The ongoing lockdown restrictions have most avid travelers itching for their next wanderlust-fueled adventure. However, as we’ve all realized, the global pandemic is forcing us to redefine how we look at ‘safe travel’.
While extensive globetrotting is not advisable right now, travelling in a pandemic means adjusting to a new travel norm: stringent COVID-19 safety protocols!
Travelling in a pandemic
The reality is that there are many risks involved with travelling amid a pandemic. Stepping into this ‘new travel normal’ means equipping yourself with various health and safety guidelines at all times.
While mass international travel may still be a while away, we understand that some travellers may need to start heading off on international business trips or important family visits.
Whether you’re taking an international trip or keeping your travels local, here’s a few crucial safe travel tips for traveling in a pandemic.
1. Check the entry restrictions and requirements
Travelling during a pandemic means that you need to get used to doing your research. And we don’t mean simply Googling the most underrated beaches or local places to explore and calling it a day. Before you can begin planning your itinerary, make sure that you fully understand the COVID-19 travel restrictions and entry requirements of the country that you are visiting.
It’s important to note that each country has varying entry requirements. Regularly visiting their official government website means that you will be able to receive all of their specific restrictions in full.
Most countries also require a negative PCR test result taken within 48 to 72 hours before your trip. Remember to leave enough time to get tested and have the results back before you head to the airport to ensure that your test is valid.
2. Get travel insurance
Regardless of where you are heading, travelling during a pandemic means adding travel insurance to your list of must-haves. For those of you considering skipping out on the added expense, it’s worthwhile noting that this level of insurance is crucial.
It’s important, however, to read through the COVID-19 cover that the insurance provider offers. World Nomads, for example, does not cover travel to countries with a COVID travel ban, so familiarize yourself with the exclusions (read more about their Coronavirus cover here).
COVID-19 travel insurance is more of a safe travel essential than it is a safe travel tip. To put it bluntly: you absolutely NEED it, and it’s an additional cost you won’t regret!
Get a travel insurance quote from World Nomads below:
Related Read: What is Travel Insurance?
3. Get to the airport early
The days of rushing through the airport doors and catching your flight JUST in time are over.
With new pandemic regulations being enforced, airports now are operating differently. If you have been given the green light to head to your destination, then you need to prepare to jump through a few more hoops once you get to the airport.
Staff are taking measures to ensure that they collect all of your health declarations upon arrival. You could be asked to complete a travel risk assessment, take another rapid COVID-19 test and provide detailed information on where you are going.
As you can imagine, this can be somewhat time-consuming, so arrive early enough to go through all of these necessary health checks.
Here’s a few tips for keeping yourself entertained at the airport.
4. Permits and visas are your new accessories
Paperwork is a large part of travelling in a pandemic. With the tourism industry looking to make a significant comeback, it seems that the only way to access specific destinations is with the help of stay permits and special visas.
Without this documentation you may be refused entry at the border or airport. Ensure that you get all the necessities ready, including your papers and forms in advance! We also suggest printing out a few certified copies of your visa and permit – this will prove to be a total lifesaver!
5. Get ready to quarantine
Again, every country has different quarantine measures in place, so you will have to familiarize yourself with your specific definition. While safety protocols vary from country to country, it seems many destinations require you to quarantine for 5 – 14 days after arrival in your holiday destination and before exploring the country. Some destinations allow to use the hotel facilities during this time. So choose your hotel wisely. 😉
This might look again different if you are vaccinated against Covid-19.
When you plan on travelling back to your home country, you will most likely be asked to undergo another quarantine. A lot of countries want to see a negative PCR test after returning home, before you are allowed back to “normal” life.
It’s also worth highlighting that most travel insurance policies do not cover this mandatory quarantine stay. This means that you will be required to cover this expense out-of-pocket, so you might want to add this cost to your budget planning beforehand.
6. Have flexible plans
Strict planning may not be everyone’s forte, but this pandemic is proof that you always need to prepare for the unexpected – especially when it comes to travelling in a pandemic. Once you land at your destination, you must be aware that many government officials are placing various travel corridors and tiers.
These travel corridors and tiers mean that borders and certain areas may be closed at a moment’s notice if they see a spike in COVID-19 cases. Keeping up with these travel bubbles and tiers can get a little confusing, so your best bet is to keep an eye on travel websites and government sites to keep up to date on travel movements.
It would be in your best interest to pay a little extra for booking flexibility when it comes to your accommodation, flights and any booked tours. That way, if borders are closed, you can change the dates!
Don’t forget to add reusable eco-friendly masks to your travel kit
An alarming number of disposable masks and gloves have been found on beaches across the world. Obviously, this isn’t great for the environment. So, if possible, it’s best to opt for reusable eco-friendly masks instead of the disposable ones.
Here’s a few options:
- 100% organic cotton masks from Alex & Nova
- Travleisure Adjustable, Reusable, Washable, Face Mask from NxTSTOP
- AVAUMA Premium Eco-friendly Cotton Reusable Masks
- Zen Canyon Hemp and Cotton Eco-Friendly Washable 3-Layer Cloth Face Masks
The reality is that travelling in a pandemic can seem daunting and overwhelming. However, the point isn’t to scare you. The aim here is to ensure that you always understand the importance of staying informed and prepared. If you follow these safe travel tips, you will be in for a fun (and safe) trip!