Updated: Nov 18, 2021
COVID has forever changed the way we travel in the world. From March 2020 when no one was able to safely make a move to today, where countries are each slowly finding the COVID protocols that feel best for them to begin allowing tourists again. In addition to searching for the best flight deals to your desired destination, some additional research is required to make sure you can have a smooth (and safe) journey.
1. Vaccination and COVID requirements for travel
Right now each country has their own process for welcoming visitors. Some countries are starting to ask for proof of vaccine to grant entry and while there are usually exceptions for people who are willing to quarantine or show proof of a negative COVID test, if you are traveling with others it is best to make sure everyone is on the same page. For instance, traveling to the UK right now might sound like a fun group trip but if some of your friends are going to have to quarantine upon arrival, this can really impact plans. Take some time to figure out what the requirements are and what this means, not only for yourself, but for your entire travel group as well.
Don’t forget that the United States also has re-entry requirements for citizens, so double-check that the country you are visiting has accessible COVID testing locations.
2. Insurance requirements
Some countries, like Costa Rica, Cambodia, Ukraine, and others have added additional requirements for insurance coverage in order to enter. This can look like traveler insurance that can cover potential accomodation and/or medical care if you happen to test positive for COVID while visiting. I actually love this requirement because it reminds people that there is an economic impact and responsibility to invite tourists into your country and this is a great way for a country to not carry that financial burden. Take some time in your travel insurance research because there are some specific details that each location requires. Also, don’t forget to add items like paying this insurance fee (and COVID testing, to reference #1) to your travel budget.
3. COVID protocols once you get there
We are familiar with potential COVID protocols with airlines, airports, and local governments, but what about the COVID culture of your destination? Hint: This isn’t just for international travel. Even within the US, traveling from California to Texas can create a huge COVID culture shock so take some time to look into how communities you visit may be individually responding to the virus. This may look different from city to city as well! In the Mexican state of Oaxaca, for instance, you may notice that the community in Oaxaca City (Oaxaca de Juarez) consistently wears their masks both indoors and outdoors. You are also likely to get your temperature taken before entering any establishment. Take a trip to the Oaxacan coast, however, and the beach towns like Puerto Escondido are much less concerned about COVID protocols.
There is no right answer here- no one way to travel the world right now, but it does create an opportunity for you to explore what feels best for you and the people you may be traveling with. Stay safe out there!