While we’re all eager to get back out exploring the world after two years at home, travel during a global pandemic doesn’t look exactly like it used to. There are many additional precautions required and you can expect that things won’t go exactly as planned. Here are our top ten tips for managing your expectations and preparing for all the good and frustrating things about travel during Covid-19.
1. Check your cancellation policy
Airlines, hotels, and travel companies are offering even more flexibility than ever with Covid-19 in mind, but you still need to read the fine print before you book. Remember to find out: What are the penalties for cancellation/changes to a booking? What is the last day you can cancel/change your booking? If the booking is cancelled by the airline/hotel/operator what will your options be?
2. Buy travel insurance
We always encourage our customers to buy travel insurance, but this has never been more important than it is right now. There are so many ways your trip could be derailed these days, including constantly shifting regulations, numerous flight cancellations, and the possibility of contracting Covid-19. Make sure you protect yourself financially by purchasing travel insurance that covers all these potential scenarios and double-check that your policy will cover you for any travel advisories in place.
3. Plan for a longer trip
Because your trip could possibly be extended due to flight cancellations or mandatory isolation, make sure you have everything you need to be away for an extra few weeks. If you take any prescription medication, ensure you have extra so you won’t run out. The last thing you want to do is spend your trip trying to renew your prescription in another country.
4. Check before you go
Since things are changing quickly, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your travel plans to make sure everything is proceeding as planned. Check the status of any upcoming flights to ensure they haven’t been changed or cancelled. Keep an eye on current travel advisories and Covid-19 regulations of each area you are planning to visit as they can vary from city to city. Check to make sure restaurants and attractions are open before showing up.
5. Leave yourself some wiggle room for Covid-19 test results
Make sure to leave yourself as much time as possible to get your pre and post-travel test results back. Covid-19 test results are not always ready in the timeframe you are promised, so leave yourself as much time as possible to get the results back. Keep in mind that all travellers returning to Canada, regardless of vaccination status, are now subject to random Covid-19 testing and you must isolate at home until you receive your results. I just returned to Canada in early January and it took eight days to process my re-entry Covid-19 test.
6. Carry extra copies of all documentation
Bring extra paper and digital copies of all your documentation just in case. This includes your travel documents, proof of vaccination, test results, entry forms, and anything else you might need.
7. Bring snacks
Nothing can put you in a bad mood like being hungry. We’ve heard stories recently of flights not offering any food service and of hotel restaurants being closed without warning. Bring a few non-perishable snack items with you and consider packing your own meal for your next flight.
8. Pack something to keep yourself amused
Unfortunately, delays are common right now and you might find yourself waiting for a delayed flight or in a never-ending Covid-19 testing lineup. Make sure you have something to keep yourself and your travel companions entertained like a book, a podcast, a pack of cards, or a small travel game.
9. Treat customer service staff with kindness
Staffing shortages due to Covid-19 are a major issue across all sectors, but especially in the travel and hospitality industry. This means there is a good chance you won’t receive the level of customer service you’re accustomed to. Try to keep in mind that anyone working in customer service during the pandemic is putting themselves in a high-risk situation and dealing with a lot of extra stress. Be kind.
10. Pack Your Patience
Most importantly, adjust your expectations for travel and think of it as an adventure. It’s almost certain that something won’t go as planned but having a tantrum won’t help. Being able to explore the world is a privilege and sometimes the best parts of a trip are when things don’t go as planned.
Have you travelled during the past few months? Do you have any other tips you think we should share? Let us know in the comments!