There’s good news for travel lovers! We are starting to see travel restrictions lifted.
Once we do start traveling again, the world of travel will be different.
Here are 3 tips for how to prepare yourself to travel again.
Coming… and Going
It’s not enough to have a valid passport anymore .
These days, you may not be able to get there from here. Even if planes say they are flying, and hotels are open where you want to go, it doesn’t mean you’ll be allowed to actually enter.
Every day brings word about a patchwork of destinations opening, all on different schedules, with different restrictions.
Are you confused? So are we. But we've discovered a couple of helpful web sites tracking re-openings in the travel industry.
Some countries whose borders had been closed have now begun to open their borders, beginning with select – usually nearby – countries. Yours may not be one of them.
But set aside the issue of crossing international borders. Even travel within countries – including travel within the US and within Canada - may not be possible, with air and road restrictions maintaining secure state or provincial borders.
Even if the border may be officially open, there could be a catch - you could face a 14-day quarantine when you arrive in your destination.
Or, on the flip side, you could face a quarantine period on your return home.
If quarantining on your arrival to your destination and/ or on your return home is NOT something you want to commit to do, make sure before you go you know all the regulations involved with arrival and departures so you don’t get caught by surprise.
If you know you’re going to have to quarantine, make sure you prep for that entire period of time in advance, with plans for someone else to restock you with groceries and medications and run any other errands you need so you don't break your quarantine obligations by not being prepared.
No matter where you live and what kind of health insurance you have, travel usually changes your insurance status. And it is always – always! recommended to have comprehensive medical travel insurance so if you become sick while you are traveling, you have access to medical treatment to help you recover and keep other people safe from your sickness - and not be stuck with an enormous bill.
Now that COVID is a known factor, that has changed what is and is not covered under a medical travel insurance policy you might already have – many frequent travelers have an annual policy still in effect, for example. And it certainly affects what is and is not covered if you buy a new policy.
Please check with your travel advisor who sold you your travel insurance – or check directly with your insurance company, to see what is or may not be covered!
That’s only one type of travel insurance. Travelers buy insurance to protect their financial investment in their trips, too, and those cancellation policies are also affected by the pandemic. You may be able to purchase an upgrade that will protect you financially if you need to cancel travel plans due to the outbreak.
When it comes to either travel or medical travel insurance, DO NOT assume you have coverage – it’s the worst situation to find out during an emergency that you do not.
Double check so you can make smart decisions.
What if you’ve already had COVID-19? There are now people beginning to travel – who, after exposure, are now immune to the virus. They should have no problems traveling, right?
For people who haven’t acquired immunity already, there are efforts underway to develop immunizations to make them able to safely travel, too.
The question is now: how to communicate or assure any destination of your immunity?
You could show a medical certificate.
Another proposal that’s been suggested – and we may see in our future - is for basically an ‘immunity passport’. That turns out to be controversial for some people. But from my point of view - this is neither controversial nor new.
I still have my little document that tracks every vaccination I’ve had since I was a small child – right up to vaccinations I’ve had much more recently – in order to be able to go on some of my extensive travels.
People seem to forget in the panic surrounding COVID-19 that recommended – and required! With proof! – immunizations for travel are not new.
Lots of people wisely get recommended immunizations for Hepatitis A & B just for week-long all-inclusive beach vacations a short flight away. And I’ve had vaccinations for typhoid and other serious diseases for the purposes of travel. And did you know there are still dozens of countries that require travelers wanting to enter their countries show proof they’ve been immunized against yellow fever in order to get an entry visa?
So it makes a lot of sense to me that COVID-19 becomes just one more line on my list of immunizations that I might have to show in order to be able to get an entry visa or cross a border. It helps me and my health care providers keep track – and it also shows respect to people in places where I want to travel that I’m not a health threat to their communities.
It’s a privilege to be able to travel to so many places, and proof of immunization is us doing our part to earn that privilege and show that respect for their country and their safety.
We can’t wait to travel again- but in the ‘new normal’ developing in our post-COVID world, these are 3 new bits of research and preparations you are going to need to add to your travel planning process.
Happy traveling again soon!
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