How to Plan Pandemic Travel

Depending on where you live and where you’re dreaming of going to, the opportunity to travel is once again opening up for leisure purposes. But there is no denying that the process of travel, and especially planning and preparing for travel, has changed. In short, it’s not quite as straight forward as it used to be! What are the requirements to enter the country I want to visit? What specific covid tests will be needed? Does being vaccinated exempt me from any travel restrictions? How do refunds work if a mandatory covid test comes back positive under 48 hours before I leave? What happens if borders close right before my trip – or while I’m in another country? What exactly does my medical insurance cover?

Let’s walk through what you need to consider and be aware of as you plan to venture into the world again…

Know What’s Required

Do your research and know what is required for you to leave your country or region (if allowed), as well as what’s required for you to return. Then, you’ll need to verify what is required to enter your destination country or region. Some countries are only open to fully vaccinated travellers; others allow entry for anyone who has tested negative prior to flying or has proof of recovery from covid within the last 90 days. Most countries currently require all travellers to at least have a negative PCR test taken within 48 – 72 hours prior to boarding their flight (and this may apply to even fully vaccinated individuals). Some countries require quarantine upon arrival with subsequent tests to be taken a couple to a few days after.

Below are some great resources for getting familiar with the current requirements and restrictions in place in each country, though it’s always a good idea to verify directly with a country’s official government website.

https://www.skyscanner.ca/travel-restrictions 
https://www.skyscanner.ca/tips-and-inspiration/coronavirus-information
https://www.iatatravelcentre.com/world.php
https://www.ca.kayak.com/travel-restrictions

If you have been vaccinated or have proof of recovery, make sure to keep these documents safe and protected (but don’t laminate, in case they need to be updated in future) as they are important for international travel right now.

Know Your Destination

If there’s anything that has been obvious throughout the pandemic it’s that the virus has impacted different countries differently – and the same goes for each country’s recovery. While things may be normal(ish) at home, your destination may not be as far along in their recovery stages.

Do your diligence to keep up to date regarding restrictions, mask requirements, closures, curfews, and the overall mentality of where you’re going. Be respectful of the measures in place and be careful to show consideration of, and respect for, other cultures

Take Advantage of Adjustments to Flight Cancellation 

Airlines have waived their notorious cancellation and change fees for the time being (some airlines have permanently adopted the no-fee policy for seats other than basic economy) so if you spot a good flight, book it!

Stock Up on the New Essentials

Face masks, disinfectant wipes, sanitizer … you’re going to need to do a little math to figure out how much to bring with you to get you through the duration of your trip. Most countries should have access to more supplies but it’s always better to be prepared.

It’s a good idea to bring your own snacks and on-the-go foods as some airlines are not offering in-flight snacks. A non-metal straw will help you sip your bevs while wearing your mask

Be Prepared for a Different Airport Experience

Flying just isn’t as fun as it used to be. Your pre-flight rituals may not be doable with many in-terminal stores and restaurants closed. Seating may be more difficult to find as many seats have been removed to encourage physical distancing;

Getting through the airport will require factoring in time for temperature checks, limited capacity in certain areas, and  On the other hand, the process has also become more streamlined with self-check in options, mobile food ordering, hands-free soap dispensers and sinks

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