we are still getting large groups signed up, from a large children’s hospital foundation, to US veterans groups, to a host of cancer fundraising groups. We are considering rolling out a series of domestic adventure hikes that are true to our Embark ideals: small, remote, carefully curated itineraries that ‘don’t have to be fun to be fun’ (yep, just because it’s domestic doesn’t mean easy)! All in all, it seems that people THINK they are traveling next year. We hope so.
In terms of COVID- specific travel logistics: the general item that most countries are implementing is COVID tests prior to departure. That’s pretty standard now and it seems to be working, even if making pre-travel arrangements is a bit more cumbersome. Most in-country local transport requires masks, which makes sense and is something we highly endorse. More people are choosing private rooms and or private tents. The beauty of Embark trips is their remote, outdoor nature which is an inherently socially distanced activity. We have now had our first group summit since the onslaught of the virus brought the world to a halt and it went smoothly; with all hikers reaching the summit and returning home safe, sound and in good health.
Our in-country teams and guides have been enormously flexible, changing operations to accommodate new safety and health protocols with remarkable precision and attentiveness and all with smiles on their faces. Many of them are still struggling though. Most have not worked since March. As many of you know, we raised more than $22,000 for more than 40 families last May. We’ve received numerous inquiries as to the well-being of our overseas staff and are considering another GoFundMe campaign maybe through the holidays. One Embark supporter said that if we can hit $10,000, he will match us with another $10,000. Amazing!
What we’ve noticed is that things are simultaneously so very different but also remain much the same as before this crisis. At the heart of it – we respect the state of the world but refuse to let it keep us from the important exploring and connecting in the remote corners of the world that make life worth living.