Where to go when Covid-19 takes a break

Vacation Places Photo of Wrangell-St.Elias National Park, Alaska, USA.

Vacation Places: if you want to relax in peace after the mess made by Covid-19, then try the magnificent panoramas and wildlife of Alaska, July-August is the time to do it. Photo of Wrangell-St.Elias National Park by Eric Rolph.

Best Vacation Places July-August 2020
Assuming the pandemic will be under control by then!

Americas    Caribbean     Europe      Africa      Asia      Australasia

Well, here we are in March 2020 and the end of the global virus pandemic is not at all clear.  However, giving the world three months to get its act together, plus higher temperatures and lots more UV in the Northern Hemisphere (both conditions probably inhibit Coronavirus at least), we and some professionals guesstimate that we will be able to relax a bit in the summer, perhaps take a well-earned holiday ourselves. Enjoy!

Air travel hygiene

Q: Is there a risk of becoming contaminated with the virus on a plane?

A: The risk of catching a serious viral infection on an aircraft is low. The air supply to a modern airliner is very different from a movie theater or an office building. The air is a combination of fresh air and recirculated air, about half each. The recirculated air goes through filters of the exact same type that we use in surgical operating theaters. That supplied air is guaranteed to be 99.97% (or better) free of viruses and other particles. So the risk, if there is one, does not come from the supplied air. It comes from other people.

Q: What are the chances of getting the virus by touching the seats, armrest or any of the objects on a plane?

A: Viruses and other microbes like to live on living surfaces like us. Just shaking hands with somebody will be a greater risk by far than some dry surface that has no biological material on it. The survival of viruses on surfaces isn’t great, so it’s believed that normal cleaning, and then the extra cleaning in the event that someone was discovered to be contagious, is the appropriate procedure. Will people stop getting together inside an airplane?

Q: What’s important if you are on a plane to ensure you don’t get infected?

A: Hand hygiene — because contrary to what people think, the hands are the way that these viruses most efficiently spread. Top of the list is frequent hand washing, hand sanitizing, or both. Avoid touching your face. If you cough or sneeze, it’s important to cover your face with a sleeve. Better yet, a tissue to be disposed of carefully, and then sanitizing the hands afterward. Washing your hands and drying them is the best procedure. When that’s not easy to do, alcohol-based sanitizer is a good second-best.

The Americas

US Vacation Places July – August 2020

Vacation Places Photo of Wrangell-St.Elias National Park, Alaska, USA.

Walking in Bryce Canyon, Utah.

Beaches in southern California such as Los Angeles’ Venice should be reaching perfect highs of around 77F (25C) and lows around 60F (15C) while on the other side of the country in Miami, Florida, temperatures could be heading towards toasty highs of 90F (32C), with lows of 74F (23C), the last months before the weather starts to get really muggy and oppressive. Still, two great months for southern US beaches.

This is also a terrific time to take a road trip around America’s awesome canyons and national parks, especially the Grand Circle canyons near Las Vegas for incredible rock formations and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming (mostly) for volcanoes and wildlife.

Summertime is also a terrific time to experience some of North America’s great festivals such as the Calgary Stampede in Canada July;  Cheyenne Frontier Days (rodeo+music) in Wyoming USA July;  Hog Heaven at Sturgis’ massive bike jamboree in South Dakota August.

Check American Festivals 2020

Canada Vacation Places July – August 2020

Vacation Places Photo of Wrangell-St.Elias National Park, Alaska, USA.

Western Brook Fjord in Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland

Canada’s main vacation places:

Best cities: Vancouver (British Columbia), Toronto ( Ontario), Quebec City and Montreal (Quebec) province.

Best summer festival: Calgary Stampede, Alberta.

Best beaches: New Brunswick (Atlantic Provinces) and Vancouver (British Columbia).

Best natural wonders: Banff lakes and mountains (Alberta), Niagara Falls (Ontario).

Best cuisine: Quebec province.

Best landscapes: British ColumbiaAlberta and North West Territories.

Caribbean Vacation Places July – August 2020

Vacation Places Photo of Wrangell-St.Elias National Park, Alaska, USA.

Palm Beach, Aruba island, Palm Beach, southwest Caribbean.

Weather in much of the Caribbean these months  is likely to be stormy or at least cloudy, with beaches strewn with seaweed and flotsam. But a handful of budget islands in the far southwest near Venezuela continue to get fine tho’ hot weather thru August. These are mainly ABC – the Dutch Antilles of ArubaBonaire (speciality scuba diving) and Curaçao.

Bermuda’s not in the Caribbean, it’s about 1,000 miles off the Florida coast in the Atlantic.  The best time to visit the island is from June to October when  the pink-sand beaches sprawl in temperatures of about 30C, with long daylight hours, low rainfall and warm seas around 25C.

Mexico is cheap as always, it’s easy to reach and sunny though hot and humid during the summer so plenty of bargain vacations can be found on Mexico’s Maya Riviera beaches such as Cancun  – with  incredible Maya sites are only a couple of hours away. And then there’s Cabo San Lucas on the Pacific side.

Latin America Vacation Places July – August 2020

Vacation Places Photo of Wrangell-St.Elias National Park, Alaska, USA.

Cristo Redentor overlooking Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

In Latin America Brazil is about the only place that’s OK to visit at this time, especially to spot animals in the vast Pantanal wetlands and northern Brazil.

Other South American countries can get very cold at this time since this is mid-winter. Peru, for example, is very chilly in high tourist places and the Inca Trail may be blocked by snow on high passes.

European Vacation Places July – August 2020

Vacation Places Photo of Wrangell-St.Elias National Park, Alaska, USA.

One of the holiest entrances in Christendom, Santiago de Composela Cathedral’s Puerta Santa, Spain. Maybe a visit to some of Europe’s legendary holy places would be appropriate after this desperate and disturbing period? St Peters in Vatican City, Rome? St Paul’s or Westminster Abbey in London? Il Duomo in Florence? Seville Cathedral, Spain?

Europe during these summer months is brilliant though southern areas of Spain and Italy will be unpleasantly hot. Decent hotels get packed out in August, so try to holiday in early July. If not, never mind, there will be crowds but book accommodation ahead and enjoy rubbing shoulders with humanity!

This is a great time for festivals, both inner city and out in the country, so check our European Festival listings for July and August if you fancy a cultural break. We are particularly fond of the lovely Chaumont International Garden Festival in France’s Loire Valley.

For ‘Culture Vultures’ London is a great choice with its world-beating free museums and galleries. Other sensational cities of western Europe such as Paris,  Barcelona and Vienna are also perfect for historic sights, pleasant strolls and odd happenings in warm/hot weather.

Beach seekers can find varied, unusual vacation places with the necessary sunshine and good value in FranceCroatia,  and north Spain, the latter which also offers spectacular cities such as Santiago de Compostela, Bilbao and San Sebastián-Donostia.

Island and beach hopping in Greece is a great way to see a lot but not a very cheap option. Still fast ferries do the job smoothly and conveniently. Hop from Athens to Santorini island (Atlantis!), to Mykonos, to Crete etc.

Africa Vacation Places July – August 2020

Vacation Places Photo of Wrangell-St.Elias National Park, Alaska, USA.

A leopard hanging out in the Eastern Serengeti, Tanzania wildlife safari. Photo by Harvey Barrison

This is the perfect time for wildlife viewing in Africa’s great game parks such as Tanzania and Kenya big game safaris or even the massive, beastly migration. Meanwhile Namibia, Botswana and South Africa offer wonderful self-drive wildlife safaris – and don’t forget that South Africa is still one of the world’s cheapest holiday destinations.

North Africa is overheated during these months unless you’re by the sea so Egypt’s Red Sea is cheap and attractive. Morocco’s Atlantic Coast is also useable and  backed by a colourful and interesting culture not far away.

Asia Vacation Places July – August 2020

Vacation Places Photo of Wrangell-St.Elias National Park, Alaska, USA.

A sheepish welcome to Lhasa, Tibet (China)

Summer is really the only time to visit Tibet and especially Lhasa, a high altitude destination with a brilliant local culture but considerable poverty and influx of Han Chinese. Beware flying in from sea level as the chance of experiencing severe altitude problems (a week-long migraine?!) is, appropriately, high. See AMS

Around the rest of Asia the monsoon rains will be falling, and/or heat and humidity will be oppressively high.

Best vacation places at this time are Bali’s beaches (currently the cheapest regular vacation destination after Europe) and calm culture, or the exotic attractions of Tibet, Russia (St Petersburg is amazing and the Hermitage Museum incredible) and Papua New Guinea.

Thailand is not at its very best but if you avoid west coast beaches where rain is frequent it should be acceptable and very low cost. We are fans of Koh Samet, easy to reach from Bangkok airports, relaxed, varied accommodation and foods, lots of beaches.

Australasia Vacation Places July – August 2020

Vacation Places Photo of Wrangell-St.Elias National Park, Alaska, USA.

Kepler Track fjord panorama, New Zealand. Photo Samuel Bordo.

Kepler Track, South Island, New Zealand, a very well-built 60 km (37 miles) circular trail passing through the spectacular scenery of Fiordland National Park. Photo by Samuel Bordo.

New Zealand is heading into mid-winter at this time so less than perfect but still fine for walking, the country’s most popular activity.

Northern Australia is terrific from May to October, meaning mainly the activities resort of Cairns, the sadly bleached Great Barrier Reef zone and Darwin, but weather in the south – Sydney, Melbourne, Great Ocean Road etc – will be cool and probably damp.