5 Essential COVID-19 Travel Tips

As borders re-open, travelling in the midst of a pandemic is on many people’s minds. Here are 5 essential COVID-19 travel tips to prepare you for your first post-quarantine getaway.

1. Check your destination’s health requirements.

Turks and Caicos reopened to international visitors on July 22. A negative COVID-19 test, taken 5 days or less prior to arrival, is required for entry.

Before booking that first post-lockdown vacay, be sure to thoroughly research the health requirements in your destination. Here’s a few questions you should have clarity on:⁠

  • What does the health screening entail? Temperature check, previous COVID-19 test results or on-site COVID-19 test?
  • Is a mandatory 2-week quarantine required for all visitors?
  • What is the protocol for handling visitors who do test positive? Where will they be taken to quarantine?

Each country’s health department website is the best resource to consult for up to date answers. The U.S. State Department site is another good avenue for information.⁠

2. Find out the current COVID-19 Situation in your destination.

Puerto Rico has experienced a spike in cases after an increase in visitors from the U.S. mainland.

This is one of the most important COVID-19 travel tips: research how many active COVID-19 cases there are in any destination you’re considering. An open border doesn’t necessarily mean you should visit.

Find out what safety precautions the government has put in place. Are masks required in all public spaces? Are businesses enforcing social distancing between customers? ⁠What phase of re-opening are they in?

If the government response is disjointed, consider another destination that is taking stronger steps to combat the spread of COVID-19.

3. Confirm the Sanitation Measures in place at your lodging.

Some Americans are getting a change of scenery with short getaways to Mexico’s all-inclusive resorts.

Any lodging you select should have enhanced sanitation protocols in place and prominently displayed on their website. A few standard items to look for are thorough professional cleaning between stays, mandatory face masks, and enforcement of social distancing. Some hotels are eliminating maid service during stays as a means of reducing in-room traffic.

Stock up on your own protective gear. Be sure to bring a face mask, gloves, hand sanitizer and disinfectant spray or wipes. You’ll want to wipe down your room upon arrival and throughout your stay to avoid unintentionally spreading and catching the virus.

4. Make a Plan in advance.

Unlike pre-coronavirus travels, now is not the time to throw caution to the wind and wing it. Planning is essential to travelling during a pandemic. Many tourist attractions such as museums and restaurants are still closed, so you’ll need to be creative when choosing a destination.

Places with outdoor activities (think lakes and hiking) that are not likely to be crowded are ideal. If you do decide to travel to a popular spot, try visiting during the week and/or in the morning to avoid crowds.

Opt for self-contained transportation options like a car or RV rather than a plane or bus. The goal is to reduce contact between you and strangers, for your safety and theirs.

5. Then make a Back-Up Plan.

Over the course of a week, The Bahamas went from banning Americans to requiring all visitors quarantine for 14 days. Photo credit: Leonardo Rossatti from Pexels.

Expect the unexpected. If we’ve learned anything from this pandemic, it’s how quickly things can change. The coronavirus situation is constantly developing and along with it, laws and safety protocols. Stay informed about the latest updates and make sure you have a back-up plan.

Have a few options for sites to explore in case your first choice is unexpectedly closed. If the public health situation appears to be rapidly deteriorating or you feel unsafe, have an exit plan so you can head home early.

Travelling may require a fair share of additional prep these days, but it’s no less rewarding. Follow these 5 essential COVID-19 travel trips to stay safe as you explore the beauty in your own backyard.

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