Since March 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc across the globe. Millions have fallen ill, hundreds of thousands have tragically lost their lives, and economies have come to a standstill. In a matter of weeks, entire nations have been forced to shut down and close their borders to travelers.
For the first time since World War II, the travel industry – which depends on human mobility and employs 10% of the global workforce – has come to a grinding halt.
Over the past few months, we’ve witnessed a rollercoaster of travel restrictions, with some countries reopening their borders only to reinstate lockdown measures, while others have successfully managed the situation and welcomed back a limited number of tourists. Stay tuned to our travel blog as we continue to navigate these ever-changing waters.
Navigating the ever-evolving world of coronavirus and travel can be quite challenging. With numerous variables and constantly changing regulations, it’s no wonder that travelers are left with a plethora of questions.
Wondering which countries are currently open for travel? Curious about the latest visiting guidelines? Concerned if travel insurance will cover you during the pandemic? Pondering what flying will be like and if accommodations such as hotels and hostels are safe? Looking for information on open attractions? Debating whether it’s wise to travel right now? We’ve got the answers you seek in our comprehensive guide to coronavirus and travel.
In order to assist you in navigating the current travel landscape amid the coronavirus pandemic, I’ve compiled this helpful guide to provide essential information and get you started on the right path.
Which destinations are currently open for travel?
The ever-evolving landscape of travel during the coronavirus pandemic means that the list of open countries is constantly changing. Each week brings new updates, with some destinations welcoming all international visitors, while others only open their borders to neighboring countries. Countries such as the United States, Iceland, and Bulgaria have implemented bans on visitors from certain nations. Meanwhile, destinations like the Bahamas mandate that travelers present a negative test result within five days of their flight. Bermuda takes it a step further, requiring tests both before and during a visitor’s stay.
On the other hand, Cambodia requires a $2,000 deposit to cover potential COVID-related expenses, while Albania, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, and Mexico have virtually no restrictions and are fully open to travelers.
In summary, a myriad of varying regulations must be considered.
To ensure a seamless travel experience this summer or fall, it’s crucial to conduct thorough research on your desired destination. Luckily, there are various websites available that can simplify your search and help you navigate the ever-changing landscape of coronavirus-related travel restrictions.
First, let’s begin with a useful resource – a map provided by the International Air Transport Association that illustrates which countries are currently permitting flights. While it may not be the most user-friendly tool, it certainly offers valuable information for travelers during these uncertain times.
Secondly, renowned resources like The Points Guy and Travel Off Path provide comprehensive breakdowns of the latest travel regulations for nearly every country worldwide. If you’re planning a trip and want to know which destinations are open for visitors, these sites are the perfect starting point.
As a US traveler, you’ll find Skyscanner’s comprehensive guide to state restrictions, country-specific regulations, and flight cancellation policies particularly useful in navigating the ever-changing landscape of COVID-19-related travel concerns.
Stay informed on the latest travel restrictions by downloading the Air travel planning app. This user-friendly tool offers continuous updates and allows you to filter airlines based on their policies. Plus, it provides valuable information on airport procedures and health checks, ensuring you’re always in the know while planning your next trip.
If you’re planning a trip to Europe, be sure to check out this official European Union map to discover which countries are currently open for travel.
Thirdly, it’s essential to consult the Foreign Office or the official government tourism agency, as they possess the most current and accurate information related to your travel destination.
If you’re uncertain about locating these websites, simply search for “(country name) foreign office” or “(country name) official tourism agency” on Google. This will provide you with the most up-to-date information about your travel destination.
Furthermore, searching for “(country name) COVID travel update” will yield a comprehensive list of official websites. These sites offer the most reliable information on potential quarantine regulations, testing necessities, and other travel limitations. Stay informed and travel safely.
Where to Find the Most Recent Case Count Information?
Are you curious about the current state of active COVID-19 cases in your travel destination? Check out Johns Hopkins University’s interactive map, which is regularly updated to provide accurate and up-to-date information on case counts worldwide. Stay informed and travel safe!
Nonetheless, I find Worldometers more user-friendly, as it allows for a smoother experience and provides a deeper analysis of the data.
What are airlines doing in response to the Coronavirus?
Air travel is undergoing significant changes in the near future. As it stands, the majority of airlines now mandate passengers to don masks, though enforcement remains inconsistent. Additionally, the boarding process has been revamped to minimize contact and maintain proper social distancing.
Only a handful of airlines, such as Delta, are refraining from booking middle seats to ensure safer distancing between passengers. However, the majority of airlines continue to operate normally, resulting in full flights on many popular routes due to the limited availability of flights.
Considering air travel in the near future? Check out this useful article discussing the potential risks of contracting COVID-19 while onboard a flight.
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, numerous airlines have prioritized thorough cleaning and disinfection of their aircraft between flights. To keep yourself informed, we’ve compiled a list of major airlines and their current sanitization procedures:
When embarking on a journey with fellow travelers, be it by air or other means, it’s crucial to keep some key hygiene practices in mind. These essential tips will help ensure a safe and germ-free trip for everyone involved.
- Make sure to frequently wash your hands or opt for wearing latex gloves.
- Don a protective mask for added safety.
- Avoid touching your face at all costs.
- Thoroughly wipe down your seat and surrounding area with disinfectant cloths – after all, airplanes can be breeding grounds for germs.
On a positive note, numerous airlines have updated their cancellation policies, allowing passengers to modify their flights without incurring any penalties (be sure to verify if this option is available with your specific carrier before booking). Although it’s uncertain how long this flexibility will last, it’s likely that airlines will continue to make it easier for travelers to change their flights as they strive to fill more seats and encourage bookings.
How are Hotels, Hostels, and Airbnb Responding to Coronavirus?
In numerous cities, many homes have been shut down or compelled to operate at limited capacity. Most major hotel chains that have opened (or reopened) are pledging to enhance their cleaning protocols. Here are some key adjustments guests can expect to encounter:
- Monitor the temperature and health of guests upon arrival.
- Enhance the cleaning and disinfection of the registration desk and shared spaces, such as swimming pools and fitness centers.
- Reconfigure communal areas to ensure social distancing is maintained.
- Increase disinfection efforts for frequently-touched items in hotel rooms, including doorknobs, remote controls, and light switches.
In response to the ever-evolving coronavirus situation, most hotels have adapted their cancellation policies to offer greater flexibility for guests. To help you stay informed, we’ve compiled a list of statements and policy updates from major hotel chains, allowing you to review their changes and commitments at your convenience:
InterContinental Hotel Group
If you’re interested in learning more about Airbnb’s response to the current situation, you can find all the necessary information on their dedicated Coronavirus policy and update page. Stay informed and travel safely!
When it comes to hostels, it’s challenging to determine the actions being taken by every establishment across the globe. Unlike other sectors, there is no overarching hostel association that mandates members to adhere to specific guidelines. However, to provide a sense of the current state of the industry, we’ve gathered policies from some of the largest hostel chains:
San Cristoforo Hostels
For the most accurate and up-to-date information, be sure to reach out to the hostels directly, as they are the best sources to address your queries.
What Does This Mean for Tour Operators?
The current pandemic has led many tour operators to halt flight sales. To find out which companies continue to offer tours during your desired travel dates, it’s essential to plan ahead. Below, we’ve compiled recent updates and policy changes from some of our top recommended tour providers:
Fat Tire Tours
Before booking your flight, be sure to review the airline’s cancellation and refund policies thoroughly, as the situation remains fluid. If they resume flight operations but are forced to halt them again due to new developments, you’ll want to ensure that you won’t be left out of pocket.
When planning daily activities in a city, it’s essential to consult the local tourist office. They possess the most current information regarding attractions and updates on public transportation, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable travel experience.
Is My Travel Insurance Going to Cover Me?
Travel insurance often falls short during a pandemic, particularly when government advisories warn against visiting certain regions or countries. In light of the current situation, some insurers have even halted the sale of new policies altogether. However, as the crisis unfolds, many travel insurance providers are adapting their coverage to accommodate the evolving circumstances.
Leading travel insurance providers, such as World Nomads, Medjet, and Security Wing, now offer COVID-specific medical coverage to ensure your medical expenses are covered if you fall ill during your journey. Be sure to review their policies for comprehensive details on the benefits offered.
Additionally, if you’re looking to secure compensation beyond your medical expenses, I recommend taking the following steps:
- Invest in comprehensive insurance policies or “cancel for any reason” plans that provide extensive travel interruption and cancellation coverage.
- Opt for a travel credit card with built-in insurance benefits to make all your purchases.
- Stick to visiting destinations that are free from any government travel advisories.
How Long Should I Expect to Spend on Booking My Trip?
As of February 2, 2021, the coronavirus situation continues to evolve. Countries have been opening and closing their borders, often at short notice, leaving many travelers stranded. Stay informed and prepared as you navigate these uncertain times.
If you’re planning to travel, it’s best to book your arrangements just a week or two before departure. Keep a close watch on the COVID-19 case count in your desired destination. If the cases remain low, you should be in the clear. However, be aware that if cases surge, new restrictions may be implemented swiftly, potentially disrupting your plans.
Amid the current travel slump, an abundance of deals have surfaced as fewer people are journeying. While prices typically skyrocket and last-minute bookings tend to be costlier, that age-old wisdom doesn’t hold true in today’s climate.
Additionally, it’s crucial to obtain a COVID test within 72 hours prior to departure, as proof of a negative result may be unexpectedly required. Ensuring you’re not ill or an asymptomatic carrier is vital for responsible travel. Regardless of regulations, it’s essential to play your part in preventing the spread of COVID when visiting other destinations.
As the world gradually reopens, it’s wise to prioritize domestic travel for the time being, until the international landscape becomes more stable and guidelines are clearly defined. Observing the impact of reopening on various destinations is crucial before venturing abroad. Personally, while I’m comfortable exploring my own country, I’m adopting a “wait and see” approach when it comes to international travel.
However, by familiarizing yourself with the latest COVID-related travel guidelines, you can gain a better understanding of the rules and know what to expect as you embark on your next journey!