ORLANDO, Fla. - Can’t get a COVID-19 vaccine here at home? How about planning an international vacation around getting jabbed?
Travel Agent Roy Gal, the owner of Memories Forever Travel Group, tells FOX 35 News that vaccination vacations are now a thing for people in their 30s and 40s.
"Ever since vaccines kind of started rolling out in different parts of the world, we've had some people who reach out to us and actually are looking for destinations where they can travel to and get vaccinated."
The two most popular destinations for his clients are the United Arab Emirates and Israel. But, when traveling to Israel right now to get a vaccine, there’s a catch.
"They only allow people with an Israeli passport, so if you don't have an Israeli passport you're not allowed in," Gal said.
There's a mandatory 10-day quarantine upon arrival in Israel. Then his clients start going to vaccine sites towards the end of the day hoping for a shot.
"Wait until the last hour and they have lots of vaccines that they haven't provided to people and they don't want it to go to waste, so they literally go outside and yell, you know, 'Vaccines if anyone wants it!' and they just go in and get vaccinated," Gal said.
Right now, Israel is vaccinating kids ages 16-18 and anyone 35 and older. Gal added that his clients going to Israel are paying, on average, $850 for round trip tickets then roughly $2,000 a month to rent a house and stay for about two months from quarantine to second shot to return flight home.
Gal’s customers are finding it easier to get COVID-19 vaccines in the UAE. Their quarantine is much shorter.
"They require the testing prior and then the testing once you arrive, and then it kind of clear you after about four days," Gal explained.
Gal works with hotels where the concierge takes care of the rest.
"Then, the concierge at the hotels, they seem to have the procedure set and they already will set the appointment, even before the person leaves the US," he explained.
Gal looked at what a trip would cost from Orlando to Dubai. He found a round trip flight leaving February 10 for $900 and a room at a 5-star property for 3-and-a-half weeks for $1,500. He said 3-and-a-half weeks is about the amount of time his clients have needed once in Dubai to quarantine, then get both vaccines.
"Based on the pictures that I see on social media for my clients, they're definitely making a vacation out of it," Gal said.
He tells FOX 35 News that some of his clients work remotely while in Dubai. So if you have a passport and the money, a COVID-19 vaccine could be yours overseas.
"So I think they kind of created an industry for it," Gal said.
Israel shut down their borders last month. So right now, no one can fly there. Gal said they’re expected to be reopening in the next two weeks and he has already got a growing list of clients ready to book flights to get vaccinated.
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