Traveling just became a little bit more difficult thanks to the coronavirus. The good news is, the vaccine may start “normalizing” traveling again by opening up borders and airlines. Still, how we travel is forever changed and in light of this, there are new details you’ll need to secure before you book your plane tickets.
Whether you’re traveling to Peru to brave the Amazon or Vegas for sports betting the Super Bowl in Florida, you’ll need to consider health, safety, and government protocols more now.
Let’s look at five of the first things to consider when traveling in a post-pandemic world:
1- Review your hygienic equipment
First and foremost, you’ll need to secure all the personal protective equipment (PPE) that you usually use now when leaving your house. These include:
- Facemasks – certified N95 respirators are recommended
- Cloth masks – not as effective as N95 but easier to find and more reusable
- Hand sanitizer – 100 ml or less
- Mouthwash – 100 ml or less
- Sanitizing wipes
- Gloves – disposable if possible
You should have all of these handy when traveling. Sanitize as many things you come across as possible including your seats and your phones. Make it a habit to sanitize before and after consuming anything if you haven’t yet.
2- Check your health, get tested, and see a doctor
Our health always matters but most of us take this for granted, especially if we’re on the younger side. Even if you feel strong and healthy, it’s best to see a doctor for a check-up or to get tested.
It’s a rare occurrence, but several COVID deaths from people aged 50 and below happened because of health complications. You may also be asymptomatic and run the risk of spreading diseases elsewhere. And you may get quarantined.
Ideally, you’d get vaccinated before making travel arrangements. But the vaccine isn’t expected to be widely available until mid-2021 depending on where you live.
Being vaccinated isn’t a necessity in many cases, but it could be. And this brings us to our next point.
3- Review both your government’s and your destination’s government regulations
Even with vaccination, lowering cases of coronavirus, and “life going back to normal”, governments may still maintain some regulations concerning the pandemic.
For instance, check about both your government’s and your destination government’s quarantine protocols and how strictly they enforce them. You wouldn’t want to use a chunk of your vacation being held in quarantine.
Some countries or locales may also enforce entry only for vaccinated individuals. If this is the case, you’ll need your paperwork or any proof of evidence or you risk being denied at the border.
Also, check if your government still requires mandatory self-isolation and if it applies to the destination you’re traveling to. You’ll have to factor this in when planning your trip as you may have to self-isolate when you return.
4- Get to know your destination’s beliefs on social distancing
Tied to the government regulations of your destination are the customs of the locales. Certain places like Italy and Spain initially got hit hard by the virus because they tend to have a more “touchy-feely” culture than others.
If you’re not the touchy-feely type or want to minimize the risk of infection as much as possible, you may want to avoid places like this. Sure, there are government regulations that emphasize social distancing but it can only go so far. Certain countries also tend to not abide by their own laws and this ties into how effective the government is in enforcing it.
Tied to this, you’ll also want to understand the population density of your destination. Italy has a dense population, which also contributed to the spread of COVID-19. Asian countries also have large populations in small spaces.
5- Get travel health insurance
Last and certainly not least, get to know travel insurance. While this was an afterthought for many travelers before, it may become a necessity now.
Travel health insurance will help you cover any costs you accrue if you need any medical services. Even in countries that have free public healthcare, it usually does not cover tourists. Having to pay out of pocket can be very costly.
If you already have health insurance, review it, and find out what it will cover per emergencies overseas.
You should also look into medical evacuation insurance, especially if you are traveling to places that may not have up-to-par health systems. This insurance can help pay for your emergency transportation should you need a higher quality facility, which could cost you an arm and a leg if uncovered.