By Ericka Rodgers
Oh my goodness! I could never have dreamed that post-COVID-19 would be such a hassle for travellers. Before all of this, all you needed was a travel bag, identification or passport if going abroad. Now you need so much more before hopping on that plane or boat.
So what has changed? What do we now need to do before going on that vacay or taking that business trip?
Preparing For A Trip
Sometimes I just want to pack up and vacation at a faraway destination, and then I think about how much of a chore it has become to do that at the moment. First off, I probably need to find out who is allowing visitors to their country. I do not want to make plans, only to find out that my destination is on lockdown! This pandemic has produced worldwide lockdowns, and the rules change regularly.
NPR has a great guide to help you go abroad more easily. Yes, with all these new rules, it can be tedious at times to find the perfect destination that will allow visitors during this pandemic. A chore indeed. I am just glad that COVID isn’t halting all the trips I want to take and that some travel is still possible.
I am in the United States, and after some research, I see that several countries have lifted their lockdown status and are allowing visitors from the USA. The New York Times has an up to date list of places that currently allow travel.
However, there are still some added rules, meaning more tasks to accomplish before I can pack my bags. Most European countries and others like Armenia require proof of full vaccination or a negative PCR test 72 hours before entry. Meanwhile, Costa Rica requires no testing or vaccination evidence, only medical insurance in the event you need medical attention due to COVID.
Packing The New Crucial Items
Two years ago, my packing would have consisted of clothing, toiletries, and my phone charger. The world is different now, thanks to the pandemic. Now I still pack those same items along with a mask, vaccination card and hand sanitiser. Although I love to travel, these changes have made it more challenging. I can no longer be carefree, just throw some stuff in a bag and hit the trail or enjoy up, close and personal conversations with strangers on my trip.
I have to check off the essential items that I will need while travelling while also checking with my airport, train station, or cruise company for any additional requirements they have added. Regardless of how much work it takes to travel safely, it must be done in this new normal world.
Protection While Traveling
What do I think about in terms of protection when travelling? Well, generally, I think of sun lotion and sunglasses to protect my eyes. Maybe a heavy winter’s coat and gloves if the weather is going to be chilly.
Oh, and I definitely can’t forget that most countries now require that you be vaccinated before stepping onto their soil. But what if you are not vaccinated? Then, assuming you are allowed to travel, I would definitely practise social distancing and wear a mask!
It’s different now. I can no longer hold a conversation with someone on a plane without wearing a mask muffling the sound. I am conscious of trying to keep some distance between myself and those I meet. I worry about meeting the criteria of each destination that I visit and am aware that the rules can change at any time.
Even returning to America requires me to take precautions such as getting a test, wearing a mask and isolating if I have symptoms or am unvaccinated.
Get On The Road Again
So, if you have a nomadic heart and allowed the difficulty of preparing for travelling and sticking to the new rules and restrictions to slow you down, let’s reboot. It’s time to embrace our world opening up again to travellers like us. Let’s take that hike, enjoy our favourite coffee at an outdoor cafe, or watch a sunset on a tropical beach. It doesn’t have to be difficult; we just have to adjust and be up to the task.
Although going anywhere, especially abroad, has become more of a chore than fun, it is still worth it. Times have and are changing, but we must find a way to make travelling fun again.
I love to travel, and as each country reopens their borders, I am getting ready to pack my bags, prepare for safety, and make lemonade outta these lemons that COVID provided. I am prepared to reserve that ticket, grab my mask and enjoy my travels. Now, my only problem is deciding where to go! Any suggestions?