Long are the days where you could just hop on the computer, book a plane ticket to anywhere you wanted to go, and live it up in another state or country. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives in so many ways and what used to be "normal" is now a thing of the past...for now at least.
Whether you think staying put and not traveling is the best way to deal with the pandemic or whether you feel like you should still travel but responsibly and with caution it's still good to understand how traveling has changed so you can prepare for the changes whether you choose to travel now or later. Let's face it, our "normal" way of traveling won't be back for a long time and adjustments will have to be made.
Before You Book
1. Make sure you understand which countries are letting Americans in right now because the list of countries change on a day to day basis. Visit the state or countries heath department website for covid rules and regulations.
2. Make sure that if a country is letting Americans in you fully understand what the policy is to get in. For example, as of September 3rd 2020, Hawaii has enacted a mandatory 14-day traveler quarantine and passenger verification process for those traveling to the Hawaiian Islands according to their government website. Jamaica on the other hand will allow you in with a negative covid test but you have to stay at your covid approved accommodation for 14 days and can't leave the premises. Don't assume that the policy for every country is the same. Some are a lot more strict than others.
3. Some countries require a negative covid test taken within a certain amount of days before getting into the country which can take some planning. You'd then have to call testing centers around your area to see what the turn around time is for covid results. Some states process covid tests faster than some. The states that are doing better with covid cases can process results faster than those who are having a problem with containing the spread.
Walgreens and CVS in some areas are rolling out drive-thru testing. On the CVS the website it states results are generally available within 2-3 days. You will have to remain in your vehicle and you will be given a swab and asked to collect a sample of nasal secretions...so be prepared to do the test yourself!
This is a very crucial part when planning your trip. The worst thing would be to book your ticket and take your test and it doesn't get to you in time. It also doesn't hurt to tell the worker that you need it expedited for a trip. They may have the authority to prioritize your test and get it back to you quickly.
4. Check out which airline has social distancing policies like the middle seat blocked out. If there is a flight for the same price with a few different airlines it would be smart to choose the airline with the middle seat blocked out, the one that disinfects the plane after each flight, and just does the most to protect their customers.
You can find out how each airline is doing by heading to their website and reading their covid changes and procedures.
Staying Safe At The Airport
Even though has increased cleaning and disinfecting equipment and surfaces at screening checkpoints you should still proceed with caution. The airport is one of the germiest places and the last thing we want to do is catch the virus at the airport or during our travels so here are some ways to keep as safe as possible! According to CBS News a new study finds airport security bins are a hotbed for germs that can cause illnesses in humans, such as the flu and the common cold
Wear your mask
Use a plastic bin cover so your belongings aren't touching the germ filled bins they give to you
Wash your hands before, during, and after the plane ride
Use hand sanitizer
Bring the travel sized Lysol Spray to spray surfaces
Bring Lysol wipes to wipe down your tray table, arm rests, TV screen, etc
Maintain your distance
A lot of airlines are allowing people to enter the plane based on seat row rather than zone now so that way entering the plane is more organized and orderly. The same goes for exiting the plane. I recently took an Aeromexico flight to NYC and they let each row exit one by one. Once one row got up and got their belongings and walked out then the next row was able to go. It takes a lot longer to exit the plane but it helps to not have everyone so close to each other.
Check out ScumBag which is a black owned company who sells sanitizing travel kits so you have all the necessary items to stay germ free while traveling on the plane and in the airport. I personally used their kit on the way to Mexico 2 weeks ago and the items in the kit were very convenient.
Tips From Travel Bloggers Who Have Traveled During The Pandemic
Pandemic Destination: Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
Advice: My biggest piece of advice for traveling during the pandemic is to only do what you’re comfortable doing. You may feel pressured by social media to travel or not to travel. I encourage you to assess your own risk and to act accordingly. If you do it right, you can stay safe and have fun at the same time.
Pandemic Destination: Tulum, Mexico
Advice: JUST GO! With taking precautionary measures of course but be prepared for the social backlash from some friends and family. It’s been hard on all of us for months now. We all need the reboot. So take the leap, book that trip but also take safety measures to protect your self and others around you.
Pandemic Destination: Granada, Nicaragua
Advice: It's okay to travel, but do it safely. The world still exists and we shouldn’t stop doing the things we like to do. Do your research. Research what countries are open to Americans, what they can expect of airport procedures, what they can and cannot do in the country and what the covid precautions are.
Pandemic Destination: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Advice: If you traveling with anyone it should be a requirement for everyone to get a covid test before and after the trip. Try to get your own separate rooms if you can to avoid direct contact with each other.
Contact your Airbnb host or hotel and see how they are taking safety precautions and that the rooms are being cleaned and disinfected.
Lastly the obvious is to not touch your face, use masks, gloves, sanitizer, and wash those hands. You may be on vacation but don't forget we are still in a pandemic. Don't get too comfortable
Check out my Puerto Rico Itineary Here
Pandemic Destination: Ireland
Traveling during covid with my
Two small kids especially internationally gave me a lot of anxiety but I was reassured as soon as I got to the airport. It was quieter than usual (JFK at that) and because I had children TSA showed me grace by keeping me
Separated from crowds of people. I took Aerlingus to Ireland and the plane was practically empty. We wore mask the whole 6 hr flight and got tested upon arriving in Ireland. Ireland is one of the few European countries still allowing Americans with some restrictions. Overall it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be!
Whatever you decide to do when it comes to traveling I think we can all agree that its best to do your research and be as safe as possible. Following your favorite travel bloggers who are currently traveling can also help with getting first hand information!
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