How to Manage Coronavirus and Traveling

A solo traveler standing on a log in Alberta, Canada

You will learn how to manage the
Coronavirus and traveling. We are providing everything you need to know before
booking your next trip.

Over the last six months, Coronavirus
has devastated the world. Millions have gotten sick, hundreds of thousands have
lost their lives, and entire economies have been shut down. In just a matter of
weeks, entire countries completely locked themselves down and closed their
borders to visitors.

For the first time since probably
World War II, travel — an industry that relies on human movement and employs
10% of the global workforce — completely stopped.

Now, as COVID-19 recedes in some
places, many countries are slowly starting to reopen to tourists.

While I personally think it’s still
best to wait a little longer before taking an international trip, that doesn’t
mean we can’t start looking at the current situation to get a sense of how we
can best plan our future trips.

There are a lot of variables and
everything is still changing.

And that creates a lot of questions.

How do you know which countries are
open? How do we find out new visitation rules? Will travel insurance apply during
the pandemic? What is flying going to be like? Are hotels and hostels safe?
What attractions are open?

To help you figure out what to do and


where to find information, I created this post to get the ball rolling. (Note:
This post will be updated as more information becomes available.)

Managing Coronavirus and Traveling

Traveling – What Destinations are Open?

The list of countries that are
opening in the coming weeks and months grows every day. Some are opening for
all international visitors, while others are opening only for neighboring
countries. Some countries, like the US and Indonesia and Australia, have bans
on visitors from certain countries. Tahiti is making people show a negative
test result within 72 hours of their flight. Same for Austria (or you can do a
test on arrival). On the other hand, Cambodia wants a $3,000 deposit to cover
any potential COVID expenses.

In short, there’s a lot of varying
rules to sort through.

That means you’ll need to do specific
research based on where you want to go if you want to travel this summer or
fall. Luckily, there are a few websites that will make that research straightforward.

First, here is a helpful (but not user-friendly) map from the
International Air Transport Association
 showing you which
countries are allowing flights.

Second, The Points Guy and Travel Off Path have breakdowns on the
current travel rules for virtually every country in the world.

Additionally, if you’re heading to
Europe, this
official map from the European Union will let you know which countries are open
.

Third, check the official
government’s Foreign Office or tourism board as they will have the most
up-to-date information.

If you’re not sure how to find those
websites, simply Google “(country name) foreign office” or “(country name)
official tourism board.” Additionally, “(country name) COVID travel update”
will get you a good list of official websites too. They’ll have the best
information on potential quarantine rules, test requirements, and other
restrictions.

 

Where Can I Find the Most Current Case Count Information?

If you want to see the current status
of a destination’s number of active cases, this interactive map from Johns
Hopkins University is kept up-to-date. However, I prefer Worldometers because
it’s a bit more user friendly and you can parse down the data a bit more.

What are Airlines Doing?

Flying for the foreseeable future is
going to be a lot different. Currently, most airlines are requiring passengers
to wear masks, though enforcement is inconsistent. The boarding process has
also changed to reduce interactions and support physical distancing.

Some airlines (such as Southwest) are
not booking any middle seats to maintain a safer distance between passengers.
Not every airline is doing that, though, and while most flights are still
under-booked, I’ve seen images of some rather full flights.

Here’s a post with more information from The Points Guy
if you want to read more
.

As for cleaning, many airlines are
majorly disinfecting planes in between every flight. For current policies,
here’s a list of the major airlines and their current procedures:

If you are flying or otherwise
traveling alongside other people, here’s some important hygiene advice:

  • Wash your hands frequently
    (or consider wearing latex gloves).
  • Wear a mask.
  • Refrain from touching your
    face.
  • Wipe down your seat or
    seating area with disinfectant wipes (because people are gross and so are
    planes).

On the plus side, many airlines have
changed their cancelation policies, which means you can often change your
flights without penalty now as well (check your specific airline to see if
that’s an option before you book). I doubt that will last a long time but, as
airlines try to get people in seats, they will make changing your flight easier
as a way to do so!

What are Hotels, Hostels, and Airbnb Doing?

Accommodations in many cities have
been closed or forced to operate at reduced capacity. Most of the major chains
that are open (or reopening) have committed to enhanced cleaning routines. Some
of the key changes hotels are embracing are:

  • Temperature/health checks of
    guests on arrival.
  • Enhanced disinfection and
    cleaning of the check-in counter and common areas (pools, fitness centers,
    etc.).
  • Adjustments to common areas
    to maintain social distancing.
  • Extra disinfection for the
    most-used items in hotel rooms (door handles, remotes, light switches, etc.).

Most hotels have also changed their
cancelation policy to make bookings more flexible since the situation is so
fluid. Here are statements and policies from the major hotel chains so you can
review their changes and commitments for yourself:

And if you’re looking to learn more
about Airbnb and how it is responding to the current situation, here is their Coronavirus policy and update page.

As for hostels, there’s so many that
it’s hard to say what all the hostels in the world are doing. There’s no hostel
association where members have to adhere to certain guidelines like in other
industries. But here are a few policies from some of the larger hostel chains
to give you a sense of the industry right now:

Be sure to reach out to the hostels
directly as they will be best positioned to answer your questions.

What About Tour Companies?

Many tour companies are not even
selling tours right now so you’ll need to check ahead to see what companies are
still offering tours during your travel dates. Here are some travel updates and
policy changes from my favorite tour companies:

Be sure to double-check the company’s
cancelation and refund policies in case they start selling tours again but have
to quickly shut down in case of another update. You don’t want to be stuck
without money.

For everyday activities in a city,
simply check the local tourism office. They will have up-to-date information on
what attractions are doing as well as information on changes to public
transportation.

Will Travel Insurance Cover Me?

Most travel insurance does not apply
during a pandemic. This is especially true if your government has issued
warnings not to visit specific regions or countries. In fact, some travel
insurance companies are not even selling insurance right now in light of the
situation. Eventually, as travel restarts, that will change. If you want to
make sure you’re covered, here’s what I suggest:

  • Purchase “cancel for any
    reason” insurance policies or plans that include comprehensive trip
    interruption and cancelation coverage.
  • Make every purchase on a
    travel credit card that also has insurance as a backup.
  • Visit only destinations that
    do not have any government warnings.
  • Contact the insurance
    company before you book and speak to someone directly about their COVID
    exclusions.

 

What If I Can’t Quarantine for Two Weeks?

Many destinations are requiring
visitors to quarantine on arrival. Contact the foreign office for more
information to ensure you aren’t going to spend your entire vacation in
lockdown (travelers are already finding out about quarantine rules
too late
).

The situation is changing and, if you
end up on a flight with someone who tests positive, the country could force you
to quarantine. It’s a real risk. I would say that if you are unable to
quarantine for two weeks during or after your trip, don’t go international.
Stay local.

***

It’s nice the world is starting to
open up again but, personally, I think it’s best to focus on travel within your
own borders right now until the international situation becomes a bit better
organized, guidelines are clearer, and we see the clearer effects of reopening
on destinations. I’m traveling domestically but internationally? I’m very much
in the “wait and see” camp.

But, with guidelines coming out relating
to COVID and travel, you can at least start to understand rules and what to
expect for when you do start to travel!

Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using the Flight
search
. My favorite search engine because they search for websites and
airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is being left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as
they have the largest inventory. If you want to stay somewhere other than a
hostel, use HotelCombined.com, as they consistently return
the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.

Don’t Forget Travel
Insurance

Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and
cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I
never go on a trip without it, as I’ve had to use it many times in the past.
I’ve been using World Nomads for ten years. My favorite
companies that offer the best service and value are:

  • World Nomads (for everyone below 70)
  • Insure My Trip (for those 70
    and over)

Looking for the best
companies to save money with?

Check out my resource page for the best companies to
use when you travel! I list all those I use — and they’ll save you time and
money too!

The post Coronavirus and Travel: What You Need to Know (Plus
Resources)
 appeared first on Nomadic Matt’s
Travel Site
.

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