As much as we all would have liked to think COVID-19 would be a thing of the past by now, it seems like it’s here to stay- at least for a little while longer. While I hope that these tips are short-lived, this is how Bruce and I have managed to continue traveling during all stages of the pandemic.
Bruce and I have managed 2 international trips, a cruise, a cross country road trip and multiple trips to Disney and Universal during the pandemic and have (somehow) avoided COVID every time. Honestly, there’s probably some luck here as well, but these tips (and 3 vaccines) have saved us on a time or two!
If COVID cases are on the rise again but you are still looking for an adventure, check out the outdoors. This is a great time to take up hiking and camping to taste some of that adventure, while still keeping safe. During the first wave of the pandemic (summer 2020), Bruce and I did a cross country road trip to national parks out west. While we had to be flexible (more about that later!), we were still able to have an amazing trip and escape any infection.
This goes without saying, but things have been changing rapidly. I’ve never used travel insurance until this year and now I can’t imagine traveling without it. Triple-check cancellation policies (did you know AirBnB charges a fee, even if the room has free cancellation). Try to stick with airlines that offer vouchers or free cancellation. If at all possible, try to leave space after your trip before you’re expected at work. That way, if flights get cancelled, or if you end up sick, you’ll be able to make plans and not be stressed about getting back to work.
Being flexible also means knowing when to call it. Bruce and I had an amazing honeymoon set up in Scotland for summer 2021, but after watching the news on restrictions on the UK, we knew it wouldn’t work out. So we pivoted and booked a last minute cruise in Greece. Not a shabby backup plan.
Buy Travel Insurance
This is a must in the current environment. Don’t add another level of stress and just buy the insurance. I’m partnered with Tradwick and their policies cover COVID as any other illness. That means they’ll cover an overseas quarantine if need be**
Plan WELL in advance
Because of COVID, many things that were once spontaneous, now require a reservation. While this is music to my planning heart’s ears, I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Especially if you are traveling abroad, it is a good idea to follow the politics of the country very closely. A couple examples of this: I mentioned the Greek cruise earlier, we actually chose a cruise for that trip because they took care of all COVID testing and any quarantine requirements, should you test positive. But, we did have to fill out a passenger locator form to get into Greece no less than 24 hours ahead of time. If you missed that form, you would be stuck. We also ran into a young man who was traveling on our flight home and he wasn’t aware he needed a test to get back to the US. He was bumped from his flight and had to pay the high price of an airport test.
Another example of changing requirements is our recent trip to Paris. We both knew we had to be vaccinated to enter the country, but I saw that we also needed an app used to verify your vaccine. I applied through the French government for the paperwork needed to verify the vaccine and not even 2 weeks later, they shut down that functionality and required everyone else to verify their vaccines at a pharmacy for up to 39 euro a piece! We saved a lot of headache and almost $100 by being on top of things!
PPE- Gotta Have It
If you aren’t used to wearing a mask in your everyday life, now is the time to get used to it. If you are going to be flying, or entering any public space, chances are you are going to have to wear a mask while doing it. I have seen multiple people woken up on flights and told to pull their masks up. Make sure it fits well and is bearable. I’d recommend getting a pack of disposable masks and an KN-95. During more risky places (public transportation, theme parks, etc.) you can use the KN-95 with the disposable mask over it. Then you only have to change the disposable mask. If you are at a less risky place, or you’re not as concern with quarantining, just wear the disposable mask. Bruce and I swear that the combo of the KN-95 and disposable mask saved us from having to quarantine in France, even after multiple exposures.
Know the Risks and Be Prepared
There is always a level in risk in life. Of course, COVID is taking that to the next level and it seems the threat is always in your face. Research your destination and keep a pulse on the rates of positivity and then decide if the vacation is worth the risk and stress. Bruce and I almost cancelled our Paris 2021 Christmas vacation just due to the pure stress of all the changing requirements and the possibility of having to quarantine in France. Thankfully none of those things happened, but it was a risk we chose to take (and honestly, I think the stress took a year off my life!). We had backup plan after backup plan for any hiccups and that is what it takes to travel at this point.
In my opinion, these are the easiest vacations to do during the pandemic:
- Road Trips
Camping in National Parks is not only a once in a lifetime adventure, but also very low risk. There’s no testing requirements and you’ll be able to distance very easily. Be aware though, a lot of people have figured that out at this point and some of the more popular campsites book up quick!
Now hear me out. While they are not low risk vacations, they do set everything up for you. When we did our Celebrity Cruise in summer 2021, we were tested at the port, tested at the end of the cruise (as part of our travel document requirements), and distanced with masks in all public areas. I felt completely safe, and knew that if we had tested positive, Celebrity Cruises would have taken care of everything. That includese our quarantine set up as well as our flights home. That’s the easiest insurance policy you can have at this point!
While there’s a lot to consider before traveling during a pandemic, it can be done! The pictures may all have masks in them and some of the spontaneity may be lost, but trust me, lifelong memories can still be made. When you’re ready to take that leap, let Magic Pass Travel take care of the heavy lifting for you!
**always read the fine print on an insurance policy to make sure if covers your needs before buying.