Many of us this year have been forced to stay home in lockdown having our much desired or much needed travel plans paused or canceled. With travel bans in place and covid travel restrictions in countries constantly changing day by day, the travel industry has really taken a hit this year due to Covid-19.
No one knows when we will see this pandemic behind us but the reality is that people are still needing to travel. This is the time to move from “Should I travel during a pandemic” to “How to travel safely in a pandemic”.
Because of the pandemic there is a new way to travel as old travel practices are truly a thing of the past but because I have been there and done that, I can assure you that it is indeed safe to travel again even amid a pandemic. Follow the steps/check list below to start traveling safely and confident during and after this pandemic.
Covid Travel Check List
1. Research – Do your research of what the rules are for traveling to and from your desired country of choice. Covid travel restrictions by country and travel bans are differnent so its essential to be well informed before confirming any travel plans.
- Is there a self-isolation period?
- Do you need to provide a negative Covid result upon arrival?
- What countries are allowed to enter?
- Do rules change if you hold a passport from one country but reside in another country? (I for example hold a USA passport and currently many countries have banned USA residents from entering their country but since I am a UK resident this rules is waived for me if residents from the UK are allowed in said country.)
- What are the restrictions once in the country, such as resturants only doing take-out, hotels/airbnb opperating, are there cerfews etc.?
I like to check official government sites as they are the most trusted of sources. Additionally be sure to stay on top of travel rules to and from the country you are visiting including layovers you may be stopping at. I do this a week and then again 2 days before the trip as rules are constantly changing.
(EXP. A flight I had did a layover in Hungary. 2 days prior to my trip I learned that rules had changed in Hungry and they were not allowing anyone to enter the country. I had to rebook in Hungry which meanted having to go through customs so I wasn’t sure what the rules were for those doing layovers / rebooking in Hungary. Since I was on top of the change I had enough time to call the airline as well as the embassy to see what the rules were to ensure I could get on my connecting flight.)
2. Book – When booking your ticket be sure to read the fine print and familarize yourself with the ticket rules. Many airlines have altered their policies because of the pandemic but there is always a fine print including how long you can rebook for free, what changes can be made on your booking and refund restrictions. Be sure to read it!
To be on safe side, book a ticket that you can alter without having to pay an extra fee as country rules can change or your own plans change. It may be slightly higher in fare but airlines are being less forgiving these days given all the refunds and canceled flights they had to deal with in the begining of the pandemic.
3. Embassy – Call the country’s embassy to confirm you are allowed to enter the country. They will be the most informed of travel policies for their country specifically from the country the embassy is in. Additionally, they can direct you to other contacts or provide process details should additional steps be required.
(EXP. Under the U.S. proclimation only U.S. citizens and certain exempt travelers are allowed to enter. After reading the U.S. Embassy in UK’s website I learned that non-U.S. partners and children fall under the exempt list. Since the website did not share what documents or what the proccess would be needed to enter the U.S. I decided to call the embassy. They were able to confirm the necessary documents and connected me with U.S. customs to confirm as well.)
4. Emails – Airlines have done a fantastic job of preparing passangers for their flight by sharing new airline specific safety measures, forms specific to countries you will be flying to and up to date news regarding your flight. Some of us may not open these emails and worse yet, some of us don’t even read these emails. Start now.
I can’t stress enough that now more than ever you must be sure to open emails sent to you by the airline you are traveling with and read thoroughly to ensure you are caught up and ready for your flight. Check-In online in advance to ensure they know you are intending to fly and to get reminded of anything you may have missed or wasn’t shared via email. The amount of times I have heard passangers argue with inoccent airline staff about not knowing said form, or said process had to be taken only to be told that they were emailed this information is frustrating even for me. And yes, said passangers have had delays said to not being prepared.
5. Forms – Complete any travel forms or tests required to enter a country prior to your arrival. With regard to forms, some forms are to be completed online, others must be printed and filled before arrival and others you fill once you land in the country. Each country will have different forms so be sure to plan in advance to be ensure you have a smooth process during your trip
6. Masks – Do you have the right type of mask for your flight? Ensure you wear the approved style mask during your flight. Usually those handy emails you will get sent by the airline will say wether a specific type of mask should be worn. Some airlines only allow disposable masks to be worn during a flight so include this is your purchase list prior to your trip.
7. Tests – Get tested both before and after you trip. Most countries such as the USA and UK have made it mandatory to fly with a negative Covid test which makes this step necessary but provides more peace of mind when traveling.
Want to read more about what to expect while traveling during the current covid pandemic including additional resoucres and tips? Click HERE.
Now, sit back, relax, and enjoy the flight.