top tips for traveling during the pandemic
I’ve learned the hard way what it’s like to travel during these times. I’ve made tons of mistakes. If you’re making plans to travel soon, follow these top 6 tips for traveling during the pandemic to make your trip as smooth as possible.
We hear of travel restrictions, but the reality is that people are still traveling. I personally have been to more than 20 countries since the pandemic started.
It has been challenging but possible. The world may be experiencing a shift but the best we can do is adapt and move on. If anything, traveling during the pandemic comes with its perks, like I shared in this article.
So, what does it mean to travel during the pandemic? Last-minute changes, flight cancellations, unexpected border closures because of new strains. You can also expect delays and some extra flying procedures like staying masked up throughout your trip. But, as complicated as this all sounds, not only is it still possible to travel now, but I highly recommend it.
This is why.
1. Book your flights directly with the airline
Booking directly with the airline in these times has its advantages. Third-party providers offer low prices (Expedia, Kiwi, Orbitz…), but they are not so reliable when it comes to changes or cancellation fees. Many airlines have favorable policies in place for customers with the understanding that anything can happen.
Airlines have become incredibly flexible these days. Let’s face it: they want your money, and want to keep it, so they’ll go out of their way to make you feel safe. If you see there’s an option for a refundable ticket/free date change, go ahead and pay the extra amount. It’s better to pay a little extra than to lose the full amount you paid for a ticket. I recently traveled with a flight that was purchased at the beginning of 2020. Not only was it still valid but I had to change the date a few times before flying, all for free. It’s 2022 as I write this.
2. Make use of free cancelation policies for accommodation, tours, and activities booked
Another tip for traveling during the pandemic. When you’re booking accommodation, tours, and activities make sure to find out about their cancellation policies. Be sure you have a clear understanding of their policies before you book! Nowadays, most booking websites have a filter available for “free cancellations”.
If you’re afraid of booking because you believe that most businesses won’t have cancellation policies in place, fear not. Many businesses have adapted and understand that it takes flexibility to guarantee that customers will continue to book trips.
3. Get travel insurance, and make sure that it has CoVid coverage
It’s good to be prepared for anything, because you never know what might happen nowadays. The last thing you want is to be stranded somewhere with no option of where to go and what to do. Yes, you might get CoVid while traveling. You could end up in a hospital. Or you might simply have to quarantine at a hotel in your destination if you have mild symptoms.
So, it’s highly advisable to get travel insurance with medical coverage included. Even if you don’t get seriously ill, this kind of insurance will cover your quarantine expenses. Flight changes. Any kind of expenses incurred because you caught CoVid. Whether it is private or through your credit card, this should be a must.
4. Be mindful of travel/entry restrictions
Do not assume that it’s as easy as buying a flight and getting on a plane. Every single country has different travel restrictions. These can include taking a CoVid test before boarding the flight, having travel insurance, being fully registered on a local CoVid app, having to quarantine on arrival, or being fully vaccinated to enter the country of destination. You will be denied boarding if you don’t have the necessary paperwork.
Checking with your airline before traveling is not enough. Countries might update their restrictions right before you fly. If you want to stay updated, use the interactive maps that some airlines have created – they’re more up to date than their articles. I personally use the Delta one, even if I’m not flying with them. Just check by city and country.
For the best accurate and most up-to-date information, make sure to use the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) site. It does take a couple of minutes to fill out, but it will be very specific on the requirements that are needed. While this all might seem confusing, I can assure you that all the information you need is online.
5. Be flexible
Trust me when I say, being rigid in these times will cause you unnecessary anxiety. Always bear it in mind that plans can change anytime nowadays so carry a book, a water bottle and be ready for anything. It’s the year 2022 and whatever problem arises, you’re a phone call or email away from solving your problems. And that’s why you bought CoVid travel insurance, right?
6. Get Vaccinated
Who am I to tell you what to do with your body? Nobody. But I am giving you tips on how to make travel easier during the pandemic.
There are a good amount of countries around the world that are not allowing unvaccinated travelers in. And then there are countries like Italy, the UK, Uganda and Colombia, that recently dropped negative tests as part of the requirements to enter their countries to boost tourism – as long as you’re fully vaccinated. This list will keep increasing, and being vaccinated is going to become the norm for countries to accept tourists.
It will be a while before the tourism industry goes back to “normal”. In the meantime, it is best to just adapt. The world is still open for tourism, it’s all a matter of perspective and figuring out where to go. I still think that despite all the new restrictions, traveling during these times is still worth it. These would be my top tips to follow for traveling during the pandemic, so you can avoid making the same mistakes that I have. Best of luck!