Covid Travel Tips
The pandemic has made a lot of things inconvenient. For travel, this virus has only caused problems, complications, and confusion. Due to multiple lockdowns and restrictions, many of us have not been able to go where we want (and when we want to).
While I am by no means a master, I've picked up some tips through my travels and thought this would be an appropriate topic worth sharing. We'll do two focuses here: domestic travel & international travel. I know both don't apply to everyone, so if you're only interested in one type, I've split them up JUST FOR YOU.
COVID Travel Tips: Domestic
|Yellowstone National Park - 2019: No clue who these people were, but there were just so many people there that day I thought it'd be accurate to show the true side of travel.|
- Embrace the American tradition of road trips! Car-culture is truly a thing in the United States. For decades, Americans have been piling into their automobiles and hitting the open road. While a large part of this was due to the shear size of the U.S., now days, it is the prime choice of travel again. Single households in a confined space together. No risk for a strangers' germs. Take back that freedom to go anywhere.
- Rediscover the great outdoors! Why bother with crowded spaces, indoor facilities, and closed-down attractions? America is home to some of the world's most beautiful scenery, wildlife, and natural wonders. With over 400 national parks and more than 6,500 state parks, there is plenty of opportunity to discover something new. Never been camping before? Now's the perfect time to start!
- Check local/state restrictions. The beauty of our country is that not all states have to do things the same. With that, be sure you are aware of the differing restrictions in the states you plan to travel to. I found this information page from AARP particularly handy (click this to see).
- This one is a bit "duh", but I can't not say this one. Always have a mask on hand. Depending where you are or where you're going, places may require a mask & it's a pain in the butt not to have one when you need to run into the pharmacy or gas station or wherever.
- Be respectful. Americans are instinctively opinionated. Everyone has their own beliefs, attitudes, and practices when dealing with this virus. There has been plenty of confrontation because of this, so please just try to respect the fact that not everyone is going to see things the way you do. I'm not here to say what's right/wrong, but just to remind you that, at the end of the day, we're all human. We're all in this together.
COVID Travel Tips: International
|Croatia - Covid era: Masks.|
- When in doubt, test it out. It is difficult figuring out which countries are open to travelers and which ones aren't. Once you do confirm your prospective destination is open, it's another hurdle learning what the testing/vaccine-requirements are. From my experiences, it is better to have taken some form of Covid test prior to boarding your flight or crossing a border regardless. Many times, there is so much information out there that people can be misinformed and as a result, deny entry/boarding to you because they aren't even aware of the real requirements. It's nice to have a negative test in your back pocket just in case.
- Do your research! Knowledge is power and if there is anything I've learned from traveling internationally during this pandemic it's that the more information you have as a traveler, the more security you have in getting to your desired destination. I've found having printed-out excerpts directly from state-sponsored websites are extremely valuable when presenting your case to ill-informed airline employees (and even border agents at times). The more information you have, the better your chances just make sure your sources are reliable and credible.
- Be confident. This is a multifaceted tip here. On one hand, be confident in your research. If you've found the restrictions, you've done everything you need to be allowed entry, then be confident when being screened by airlines or border guards. What I've come to find out (mainly with airline employees) is that many of the "on-the-ground" decisions being made whether or not someone is permitted to travel is done so on an individual basis where a single person can hold the fate of your travel plans in the palm of their hand. If you're confident in the homework you've done, be sure of yourself. Just please, don't be rude about it -- everyone is just trying to do their best in the midst of this chaos. The second aspect of this confidence is to be confidence in your travels. Airplanes have become one of, if not, the safest ways to travel during the pandemic. With mask requirements, air filtration systems, enhanced disinfecting measures, and sometimes even testing requirements, airplanes should make you feel confident in getting where you need to go without a massive risk of contracting anything.
- Stay flexible. I've never meant this more in my life! In this day and age, things are literally changing at a moment's notice. Many times, we aren't even getting an adequate notice. The airlines have been helpful by loosening up their rebooking policies, but boy oh boy have you got to remember that in this time, we don't have much control over whether a country will change its own plans.
- Because of the nature of this beast, it is best to overplan. I remember back when this site first started, I really lived by "just winging it", and, sadly now, that is not really as possible as it once was. What I mean by overplanning is to plan for multiple scenarios, just in case. This kind of piggybacks off of the previous tip, stay flexible, but because of the ever-changing nature of things, it's best to have 1) your original plan 2) Plan B 3) Plan C....4) Plan D, E, & F. You get the picture.
- Plan ahead...kind of. While planning is perhaps more important now more than ever, you can't exactly do that too far in advance. Many countries revise their restrictions every couple of weeks, so if you find yourself planning very far in advance, keep in mind a country may change their requirements multiple times over before it will even apply to you and your travel itinerary.