The time has come to start traveling again. The majority of us are vaccinated and I hope boosted and I know we are tired of just sitting around.

While many have been traveling to other locales by land and air for a while, the time has come to consider cruising again. There are a number of good opportunities out there.

The cruise lines and tour companies have relaxed their entry requirements which makes it easier to travel. And if you’re still not 100% confident in traveling overseas, there are great tours and cruises here in the United States.

You can sail the Viking ocean cruise ships with just 930 guests from St. Paul to New Orleans, roundtrip New Orleans – even the Great Lakes – Milwaukee to Thunder Bay and Niagara and the Great Lakes. 

Viking even has an 11-day cruise visiting Alaska. Another itinerary is cruising the Panama Canal from Panama City to Fort Lauderdale. 

On the Viking ocean ships there is no charge for WIFI, they serve beer and wine at lunch and dinner, and there is one complimentary shore excursion in every port of call and no charge for the specialty restaurant. And if you book your air through Viking, the transfers are included.

Then there is the American Queen, which has fewer guests than the ocean ships – anywhere from 186 guests on the Ocean Victory to 417 guests on the American Queen. Their all-inclusive fares include a one-night pre hotel stay with transfer to the ship, unlimited guided tours, open bars and lounges with unlimited drinks, unlimited WIFI, acclaimed cuisine, featuring fresh lobster and USDA prime beef every night.

The cruise ships we are most familiar with visit the Caribbean and New England, and most leave either from Florida, New York or Boston, so driving is always an option.

There are also great land tours in the United States. Have you been to the National Parks? New England? Washington, D.C.?  New Orleans?  Hawaii? I could go on and on.

For those of you more daring, there is a company called Backroads where you hike and bike at different levels – from level 1 biking 8-22 miles and walking 2-5 miles, to level 5 with world-class climbs, epic hikes and full days in the great outdoors. 

Select your own bike – regular, e-bike, etc. These trips explore Hawaii’s big Island, Alaska’s Kenai, Oregon’s National Park playground or wine country, the national parks and most places in Europe.

Talk to your family and your friends, make a plan, and start traveling again. The country, the world, is waiting for you.

Joan Flynn is a travel consultant with Valerie Wilson Travel.