5 essential tips for travelling during the COVID-19 pandemic
When deciding when and where to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are several factors to consider, including the ongoing travel restrictions imposed by governments around the world, and minimising the risk of contracting and spreading the coronavirus.
For those who can and want to travel, the good news is that you can still enjoy a much-needed break, visit family or friends, and even explore new destinations – as long as you’re prepared to make some changes to your usual way of travelling.
COVID-19 vaccinations are well underway in many countries across the globe and as they progress, we’ll see more locations opening their borders. However, travel restrictions, testing, and temperature checks are likely to continue into the near future, so if you decide to plan a trip this year, it’s incredibly important to follow the advice of the health authorities and stay informed of government guidelines.
Keeping yourself and others protected, acting mindfully and responsibly, and being ready for unexpected modifications to your plans are all key to travelling safely during a pandemic.
Find out more about what to consider with our practical tips and advice for travelling under COVID conditions.
1. Stay up to date on the latest travel restrictions
First things first: When choosing the destination for your next trip, make sure you’re up to date on the guidelines for that particular country or region. Many borders remain closed and government restrictions can limit your travel options.
What’s more, if you are able to venture abroad, you’ll need to get up to speed on the rules and regulations to follow before and after arrival. Some places require mandatory quarantines, and many are now asking for negative COVID-19 test results in a Fit to Fly certificate format, or vaccination certificates, and you’ll almost certainly have to fill in a few forms.
Bear in mind that these rules and regulations surrounding COVID-19 and travel are constantly evolving and can change without much prior notice depending on infection rates. So, make sure to not only do your research when deciding on your destination, but also keep an eye on the current travel restrictions right up until your departure in case anything changes.
2. Expect the unexpected
Taking into account that guidelines and entry requirements are constantly evolving and, unfortunately, can change at the drop of a hat, you should be prepared to be flexible.
This means you might need to make a last-minute decision about whether or not to continue your trip, swap to a different destination, or make some adjustments to your itinerary. You could even find the authorities make one or more of these decisions for you.
It’s always good to have a backup plan or two, in case you find yourself in one of these situations. But rest assured, if you’re prepared, you’ll still have plenty of possibilities to enjoy your trip.
3. Choose flexible travel options
When booking flights with Norwegian, you can have peace of mind that if your plans change, you can easily change your tickets. For a limited time, you’ll get one free rebooking on LowFare and LowFare+ tickets, only paying for the fare difference (if any). And for maximum flexibility, choose a Flex Ticket to change your booking free of charge up to 30 minutes before departure.
When booking your accommodation in advance, be sure to opt for a place which has a flexible cancellation policy. By booking your hotel via Norwegian with Hotels.com, not only do you earn 5% CashPoints, but you also get free cancellation or the option to change your booking with most hotels.
If you’re planning on travelling in the summer, be sure to book now to get the best deals, as once borders start opening up again and coronavirus cases subside, travel on the whole could be more expensive.
As a back-up, make sure you consider booking travel insurance, and look out for policies which include COVID-related incidents and cancellations, as many do not.
4. Think about adapting your holiday habits
Are you a sucker for a good spa break? Or perhaps you love the hustle-and-bustle of exploring a new city. Well, there’s no reason that has to change, but it would be wise to consider activities which involve spending plenty of time in the great outdoors.
Keeping yourself and your bubble safe is the most important part of travelling during a pandemic, so that may mean heading away from your usual holiday haunts and looking towards the type of trip which involves plenty of fresh air and staying away from the crowds.
Think about swapping city-centre shopping for hiking a local nature trail, haute-cuisine at a busy restaurant for a picnic in the park, visiting the main sights for discovering hidden gems. You get the idea.
That’s not to say all indoor attractions are off limits. It could be easy to stay safe somewhere where high-touch surfaces are regularly cleaned, there are strict limits on the number of people allowed to enter, and COVID-19 social distancing markers are clearly placed. Remember to research which attractions are going to be open and have some plan B options in case there are last-minute closures due to spikes in infection rates.
When booking activities, make sure that your chosen provider has a flexible cancellation policy. GetYourGuide offers full refunds to customers who need to cancel more than 24 hours in advance, as well as to those who have booked an attraction which has since closed as a preventative measure.
5. Keep hygiene and safety your top priority
It goes without saying that cleanliness and safety is paramount when it comes to travelling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Be sure to pack an essentials kit with plenty of spare face masks and hand sanitizer, and be prepared to follow guidelines on social distancing and mask-wearing, both on your journey and when you reach your destination.
When booking your flights with Norwegian, you can be sure to travel with peace of mind. Norwegian has introduced a number of measures to keep you safe while travelling including:
- Enhanced cleaning procedures
- Mandatory face masks for passengers and crew on board
- Touch-free travel with a range of online services
All the aircraft in Norwegian’s fleet are fitted with the latest air filtration technology (HEPA filters) which is effective in capturing 99% of airborne microbes, including viruses and bacteria.
Ready to plan?
If you’ve decided you’re ready to start planning your next holiday, then make sure to keep this advice in mind when travelling during COVID-19. As long as you stay informed, mindful, and open to adjustments, you’ll be able to have a safe and enjoyable trip.