• Emma Buryd

Traveling In A Pandemic: 5 Things You Need To Know

I thought that this day would never come, get on a plane with my passport, my suitcases and get to know a new country. 2020 made that feel so far away, so unlikely.

For the first time in 18 months, I was able to travel again, and although I was a bit worried at first, it felt like the first time.

Several friends warned me about certain things, but it's different when you are the one who has to experience them. There's a weird feeling in the air (and I hope that's the only thing), masks, PCR, hand sanitizer every 3 feet.

I don't know if we're going to get back to normal or this is the new normal, but for now, we need to get used to this.

These are 5 things you should know if you plan to travel in 2021.

1. You must do the homework first

It's no longer as simple as going to a web page, choosing a destination, a date, and paying with your credit card.

Now you need to do a little preliminary research. Each country has its own travel restrictions. First, know which ones are in yours. Some countries don't allow direct flights from certain countries, in some others, only citizens can enter, and these regulations vary from time to time.

Find out the regulations of your destination, and of all the cities that you will go through, you don't want to be surprised. A friend had to spend 14 days in a hotel when he returned to Chile from the USA. He had no idea that travelers were required to quarantine for two weeks.

2. Have your own supplies

Socks, underwear, a bathing suit, are no longer the only items that cannot be missing in your luggage. Add disposable masks, antibacterial gel, and sanitizing wipes to the list. Don't be too confident that the airlines, hotels, and places you visit will have that covered.

It's a good idea to have your own first aid kit.

3. Have insurance for everything

Currently, all (or almost all) airlines offer insurance for your trip. I know many people who believe that these are scams to steal your money, but today it is a must-have.

In case of flight rescheduling, and trust me, they'll happen, they guarantee you not to lose reservations and money.

Talk about the same with the hotels you stay in and basically any destination. Restaurants, parks, museums, etc. Ask for reservation insurance.

4. Your phone will be your best travel buddy

Some airports were lagging a bit behind with technology, but the pandemic forced them to modernize.

In many countries, digital technologies and resources are already typical, but in some others, this was not yet implemented. Airlines, hotels, and travel agencies have chosen to use apps, NFC technology, and Bluetooth to avoid physical contact.

With your phone, you can check-in, register your luggage, and thus reduce the risk of contagion. So make sure you charge the battery before you go out.

5. Have your nose ready to be PCR'd

As I write this, no country is demanding to be vaccinated to enter, but it's widely rumored that it will not take long for that.

Meanwhile, PCR tests will come and go. Depending on your destination, a negative test will be required in less than 48 or 72 hours. In some countries such as Venezuela, it is required to take a test upon arrival, regardless of whether you have a previous one before boarding. That doesn't make much sense if you ask me, but you need to know.

If you're going on a long trip with multiple stops, you will most likely have to take the test multiple times, so be prepared for that.

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