Tips for Travel in the Time of COVID
The best vacations are the ones so well planned that all that’s required of you is to be in the moment. When it comes to overseas trips, there can be a bit more preparation than domestic getaways. The process of putting together the pieces can seem daunting to many. However, we at Nomadic Expeditions have it in our nature to eagerly create epic journeys and attend to the finest detail. So as your travel experts, we have compiled the seven simple steps it takes to plan a thoroughly thought out and utterly enjoyable international adventure.
Check Your Destination’s Travel Requirements
Once you’ve decided where you want to travel to, it’s time to move beyond browsing images of the location and get to know the lay of the land. WendyPerrin.com is an excellent source for information on the countries that are open to U.S. travelers and their requirements for tourism. You will want to verify any COVID-19 health and safety measures and adhere to them. Be sure to fill out any necessary applications ahead of time. A travel expert for the country you wish to visit can help explain any of these steps—and perhaps expedite the process. Also verify any visa requirements and check your passport expiration date.
Seek Expert Guides
Getting the ins and outs from experts with native knowledge of a place is always a great idea. They can help you unlock exclusive experiences and lead you to “locals only” places for unforgettable moments. Guides can bridge language barriers and help by clarifying any customs you should adhere to in country, educate you on geography and history, and even give you tips on what to pack for your trip. Their expertise can be absolutely invaluable, making the difference between a great trip and one you absolutely cannot stop raving about.
Utilize Flexible Airfare Booking & Request Upgrades
Airlines may be operating at less than their normal flight volume, but they have also relaxed their booking rules. Prices are low now, and great seats can be found even last minute. Once you book, always ask to be on the waitlist for upgrades. People often change flights, making better seats available for minimal cost, points exchange, and sometime gratis. As for accommodations, the point of booking is the best time to make known any specific needs or preferences. Many people wait to discuss these details later, until they’re checking in—at which point availability may not allow for your requests to be easily fulfilled.
Many countries require travelers to be fully vaccinated, in addition to a negative PCR test. And to return to the United States, all air passengers—including fully vaccinated people—are required to have a negative test result no more than 3 days before travel.
Notify Your Bank & Phone Provider
The last thing you want while on vacation is to have your bank cut off your cards because they’re automated system thinks they’re stolen. Give them notice of where you’ll be so they can keep your cards active. Exchange rates are always going to be better in your home country than when you’re abroad. Go to your bank to get foreign denominations of cash. For safe measure, consider getting a credit card to travel under that insures purchases. Pro tip: if you’re gone for a really long trip, book a house sitter and automate your bills. And contact your phone provider to get an international plan covering the countries you will visit for the duration of your trip as roaming charges can be exorbitant.
Pack Well in Advance
The last thing you want is to forget something you can’t get overseas. Give yourself more than enough time to pack, and include as many creature comforts as you might want in your carry on. Long haul flights are particularly draining when you aren’t prepared. Some thoughts: neck pillow, airplane socks, melatonin, and movies downloaded to a device. Also, consider enrolling in Global Entry to expedite your time getting through the airport on your return home, and purchasing travel insurance to further set your mind at ease.
Outline Your Itinerary
Depending on your preferred amount of activity, you’ll want to sketch what each day might entail along your journey—even if it’s just having a spa day. Think of it like plotting a story. You’ll likely want to balance each day’s adventure with some activities and some downtime. Don’t feel the need to overbook yourself each day. Leaving room for spontaneity allows you to include doing something you discover once you’re there.
All that’s left now is to embark on your journey. Life is short and the world is wide, so plan now for your next adventure.