We’re going to be honest with you — vaccinated or not, we don’t think it’s time to travel yet. There are so many reasons for this, and we’re not going to get into that. People have to make their own choices, but you can’t escape the fact that many countries are still struggling with outbreaks. We can’t expect them to roll out the welcome mat for tourists! In the meantime, though, we can explore our post-Covid travel planning tips. We like to dream, too!
Truth be told, I’ve got a whole post-Covid travel bucket list. We canceled a lot of trips in 2020, and I’d like to see those places. At the top of my list? Visiting South Korea (and seeing BTS!) and moving to Japan. It’s been tough to be in the middle of relocation planning and then sit in this holding pattern. Before you start packing, read through this post.
Are Covid Travel Restrictions Still in Place?
The first thing you need to do is check whether COVID travel restrictions are still in place. These can change very quickly, so it’s best to verify the information frequently. You don’t want to book a trip and then get to the airport weeks later, only to discover you can’t go.
Here are some places to check for the most updated information:
- Local airport website (and TSA)
- Airline website
- Your state or country travel sites (USA and Canada, for example)
- Official health and travel websites for the area you plan to visit
- CDC website, or your country’s equivalent
- The World Health Organization (WHO) website
With that information, you can feel more confident about post-COVID travel planning. We used to be quite spontaneous and believe in the power of wishful thinking. That’s just not going to work in the world we live in right now.
Getting a Covid Test Before Travel
You may be required to provide proof of a negative COVID test before you’re allowed to board a plane, train, or cruise ship. This helps prevent the spread of this virus and helps make a return to travel possible.
Be sure to check with your airline, travel agency, or tour operator before skipping this step. Ask for specific information and follow their instructions closely. Otherwise, you may not be allowed to travel.
What If I Catch Covid During Travel?
As we’re seeing, even fully vaccinated people are sometimes catching the mutated versions of the COVID-19 virus. Sometimes, these cases are asymptomatic. If you’re not vaccinated, there’s a good chance that you could experience symptoms. Regardless of how you feel, though, if a test shows that you have COVID, you may find yourself alone and/or stranded.
You need to have a backup plan for these types of situations if you’re willing to risk traveling right now.
- Who will watch your kids/home/pet if you can’t get home for an extra week or two?
- Will you be allowed to work remotely from wherever you’ve been quarantined?
- Can you afford the added expense of having to rebook your travel arrangements (especially if you have a family)?
There’s a lot to consider. If you’re determined to travel, make a solid plan.
What Does Covid Travel Insurance Cover?
If you’ve read this site before, you’ll know that Josh and I met while working at a major travel insurance company. Here is our most important tip: READ YOUR COVERAGE POLICY. I don’t care if you’ve bought a policy from the same insurer 17 times. Read your newest one carefully. Things change ALL the time and what you think is covered may not be.
Here are some benefits to look for:
- Trip cancellation
- Travel delay
- Missed connections
- Baggage and personal items
- Medical coverage
- Rental car coverage
Understand that COVID has led to unexpected quarantines and sudden travel bans. These things probably won’t be covered by travel insurance. You can look for “Cancel for Any Reason” policies, but even they may have some limitations (in addition to being more expensive).
Can I Travel Internationally During the Pandemic?
You may be able to travel internationally, but you need to ask yourself if it’s a good idea. The farther away from home you are, the most difficult it will be if something happens. Again, you also need to check with your destination to learn more about the current conditions.
- Are the COVID numbers high?
- Are they struggling with variants?
- Do they have rules about quarantining upon arrival?
- If you get sick, do they have the capacity to help you?
- Are language barriers an issue in case of emergency?
- Do I have enough masks and sanitizer for my entire trip?
- Are my travel and accommodation bookings flexible?
We want so desperately to be in Japan right now, but it’s just not possible. Besides, whatever idyllic vacation you’re imagining probably won’t happen even if you make it there. Things just aren’t the same right now, no matter how much we wish they were!
When Will it Be Safe to Travel Again?
Every country is fighting its own battle against COVID-19. National vaccine rollouts vary widely, and vaccine rates can even differ dramatically within countries. The variants are making things even more complicated as they are causing breakthrough infections among the fully vaccinated.
But what if you’re not scared of catching or spreading COVID?
Your definition of what’s “safe” will matter. Even if you think travel bans and quarantines are useless and stupid, they may still happen. Even if you hate mask mandates and hygiene guidelines, certain places will enforce them. You could be quarantined, displaced, or stranded at any time if you choose to travel right now. You’ll have to decide if you feel safe under those conditions.
Fear of Going Out After COVID
Are you worried that you will never feel safe leaving the house again? A lot of people are dealing with anxiety right now. This pandemic happened so quickly and it felt like the information changed every day. That kind of ongoing uncertainty has left many feeling nervous about returning to “normal.” This is especially true when thinking of post-COVID travel planning.
If you’re feeling like this, here are some steps you can take:
- Start small and pick low-risk activities.
- Learn breathing techniques for managing anxiety.
- Build confidence gradually.
- Hang out with vaccinated friends and family members, but do it in a way that makes you feel safe. Stay outside and/or wear a mask if it makes you feel better.
- Respect your feelings.
- Seek support for alcohol or substance abuse.
The next few months (or even years) will be a time of healing, learning, and change. Be kind to yourself. That’s the only thing you can control.
Travel Destinations After COVID-19
Ready for post-Covid travel planning ideas? Put a lot of thought into what you truly want and believe. Cases have dropped in highly vaccinated areas, but variants (and those who choose not to be vaccinated) threaten those efforts. We still don’t know much about this virus, so if you’re feeling a little post-COVID travel anxiety, you’re not alone.
Everyone’s comfort level is different, so you’ll have to figure out what works for you. That being said, this pandemic isn’t over, and probably won’t be for some time. If you’re looking for travel destinations after COVID-19 (if there ever truly is an “after”), it might be good to keep these things in mind:
- Look for countries with high vaccination rates
- Avoid countries with poor sanitation and healthcare conditions
- Consider less populated destinations (venture off the beaten path!)
- Get outdoors more with hiking and camping trips
- See national parks
- Rent an RV and go where the wind takes you!
- Relocate to a country that welcomes digital nomads and work from home abroad
I suspect this last section will be updated as more things open up. I’ve checked out a few articles about post-COVID travel planning recently, and they seem to be updated every day. We just don’t know what’s going to happen. For now, aside from what is mentioned above, there’s no destination we feel comfortable recommending until things improve.
Until then, keep dreaming. Make a vision board and keep hope alive. We all need it!