Tips for Travel in Covid Times


Travel is a great passion of mine and has been since I was a little girl. The world is a beautiful and interesting place to explore. Meeting people and learning about their cultures and their views expands my own perspective and allows me to step outside my all too comfortable way of perceiving the world.

For these reasons, I love world travel and have always had multiple trips in the research and planning phases. Then 2020 and the pandemic happened, and all that went into a severe halt. I had to cancel nine planned trips in 2020, one at a time over the 12 months. Very disappointing, and I know you have like had many the same disappointments as well.

Now that there are vaccines and things are opening up, I am back into exploring the world, but that world has changed. The world of travel is different and there are different rules and practices in each destination.

The way I used to experience an airport was pretty much on auto-pilot. I was familiar with the routines and walked through it all easily, almost without thinking. So many things have changed now, that I am no longer able to travel on auto-pilot.

I recently went to France for three weeks. It was so great to get away, but it really required lots more research than before. Each country has different rules/laws regarding Covid, so I went online to see what the rules were in France.

I found many resources that told me France is requiring everyone to carry a government Health Pass (Passe Sanitaire) that shows you’re vaccinated. There is no entry to museums, restaurants (not even to sit outside), trains, Metro, landmarks, etc. without the pass.

To make sure that I was prepared and ready for France, I applied online at the government website to get my pass. I received an automated email confirming receipt of my application and that it would be 4-6 days for me to receive an email with my electronic pass.

That meant I should receive it just as I arrive in Paris. I like to be prepared and ready, so was feeling very organized and savvy. Well, by the time I reached Paris, I still had not received my pass, so I could not go to a restaurant or climb the stairs at the Eiffel Tower or anything. I asked at the hotel, but they weren’t well informed.

Photo: Leslie Brunker; Eiffel Tower

One thing I had read was that I could get a Covid test at any pharmacy and that would give me a pass for 72 hours. I went off and did that, but 72 hours later I had a train to catch. Getting tested every three days was not a good option for me.

Photo: Leslie Brunker; Salad Nicoise

I met up with a friend who lives in France, and she told me that I could get the health pass at a pharmacy if I just showed my vaccination record and passport. The process was easy, and I received the pass electronically a few hours later.

That had worked out well, but what if I hadn’t had a friend there to help? I would have had to get tested every 3 days for my whole 3-week visit! My poor nose!

This story is just to say things have changed, and we need to be as informed as possible when we go to other countries (and come home). France didn’t require a Covid test to fly there, but the US required a test to come back. And by now, maybe all that has changed.

Let me share some tips that will help you get back into travel as the world opens little by little. Enjoy and be ready!

  • Don’t assume that your airport is going to look or feel the same as it did before.
  • Don’t take out your frustrations on the people who work at the airport, hotel, etc.
  • Remember that we are all in this together; it is not designed to frustrate only you.
  • Do extra research on travel/government websites at your destination country to see what their current rules are. They are likely not quite the same as the rules in your home country.
  • Continue to check those websites right until you depart. Also check your home country rules and practices for when you return. Do you need a proof of vaccination? Do you need a Covid test before flying?
  • If you only have a paper, hand-written vaccination card, you need to go online where you received the vaccinations and get an electronic card with QR code for travel.
  • Don’t assume the hotel staff will know how to help you with local Covid requirements. Have a Plan B (and C & D) at the ready.
  • Remember, you are choosing to travel for the pleasure of it, so enjoy that pleasure even when it comes to you disguised as something else.
  • Most of all, enjoy the scenery, the people, the culture of where ever you go, starting in your home airport or train station.

Have you traveled internationally in the recent months? What was your experience like? Do you have tips and recommendations for people who would like to return to travel?



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