Traveling in the age of COVID-19: a checklist for ease
What to do ahead of, during and after travel
Although not a deluge, many travelers are traveling again.
Travel has changed in some ways and not at all. Even in the safest circumstances travel can be unpredictable. We still need to prepare, create thoughtful plans and figure out basic logistics especially to stay healthy.
Here’s a “Checklist For Ease” with what to do ahead of, during and after travel.
- Work with a travel advisor (such as one from The Travel Society*). We’re “in the know” and take great care to make sure plans fit your needs.
- Explore non-stop flights. Minimize connecting flights if possible.
- Be clear on cancellation and refund policies. Although there’s much more flexibility than pre-Covid, it’s good to understand how to protect your travel investment.
- Understand that you might be required to sign some waivers
- Research the destination. Knowledge is power.
- Explore the State’s Health Services website to learn about current restrictions and protocols for travelers. Typically you can dig deeper and uncover current health statistics for the county you’re visiting.
- You might also find traveler information on the destination’s Office of Tourism website. For example, for my upcoming trip to Tucson, I checked out Arizona’s information on their visitors’ website. It combines data and resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Department of State, the Arizona Department of Health Services and the Office of Arizona Governor.
For International Travel
- Review the U.S. State Department information for that country.
- Entry requirements for that country often found on the official tourism website (A negative Covid test as well as travel insurance, for example, might be a requirement).
- Determine whether there are testing requirements and or mandatory health forms that need to be submitted at time of travel and or for access into the country.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment program.
- Become familiar with health and safety practices at your accommodations. Peruse the accommodation’s website for Covid-specific information.
- Most properties have elevated their cleanliness and precautions so that guests stay healthy and feel safe. For example for an upcoming trip to Miraval Tucson, the resort shares a Safety First, Well-Being Always summary explaining its policies thought the resort. Providing assurance and specific practices has become the norm within the travel industry.
- Procure a COVID-test ahead of travel. For some destinations this will be a requirement. Although not required at all locations, you might want a test for assurance that you’re not putting fellow travelers, friends and loved ones at risk. You can request a test seventy-two hours prior to departure from your doctor or choose the rapid test right before leaving or upon arrival. Many airports offer these tests as well as Urgent Care centers.
- Learn about the medical facilities at the destination especially if traveling internationally.
- Purchase travel insurance is a must if sojourning to a foreign country. You want coverage for medical as well as accommodations for quarantine in case you’re exposed while traveling.
- Bring extra documentation. Some states and countries require a recent COVID test as well as a copy of your travel insurance with particular coverage specified. Bring a copy of any prescriptions.
- Chat with your physician to learn of any other suggestions and or concerns.
The Day Before Departure
- Enjoy an immunity drip! It’s flu seasonably the way.Take a look again at the destinations website to be sure nothing has changed
- Don’t make any items on the checklist a big deal. It’s just something you need to take care of.
- Be extra careful, just like you are at home.
- Wear a face-mask and socially distance.
- Be independent by packing what you need. You don’t want to run errands inside a store. Include extra medications, face masks and hand sanitizer.
When You Return Home
- Continue to be extra careful.
- Catch up on sleep, eat well and let your body recover from the trip.
- If possible stay at home for a few days, isolating a little bit just to know that all is well!
Although this list offers many practical suggestions for navigating travel during Covid-19, ease is also a mindset. Enjoy the opportunity to travel, no matter what.
Amy Quinn, founder of Spirit Road Travel, is a travel expert and has been focused these past few months on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting people’s ability to travel. Her work has also uncovered an interesting outcome in regards to people’s current perception of travel and a search for more meaningful experiences.