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 FLIGHTS, TRANSPORT, & LODGINGS ARRANGED TO DOZENS OF SET DESTINATIONS THROUGHOUT:

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The storm will pass. The rainbow reveals the promise of Hope.

"And the rainbow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember
the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature upon the earth."

— Genesis 9:16

Photo of Mürren, Bernese Oberland, Switzerland © Home At First

Dear Travel Fans,

       We have been thinking about you, hoping that you can get around okay without taking too many risks, hoping your kids and grandchildren can resume their schooling safely & attentively, hoping that your bills are getting paid, hoping that your stocks & bonds have recovered into positive numbers (and stay there!), hoping you have found some moments to relax and enjoy life, hoping that you come out the other end of this tunnel unscathed.
       And, when you do, maybe we can get together and dare to bump elbows. Better yet, let’s plan to meet for beers in London, or the Swiss Alps, or Scotland, Ireland, England, Wales, Paris, Italy, Scandinavia, Iceland, Bermuda, New Zealand, Holland, Germany, Spain, or Portugal. We confess to knowing a few good watering holes.
       Let us all dare to hope.

            — Your Friends at Home At First

 

— Home At First —

WINTER: THE TRIAL & THE HOPE

The darkness before the dawn...

 

          Winter has come to the Northern Hemisphere. With cold weather and long nights has come a record surge in new cases of Covid-19: the Second Wave. Here in the United States the surge affects all states, including regions that were less-affected during the March-June first wave. We Americans are not alone. Across Europe new coronavirus cases also exploded over the last few months, in many places to record levels. Many countries that re-opened and relaxed travel regulations reversed course and tightened regulations again: restricting movement, enforcing curfews, and preparing their health infrastructure for the worst. And now a new, more easily transmitted virus strain threatens to increase the pandemic's spread.
          But even as we dread the dark, cold winter months of early 2021, there are some hopeful signs. Several different vaccines are being distributed, and inoculations are underway in North America, across Europe, and around the world, perhaps too slowly at first, but learning curves are normally steepest at the beginning of new challenges. Improved, innovative treatments, techniques, and therapies offer better outcomes for many affected. Scientists are developing and trialing faster, more reliable Covid-19 screening tests with the goal of achieving a speedy test that produces instant results with zero false negatives or positives.
          In the travel industry advances have also been made:
• Airlines are adding state-of-the-art cabin air filtration that — coupled with mask wearing passengers and rigorous cabin cleaning between flights — suggests that flying may now be safer than going to the supermarket.
• Airports and some airlines are offering trial fast-turn-around coronavirus testing programs designed to detect infected passengers & crews before and after flights.
• Some airports are experimenting with completely hands-free check-in and boarding procedures, and airplanes may soon be retrofitted with hands-free lavatories.
• Most overseas destinations are now establishing uniform standards of safety and cleanliness for lodgings — including hotels, cottages, apartments, chalets, villas — requiring site inspections and the rewarding of special status to accommodations that pass muster. Similarly, rental car companies, railways, buses, and passenger boats are having to earn safety/cleanliness badges of their own.
• Having great potential for travelers are the Travel Passport initiatives under trial by a few airlines to certain destination. Travel Passports are cell phone apps that maintain currant certified records of vaccinations, antibodies from recovered illness, and testing results. Showing your Travel Passport app screen at check-in, boarding, TSA security, customs, or other stops en route will permit quick, seamless travel for travelers to any destination participating in the program. Although there are bugs yet to be worked out, we think the Travel Passport (also called a Health Passport or CommonPass) may be the key to bringing back safe, international travel without adding unnecessary time and bureaucracy.
          These advances, combined with a successful vaccine, will open borders and give many of us the confidence to travel again. But when? The travel industry is a big part of the world economy. The world cannot wait too long to restart travel, as the industry's infrastructure — transportation, lodging, and service companies — is withering. We think the distribution of successful vaccines and the adoption of many of these technological improvements will occur during 2021, and travel will begin again.
          At Home At First we are preparing for the grand re-opening of travel by re-tooling and modernizing our business systems. Some of our employees have been furloughed, and some are working remotely from home. We are maintaining our regular business hours. We are a close-knit team, passionate about what we do, and eager to get going full-speed. Until full re-opening, we monitor developments in the industry that we believe will evolve into the new realities of travel. We are also very happy to hear from you to discuss your travel ideas. Call us. Email us. Let's start a conversation about your travel goals. It is our job to help you travel again, but only with the best advice for when and where to travel and how best to travel safely. We pledge to do our best to help make your travel dreams come true.

          In the meantime, wear masks, wash hands frequently, stay hydrated, exercise regularly, stay safe, be kind, help one another, dream big, and stay positive. Sometime after the dark, cold days of winter, there will come warmth, sunshine, and smooth flying.

 

Happy Holidays to come, and God speed,

 

Judi Taussig Fahnestock & Ron Fahnestock

Becca Fahnestock

Kristen Crowther

Jessica Sponheimer & Kane

and all our colleagues around the world

— HOME AT FIRST —

TRAVEL IS LIFE AT ITS BEST