Travel during Covid is very different from the pre-pandemic time. There is no question. Most of those who decide to travel again are often overwhelmed with where to start and what they need to do.
Travel was part of our life. We travelled for vacation, to relax, explore the world, and for business. And for many of us, we travelled internationally to see family or close friends. So where do you start when planning your first international travel? Not sure how to find out about requirements, travel insurance, and what’s really happening over there?
Here is a checklist of 6 things to do before your travel during Covid:
1. Check the requirements for entry & airline and transit point
Start with researching the destination. What are the requirements to enter? It might be vaccination, PCR test, and often an additional health form. Some countries (although very few) are only open to their own citizens.
Where to find the correct information?
The most up-to-date entry requirements are always listed on the government official website of the country you are planning to enter. Simply google “Entry requirements to (insert country name here)” and look for the official website.
You can also go directly to the website of your Ministry of Foreign Affairs website or Government Travel website that lists information of all countries. For example, if you are Australian it would be www.smartraveller.gov.au , and if you’re from the USA travel.state.gov. It will also give you advice in regards to a visa, should you need one.
It’s also worth looking at the official tourism website of your destination which can have more details if you are travelling as a tourist. Simply search for Tourism official website “country name”.
VERY IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to check your airline conditions to travel during covid as some require you to be vaccinated and have a PCR test or both – even if your destination may not require it.
And make sure you check your transit point as well. I flew with two different airlines connecting in Berlin and I would normally just check-in for the second flight online and transit at the airport. I flew to Berlin with Scoot Airlines from Australia and then connected to another airline to fly to Tunisia.
However, this time I had to clear immigration and check-in at the airline desk as they now need to check the requirements (vaccination) for my next flight. Travel during covid keeps us on our toes, that’s for sure.
Travel during Covid checklist – Flying is different these days
2. Will I need a PCR Test and vaccination?
Travel during Covid is a guessing game and information about this topic keeps changing. Checking the requirements of the official website should give you all the answers to your question.
But pay attention to the details:
PCR test – when should you take it to be valid for your flight/destination? Some countries accept PCR tests 24, 48, or 72 hours after you take them.
Sadly not all vaccinations are accepted by all countries. For example Sputnik, Covishield, Sinopharm, and Sinovac.Check if your vaccination is recognised by your destination and if you require a third shot these days or how long is it valid for.
Travel during Covid checklist – Check requirements before you go
3. Get Travel Insurance that covers Covid and related events
We have always been very pro-travel insurance and from experience, it has paid itself back over the years. We had stolen goods, cancelled flights, and even travels that had to change because of Covid. We always got our money back. Why? We chose the right travel insurance policy and knew what we were covered for (reading the fine print).
Before the pandemic, we always booked with World Nomads Travel Insurance. We purchased annual policies as we were travelling for a year or two internationally. These days we prefer SafetyWing Travel Insurance as they offer affordable insurance and they provide cover for Covid-19 as well as unexpected quarantine. This is a very rare thing with travel insurance companies these days. And if you do find one, they usually force you to pay heavy surcharges to be covered for Covid.
If you think getting the virus is bad enough, imagine doing it somewhere on the road. Falling ill with any virus when you’re away from home can be stressful too, but it happens. Knowing that you can definitely seek medical help when you need it, or maybe have some of the quarantine costs reimbursed can really ease your mind. We’ve got enough to think about as we travel during covid, so getting covered with SafetyWing is a no-brainer for us.
Travel during Covid checklist – Travel Insurance that covers Covid is a must
4. Research the conditions and restrictions of your destination before you go!
To travel during covid is an experience. Like before, when we travelled to learn about the diversity, culture and to often see a different point of view, this has not changed.
Countries have a different approach to how to deal with the pandemic. There are of course different conditions (case numbers, considering the economic impact of lockdown and general lack of trust in authority)
What does it mean?
You will find countries where mask mandates don’t exist and barely anyone uses them, others will only use the respirators N95 masks and in fact, it might be required on your flight.
Some countries require proof of your vaccination for you to enter any nonessential businesses (about this in detail later). There might be a curfew or there might be few restrictions at all. Or the country might be in a complete lockdown and I guess unless you are visiting family, it might not be the right time to travel.
All I want to say is, know before you go and as always with travel, respect the country you are visiting and comply with the requirements. It costs nothing to be kind.
Travel during Covid checklist – Some countries allow only vaccinated people to enter
5. Is your vaccination certificate valid or do you need to convert it?
This might come as a surprise, but if you hold an International Certificate of vaccination even when the vaccination is recognised by the country, you might not be able to enter museums, restaurants, and cafes. Travel during covid has changed so many things we’d never even consider thinking about before.
Let me explain. For example, if you have an Australian International Certificate it will of course be recognised by your airline to fly. However, once you land at your destination you might require a specific QR code or an App to enter non-essential places.
For example, an Australian International Certificate with a QR code is not valid in any EU state. Sounds crazy? Yes, it is. The issue is, Australia has never agreed with the EU to have their certificate recognised. This means you would arrive in the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, France, or Slovakia and you will not be able to enter any cafe, bar, or even shops that are not essential. You must have the EU Digital COVID Certificate.
Travel during Covid checklist – The EU Covid Digital Certificate is needed to enter non-essential businesses in some countries
Getting the EU recognised EU Digital COVID Certificate (Green Pass):
As many of us will most likely travel during Covid to Europe, here is how you can get your EU Digital COVID Certificate which is also known as the Green Pass.
The Green Pass confirms:
proof of vaccination (if you are fully vaccinated); or
proof of recovery (if you had a coronavirus infection in the last 6 months); or
a negative test result (issued by a centre for testing for travel).
You will need the Green Pass to travel during Covid in Europe.
From Germany – You can get your International Certificate changed to EU Digital COVID Certificate for 20 euro in any pharmacy, but best at the airport. (Berlin airport is a good option)
Travel during Covid – Write a checklist before you go
6. Before your flight – Write a checklist
Write a checklist to ensure you are set and ready to go. Sadly we have seen people denied at the airport every time we have flown in the past month as travel during covid has its challenges. Write a checklist to ensure you are set.
Something along with this:
Get PCR Test – Check where and what is the timeframe for your results
Check your passport is valid/visa
Complete a health form for the country you are visiting (This is now common and many countries have an additional form to complete)
Is your vaccination certificate valid for international travel? Or do you need a special one?
Do you require an App for QR check-in or to show vaccination? Get it before you go
Going to EU – Get your EU COVID Certificate before you go or plan how you get it
Check the requirements throughout the final week before you fly as things change quickly!
Plan to be at the airport earlier, than usual
And that’s it. 6 simple steps to make travel during Covid less stressful. We hope this helped you plan your next travels and if you have any comments and helpful hints let us know in the comments. Safe travels.
A coffee lover, history junkie, former tour guide, and endless optimist. The mastermind of logistics and chief navigator for Very Hungry Nomads, two women on an adventure to visit EVERY country in the world. Marty is a social butterfly who describes her life as “just livin’ the dream".