Traveling in 2021 and beyond is likely to look a lot different; however, I have put together a few safe travel tips to help with your travels. There are many things to keep in mind. Beyond travel restrictions, you will need to consider country reopenings, test requirements, and/or vaccine requests. It may seem overwhelming at first but as these things become part of the new travel norm, you will get used to it.
Safe Travel Tips: Navigating Travel Through COVID Restrictions
Where Can We Go?
One of the top safe travel tips to keep in mind is deciding on where you want to go. The easiest places to go will be domestic destinations as those will be most easily accessible to travelers. It will be easier to go somewhere in your own country than it is to leave. You will also have far fewer hassles and hoops to jump through.
If you are ready to go on a bigger trip, there are many places that are open or will be reopening soon to international tourists. You can use a tool like this one to see which countries are currently on the list. This may help you narrow down the options based on what’s available.
What Should We Look for?
The next safe travel tip involves knowing what to look for. If you’re still narrowing down where you may want to go then there are a few things to consider. The first is how long you plan on traveling. If it’s a short period of time, then it might be easiest to go somewhere closer to home. If you have a bit more flexibility and wiggle room, planning an international trip is more possible.
One other thing you may want to consider when choosing your destination is the COVID transmission numbers at your destination. Some countries have reopened to tourists but do still have high transmission numbers. This could pose a risk and possibly one you’re not willing to take. Do a thorough assessment of what current rates look like as well as how that country has handled things in general before making your decision.
Related: Safe Travel and Maintaining Low Risk During Pandemic Conditions
What are the Requirements to Enter and Return?
One of the biggest things you’ll need to consider when navigating your travel through COVID restrictions is the requirements to enter a new country (or state in some cases) and what is required when you re-enter your home country. In some cases, you may be facing a long quarantine that would be expensive and potentially make your travel meaningless as you’ll be stuck in a hotel room.
In other cases, you may need a PCR test or proof of vaccination before entering. This generally needs to be timed in a way that meets the local requirements and can be costly especially if there are several people traveling. It could also mean needing to take more than one test to make sure you have the results in time.
Likewise, when you return home, you need to know what tests or quarantine rules may be in place. There also may be forms or other reporting that needs to happen. This is again, an additional item to research and be prepared to pay for. You will want to seek out destinations that have easily accessible COVID testing so that you can get what you need before your return.
What Happens if We Get Sick?
Of course, one of the biggest concerns any traveler has (COVID or not) is what happens if you get sick. This goes for before or during the trip. Now more than ever having travel insurance is a critical part of your travel plans. Really spend time understanding what is and isn’t covered before purchasing your plan.
Along with this, pay attention to the cancellation policies of all your travel components; airfare, hotels, and activities. If you should get sick before the trip it is helpful to have some peace of mind. Many travel companies now offer a more lenient policy. If you know you will be rebooking your trip, ask to change the date if you know when your future plans will be instead of a full refund to get the best possible outcome to a bad situation, especially if it’s close to your travel date. Some places may offer a full refund but for others, this may be the best option.
It’s very possible to travel today but taking time to navigate through the hurdles and challenges is an important aspect not to be skipped! Use the safe travel tips mentioned above to help get you started. Gather trustworthy resources to help you plan all aspects of your trip so you can have a great time, even post-pandemic. Also, please consult your primary care physician (PCP) if you ever have any questions about your health.