14 Things To Check Off Your Travel Safety List
While global travel and tourism are starting their return to normality, there is no doubt that many of us are still nervous about travelling during the pandemic.
One of the ways you can help overcome this perfectly reasonable apprehension is to make sure you are fully prepared.
After all, we all know our five P’s, right?
Proper Preparation Prevents Pre-flight Panic!
With that in mind, we’ve put together this Covid travel safety checklist to help you enjoy yourself, without letting the pandemic get in the way.
- Check your destination’s specific entry requirements and travel restrictions. Many countries are only admitting visitors once they have proof of a negative Covid-19 test or proof of vaccination. How that proof needs to be presented might change between destinations. You may also want to research if your departing and arrival airport have specific protocols to follow and get ready in advance. If you are considering an itinerary with a connection through another country to get to your final destination, make sure you validate the entry requirements for those too as they are constantly evolving.
- Get travel insurance. Get effective travel insurance or contact your credit card company to see if they provide travel insurance that cover you. When picking your coverage, make sure you read through all the clauses, especially those relating to preexisting conditions and see if they apply to you. Ask your travel insurance what hospitals you can go to and what are the procedures to follow in case you do become ill. If you have insurance, make sure they cover you in case you become ill with covid. Many insurance companies do not cover this and sell Covid insurance as a stand alone policy. Also check if you are covered for expenses such as hotel, food and flight ticket changes in case you test positive and must change your travel plans to stay behind and quarantine for 10-14 days. Consult the Government of Canada’s website for the latest information about Insurance.
- Check the sanitizing protocols for your accommodation or resort. You’ll want to make sure that where you are staying has proper safety precautions in place, such as hand-sanitizing stations, temperature checks, social distancing regulations, and contract tracing policies.
- Map out nearby Covid-19 testing sites at your destination. Some countries will require you to have a second Covid-19 test either on arrival or after a certain number of days. So, it’s a good idea to know where the local testing centres are. You will also need a PCR test to enter Canada and finding one ahead of time and knowing what their delays are for obtaining results should be done ahead of time.
- Check the state of local healthcare. When selecting a destination and before heading out, check on how local healthcare facilities are dealing with the pandemic. Make sure they aren’t overwhelmed with cases and that they can handle both pandemic and non-pandemic-related cases.
- Pack your pandemic essentials. Don’t rely on getting items like masks, antiseptic wipes, and hand sanitizer at your destination or on the plane. Always pack some and bring them with you. Have these items with you at your seat since you will need them before and during your flight.
- Have an itinerary. Understanding where you want to go in advance means you can plan out the safety destinations and take proper precautions.
- Have a contingency plan. The risk of resurgence should not be underestimated. Assess your options and how easy you can change your plans if you need to get home quickly.
- Check on your flight (s) prior to heading to the airport. There are many delayed and cancelled flights due to short staff and with the resurgence of Omicron, staff calling in sick. Look at what other flights are available with your carrier and their competitors. Try to change your flights and tell the airline what you want and ask them to remind you of your passenger rights in the given situation. If you don’t feel the airline is being cooperative or you simply don’t know your rights, reach out to your travel agent who booked your travel or drop a quick line to seek free information in Facebook groups such as Airpassengerights.
While You’re on the Plane
- Read and understand the health and safety guidance. Most reputable airlines have workable Covid-19 precautions in place and are enforcing them rigorously. Make sure you know what they are before you board and stick to them.
- Sanitize your seating area. Don’t rely on airline sanitation protocols. It only takes a few seconds for you to sanitize your own seating areas. Run an antiseptic wipe over your seat and common touchpoints, such as the belt buckle, your tray table, armrest and window panel area if you have a window seat.
- Food and drink on board. While the airlines are relaxing some of their own stringent safety procedures to make you as safe as possible, you may need to do your part as well. Unfortunately, this might mean putting your mask on in between bites or drinks depending on the airline’s policy at that time. Try to eat your meal after everyone else is done. This will diminish the risks of contamination since everyone else will have their masks on while you eat.
Keep an open mind and obey the flight attendant’s requests even tough you may disagree with the policy as many airlines have taken a zero tolerance approach for aggressive behaviour onboard.
- Give yourself time at the airport. Since airports and travelling are a much more controlled environment, expect that you may not be able to check in online for your flights. This means you should arrive with plenty of time to spare in order to make the check in cut off time at the airport.
- Seating onboard. Try reserving a window seat even if you may be an aisle person. At a window seat you are furthest from the busy come and go in the aisles hence lessening any chance of contamination. Also, on many aircrafts the air circulation comes in from the ceiling area above the window seating. As air circulates from top to bottom, particles from someone coughing or sneezing or speaking loudly, will be pushed toward the floor of the aircraft. If your aircraft has a controllable air vent, turn it on so that on the off chance of any contaminated particles floating around they will be pushed down as opposed to coming towards vulnerable areas of your face.
When You Arrive
- Stick to your travel itinerary. We fully understand how fun it is to be spontaneous during your holidays, but until the pandemic is over, it’s probably best to stick to visiting places you’ve vetted for their sanitary conditions in advance.
- Sanitize everything. We appreciate you didn’t come on holiday to clean, but spending a few minutes a day wiping down commonly used surfaces with antiseptic wipes can significantly reduce your chances of infection.
When You Return Home
- Understand your home country/state’s entry requirements. Depending on your place of residence and where you vacation to, you might be required to take a Covid test 72 hours or less prior to departure or as soon as your return. Know where you can get tested 72 hours prior to departure and how reliable the delays are for obtaining your results. Most tour operators, hotels and resorts can assist with this. You may also potentially need to quarantine for a certain period of time upon return. Knowing this in advance can help you prepare for what you need to get home and for when you get home. Check the government of Canada’s Website for a list of approved labs abroad and remember to ask for a copy of your results in one of Canada’s official languages.