What Will Travel Be Like After COVID-19?
At the time of this blog, we have been sheltering-in-place for 6 months. I am getting a bit restless and dreaming of going on an adventure. It is encouraging to see some countries opening recently, welcoming international tourists once again.
During this time of flux I look forward to being inspired by historical monuments and soothed by nature on my next trip. If you are comfortable traveling in 2021 and want to take advantage of the lower prices and lesser crowds at many iconic tourist destinations, here is what you need to know:
Destination’s Travel Restrictions
A few countries have eased the travel restrictions for international tourists. However if COVID-19 spikes up before your trip, that country may decide to lock down or temporarily close its borders, just like Spain did this September. It is important to ensure your tour operator offers a good refund policy. In addition, do purchase travel insurance to cover tour cancelation and flight cancelations or delays.
Less Independent Traveling (for now)
Unfortunately international travelers have contributed to the spread of COVID-19 at their destination. For example, 100 cases in Iceland were traced back to two French tourists. No wonder many countries require tourists book a tour package with an operator. At TripCompanion, we review our itinerary, restaurants and venues for their standards of safety and hygiene. The safety of our guests and team members are on top of everyone’s mind.
Limited Availability of Admission Tickets
In September, the Taj Mahal in India reopened after 6 months. Visitors are capped at 5,000 a day compared to 70,000 previously. Many other monuments and attractions similarly allow less visitors now in order to improve safety. Ask your tour operator to confirm they can secure admission tickets for your attractions.
COVID-19 Test Certificate
Most countries require certification of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure or arrival. Test availability has been improving, for example Lab Corp offers mail-in PCR testing while other commercial laboratories offer on-site tests ($100-$250) for travelers. Tampa Airport was the first major airport to offer PCR tests ($125) and Antigen tests ($57). Other airports and airlines (like United Air, Americans and Hawaii Airlines) are also working to make tests available to travelers.
If you develop COVID-19 during your trip then quarantine and/or medical treatment will be required. Many countries require proof of travel insurance covering local medical treatment with coverage in the range of US$50,000 to US$100,000.
Flight Changes or Cancellations
Many flights this year were affected due to the pandemic. For example, Allen and Michelle were in London when the USA imposed banned on travel from Europe. Their travel agent was able to rebook their return flight a few days before the travel ban. Many other American tourists were unsuccessful in contacting their airline or online travel site to reschedule an earlier flight home.
Safety and Hygiene Protocols
Face masks, social distancing, hand sanitization are tools to reduce transmission and are expected in many public places. You should confirm that your tour operator has a suitable hygiene protocol and they vet your accommodations and restaurants too.
Expect Health Checks
Our team members and the staff of our hotels undergo health checks regularly. Similarly, expect your temperature to be taken and you will participate in other measures for everyone’s peace of mind.
Now I just need to decide whether to dive into wildlife parks of Sri Lanka or the ultra-modern city of Dubai in 2021. Following my blog to see where I will be!