This is the time of year when many Montanans start thinking about going somewhere warm. The upcoming months are only going to get colder and snowier and more miserable for fans of warm weather. Winter can be a long-haul in Big Sky Country for those of us that prefer summer over winter.

When we're not in the middle of an exploding pandemic, lots of Montanans would be booking trips right now to Mexico or Hawaii or somewhere else warm and sunny. Even Las Vegas is warmer in the winter than Billings, and while there is no beach, you can at least find a palm tree or two. Ideally, we'd be heading to Logan International Airport right around January or February, when days are dark and miserable around the Magic City.  BUT... COVID-19 is probably going to make travel plans worse before they get better. Are you planning a vacation in the near future?

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Surprisingly, there are 75 countries that will allow Americans to visit right now, according to a recent story in National Geographic. Many of them have amazing beaches, palm trees, awesome food and warm, blue water. Costa Rica, Mexico, Dominican Republic, the Bahamas and other tropical or semi-tropical locations will let you come visit right now. GRANTED, nearly all of them have various pre-trip COVID testing requirements. In many cases, you must test negative within 48 hours of your flight. Some countries have various quarantine rules as well upon your arrival.

This seems like one of those times that buying every form of trip insurance possible might be a wise idea. What if you book an amazing week at a beach-front cabana, only to catch COVID before you leave and can't board the plane? That would suck, so bad. I can't wait to travel again. It seems like it's been forever since we could click a trip on Expedia without worrying about anything other than getting a room with an ocean view. I'm just not sure I can do it quite yet.