The different elements that encapsulate summer vacation travel. Illustration by Jordan Prince.

As hotter days approach, Nolan Thompson dreams of a quiet peninsula tucked away at the corner of southeastern Massachusetts.

That would be maritime paradise Cape Cod: sandy beaches, small villages, and seafood shacks. He cannot wait to feel the sensation of waves rushing softly over his feet or dine on fried clams to his heart’s content.

For once, he can see his soon-to-be-at destination becoming a reality. The COVID-19 pandemic may have managed to ruin vacation plans for the past year or so, but this summer?

COVID should melt itself away under the scorching heat waves.

Like Thompson, many other Chapman students are beginning to plan their summer vacations. With COVID rates dropping at an all-time low for what feels like hasn’t happened in forever, students have approached the idea of summer vacation with sunny optimism. However, one must proceed with caution.

Jeff Goad, Chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice at Chapman, believes that there’s a variety of factors for students to consider before they plan on summer travel.

“I think it depends on where you’re going,” he said. “Knowing where there are outbreaks, where there are cases surging, is first and foremost important.”

He further explained:

“Being aware that some countries require vaccination permits to come in-for example, Israel will require a vaccine passport or proof of vaccination before you can get into the country. Many other places have testing requirements so it’s a lot to think about before you travel; it’s more than just booking a trip and going.”

Nolan Thompson(left) and his siblings Sean and Sophie hiking part of the Appalachian Trail last August. Photo courtesy of Nolan Thompson.

Thompson, a junior film studies major, explained why he was planning on going to Cape Cod this summer.

“I have a sister who’s going to be performing there as part of an opera company,” he said. “My family and I are going to be travelling up there from May till August.”

Although he expressed that he feels a lot safer travelling this summer compared to last summer, he will keep COVID safety precautions in mind.

“I do think it’s a lot safer now than it was last year because last year there was no vaccine,” he explained. “I see more and more people getting vaccinated which gives me confidence. I’m starting to get back into the mood of travelling again.”

He continued by saying:

“As long as all the places I’m going to, whether they be indoor or outdoor, are taking the necessary safety precautions, such as enforcing social distancing or mask wearing, then I think I’ll be fine. I still wanna be safe, just to be mindful of others.”

According to new research from, 71% of Americans feel more hopeful about travelling in 2021 due to the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines. Since the CDC’s updated guidelines on April 2nd, Hopper reported that there was a 16% increase in searches for Summer 2021 domestic travel and a 23% increase for international flights.

Senior public relations and advertising major Ashley Nelsen had a few ideas in mind when it came to travelling this summer.

Ashley Nelsen enjoying the view in Cabo San Lucas circa 2019. Photo provided by Ashley Nelsen.

“Every year [me and my family] do a trip to Mexico, either like Cabo or Cancun,”she said. “Probably smaller trips; I love doing staycations in California so I’ll drive to San Diego and do a little mini vacation.”

As for safety concerns, she said:

“I think we’ll be still staying out of large groups, just sticking with my family. We’re going to keep to ourselves and still try to be kinda safe but have a relaxing getaway.”

Zia Zografos, a senior English major with an emphasis in journalism, had some exciting activities possibly lined up for summer.

“It’s very up in the air but I was hoping in June to go to Greece to visit my family,” she said. “In June or August, I think I’ll be travelling to Washington for a dog show. [There will be] around 100 people but I think they’re doing mask mandates so at least most people will be vaxxed and masked.”

Zia Zografos spending time in Greece summer of 2019. Photo provided by Zia Zografos.

Goad believes that the solution to preventing a surge in COVID variants is to get enough people vaccinated.

“The key to variants is the race to vaccinate,” he said. “The RNA cannot make errors in replication if it’s not able to replicate. In other words, if there’s not enough targets for it to hit, then there aren’t enough people to have a variant that could be spread around.”

Currently, Nolan Thompson is staying indoors and taking online classes- a far contrast from relaxing right by the ocean. For now, he takes any opportunity to get outdoors, whether that be taking a walk or running errands.

His long-awaited desire to embark on vacation will soon be fulfilled. As the temperature rises, so will his mood.

Until then, Cape Cod.


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