We are living in a time that is constantly changing in line with the pandemic. While vaccines have been available all across the U.S.A., other countries are still in the process of struggling to vaccinate. With all the confusion of different countries and their rules, planning travel for 2021 (and perhaps even 2022) can be daunting, to say the least. However, you can and arguably should travel.
I mean, many places thrive on your tourism. If you are willing to be responsible, I see no reason why you should not book that trip now and go! However, you need to know the rules before you book your flight. So, I intend to make your life easier with some tips before you do so.
First, know thyself.
Are you comfortable with going to [insert your next planned destination here], knowing that vaccinations may or may not be prominent in that location? The simple fact is, while much of the U.S. has had access to vaccinations, they are leading the way in this trend. Currently, I am living in Portugal. For young people, the vaccine is still a pipe dream. However, Portugal is using effective measures to prevent the spread of the virus. However, the thing is, you need to decide what it is YOU are comfortable with. Know that others may not be vaccinated. Know that you can still pass the virus even if you are vaccinated. It’s all very complicated, but you need to be comfortable, or you will not enjoy your trip abroad.
Second, know the rules.
This is perhaps the most difficult and complicated time to book a trip. With variants, changing rules, and different rates of infection, it is very difficult to know how, when, and where you can go. To make matters more complicated, you can book your trip one minute with open borders only to find out that your destination has closed its borders after some changes in infection rates. My best advice to combat this issue? Know your airline and hotel/airbnb/resort rules. The best choice right now is one that is possible to either have the option to postpone or even cancel, if need be. A great resource for finding these rules is the Travel.State.Gov website. This website is constantly updated (sometimes daily) by embassies in the region. For example, if you are planning a trip to Greece, you can check the Travel U.S. website to see the current rules, regulations, and restrictions.
Third, be prepared to get tested…sometimes at your own expense.
Vaccinated or not, you may still need a test to cross into your next destination. Is this a big deal? No. Do you need to plan for this? Yes. Most often, the airlines themselves need to see the proof of a negative Covid test before allowing you to check in and board. If you do not have this test, (vaccinated or not) you may be denied boarding. The best thing to do is to check the country you are trying to visit to see what the rules are. You can use the Travel.Gov resource to help you determine the rules. Keep in mind that the PCR test needs to be done in advance and only lasts a few days, so you need to plan accordingly. Depending on your insurance, you may be able to get the test done free. These are all things to think about when planning your trip.
Fourth, know thy travel health passport.
Right now, to go out to eat in Vienna, you need to show a health passport. That passport needs to show either a proof of approved vaccination or a negative Covid test. A vaccination is not mandatory, but proof that you do not have the virus is. Depending on your destination, there should be an app to download in order to use that destination’s health passport. Usually a google search will reveal this app. However, you can also check the Travel.Gov website.
Fifth, travel responsibly.
Whether or not you have had the vaccine, you need to be ready to be responsible while traveling. Feeling ill? Don’t go. Wear a mask, even if you have been vaccinated. If you are okay with taking extra steps you would not have, say in 2018, then you are ready to go! Keep your distance and respect your fellow travelers and locals. Wash your hands. We can all keep each other safe by taking some extra steps that will help us to be safer travelers.
Traveling somewhere specific and have questions about your destination? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be happy to look into your destination for you at no cost to you!