The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic will have a lasting effect on the travel industry for some time to come. Even as countries are rolling out vaccination programmes, it may take a while before going on holiday looks like it used to. When travel restrictions are lifted, if you’re going abroad in 2021, being prepared is crucial in making the process as stress-free as possible.
Some of the measures you may have to take include packing extra cleaning products for your hotel room, knowing where to get a PCR test, knowing the protocols for destinations on your itinerary, and familiarising yourself with your Local Test to Release provider from Medicspot.
Check your destination’s travel restrictions
Always make sure that you are aware of all the safety protocols in your destination. Many countries now require you to take a Covid-19 test 72 hours prior to departure, and you may be asked to provide evidence that you have tested negative at the border of the country you plan to enter. You may also be asked to quarantine, and negative PCR tests might be requested on certain days of your quarantine period. If you don’t comply, you could receive a hefty fine, so do your research, pay for tests and be prepared before setting off.
Read your provider’s cancellation policy
If possible, book hotels and flights via a reputable provider. Do they offer a free cancellation policy? Thoroughly check over their cancellation policies prior to booking to make sure you can cancel free of charge in the event anything changes.
Make sure this applies to both accommodation and flights – the last thing you need is to be charged for those couple of nights in a swanky hotel once you’ve cancelled your flights.
Check your accommodation’s Covid-19 policy
Check the sanitising procedures of the hotel or rental you will be staying in. Do not stay with friends or family unless you have quarantined and tested negative for Covid-19.
Ensure that your hotel’s standards of hygiene are high, and that they insist on the wearing of face masks in public spaces, have stations with hand sanitiser, give customers temperature checks, enforce social distancing and have a contact tracing policy.
Try to ask for reduced housekeeping to keep contact with others to a minimum, and take care in public places such as hotel restaurants. Order room service where you can, and disinfect surfaces and cutlery before use.
Research nearby Covid-19 testing centres
If you start to display symptoms of Covid-19, you will need to get tested as soon as possible. Also, even if you are travelling to a country that doesn’t have PCR testing as an entry requirement, getting tested puts your own mind, and the minds of others, at ease.
Even if you have already had the vaccine, take precautions and know where your nearest testing centre is by asking your hotel. You should also download any apps that allow test and trace.
Pack the right cleaning essentials
Not only should you ensure that you have plenty of antibacterial wipes, hand sanitiser and face masks for your trip and hotel room, but you should also think about your flight. Pack food where you can in your carry-on to minimise the need for airline food and buying food in the airport.
Pack a face mask, face shield and goggles, so that you cannot touch your eyes or face during the flight. It is important that you take steps to not touch your face so often when flying, as face touching is a way that Covid-19 spreads.
If your flight is under five hours, eat before you board so you do not have to remove your mask to eat during your flight. When you arrive in your hotel room, disinfect every surface, including high touchpoints such as light switches and door handles.
Take a disinfectant with you (packed in your hold luggage) that is at least 70% alcohol. If you really want to be extra careful, pack a bathroom cleaner and cloth, and inform housekeeping that you’ll clean your own bathroom during your stay.
Get travel insurance
Perhaps one of the most important safety tips of all is to get travel insurance. It’ll save you paying a hefty fee, should your trip be delayed, baggage gets lost or if you need emergency coverage.
Do your research and find a good provider, but avoid the ones that may be trying to take advantage of you by making it virtually impossible to file a claim, or charge high deductibles.
Know the new airport rules
Numerous airports have changed their layouts and processes to comply with COVID-19 guidelines. In which case, allow time for delays and changes to your typical airport schedule.
These revised rules are in place to cut down contact, so it’s recommended to check-in online before you arrive at the airport. It’s also worth taking minimum hand luggage.
Watch out for signs and staff when you’re in the airport – they’re there to give guidance on things like:
- Security procedures
- How to wait in line at check-in
- Where to sit
- How to maintain social distancing to prevent congestion
Read up on the government’s safer air guidance for passengers, which provides lots of info on airport and plane procedures. However, a couple of important points to remember on your trip include:
- Washing your hands frequently
- Maintaining social distancing rules
- Wearing a mask (unless you’re excused)
- Using contactless pay
- Taking antibacterial wipes with you for regularly used surfaces
Currently, it’s best to think about using private transfers from the airport to your accommodation rather than public transport. This is because hygiene measures are strictly maintained.
Purchase tickets online
To avoid queuing with the masses or handling paper tickets and money, purchase your tickets online. Touchless ticketing is the name of the game during these unprecedented times, in which a provider asks a visitor to book a time slot via a QR code. Don’t forget to charge your phone beforehand.
These are some of the things you need to know if you’re looking to travel during the novel coronavirus. Follow the above tips, and you’re sure to prepare and plan your trip successfully during the pandemic.