Traveling During COVID-19 is Still Viable: How to Smoothly Adjust to the Restrictions

The unexpected outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has sent shockwaves across the global economy and has even almost brought it to a halt for a brief while during the initial lockdown period at the beginning of March. Factories and stores were closed, borders were closed, flights got canceled, and most of the world’s population were ordered to shelter at home.

The summer of 2020 has seen a brief resurgence in people traveling internationally for leisure after three months of almost complete lockdown. Although international travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19, you are still allowed to fly and explore the world, as long as you do it responsibly and with adherence to the new restrictions intended to stop the spread of the virus.

As the travel experts from claim, as long as you’re following the WHO guidelines and follow social distancing measures, you may actually benefit from traveling in the midst of the pandemic — after all, the usual tourist traffic will be much lower, allowing you to have a more intimate, genuine experience once you arrive to your destination. 

To make your future vacations easier, we have prepared this guide that will help you deal with the additional travel difficulties you can expect to encounter when traversing the world in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Flying: More Reasons to Steer Clear of Other Passengers

Before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, airports were lively places, bustling with the energy of hundreds of passengers gleefully roaming around the duty-free zone in search of their boarding gates, and enjoying tax-exempt shopping while trying to keep track of their kids. Nowadays, they’ve turned into eerie, lifeless hubs, where people who have to cross borders for business purposes steer clear from one another and nervously slip off their masks to take a quick sip of coffee. Every once in a while, a sad voice coming out of the airport speakers breaks the silence to remind everybody to keep their nose and mouth covered at all times and limit contact with other people.

If this wasn’t our reality for over half a year by now, you’d think the paragraph above was taken straight out of a Stephen King novel. Unfortunately, it’s not, and if you want to travel internationally for leisure, you need to obey all of the restrictions, no matter how annoying they may be.

Proper mask-wearing etiquette is crucial — feeling fine yourself, but the virus that causes COVID-19 may roam around your body, and if you leave your nose uncovered for the duration of an intercontinental flight, you’re bound to infect all of your co-passengers. When at the airport, you should wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content frequently.

Upon Arrival: Be Ready to Extend Your Stay

Various countries have established different procedures when it comes to handling visitors from abroad. In certain places, you’re only allowed to enter the country if you present a negative COVID-19 test result that was carried out no longer than 48 hours prior to your arrival. Some states will allow anyone in, provided that they will head into a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine at their hotel room. It might not sound like the ideal solution from the traveler’s perspective and can complicate matters for those working in the hospitality industry, but it is actually quite an effective way to curb the spread of the virus.

Regardless of what procedures await you when you arrive to your destination, once you’re allowed to freely roam the country, you still need to obey the COVID-19 restrictions. In most cases, that means the obligation to wear masks and maintain social distance, as well as certain common-sense practices, such as not touching other people and frequently used surfaces. Other than that, you can go about your vacation as if there was no pandemic to worry about!

Stay Up to Date with the News!

You should also keep a tight check on the COVID-19 news, both in your own country as well as the place you’re currently staying in. A sudden spike in cases may lead to tightened travel restrictions, which could mean getting stuck away from your home country for a prolonged period of time if you don’t act quickly enough. Check the news frequently to stay proactive and be able to re-book your flight when the need to do so arises.

The Bottom Line

Seven months into the pandemic, it has become quite clear that most of the restrictions are meant as a way to protect older adults and people who are at higher risk of getting COVID-19 due to preexisting health conditions. If you’re a healthy, high-functioning young adult, you are more than capable of handling the risk associated with international travel.

It doesn’t mean that you’re invincible, though. If you’re afraid of contracting COVID-19, keep in mind that the best way to avoid the virus is staying home and avoiding close contact with others. Otherwise, remember to pack plenty of masks and hand sanitizer, and get ready to experience international travel, post-COVID style!