Slowly but surely people are starting to travel again.
Thanks to vaccines and available COVID-19 tests, travelling for pleasure may soon be a reality for an increasing number of people around the world. Only a year may have passed, but quite a few things have changed since 2020. The travel has changed. But it’s still possible, as long as you travel prepared — as long as you know what to expect, and what you are required to do before departure and upon arrival.
Check out our travel checklist for 2021, and be prepared.
Make sure you check your destination’s entry before booking anything.
If your destination is open to tourism now? What are the entry requirements? For the EU you can use site reopen.europa.eu/en. For other countries around the world travelbans.org is a good and easy to use online resource, but double-check information with official sources.
Find out if you need:
Check also travel requirements and restrictions.
You might be allowed to enter your destination as a tourist, but what are restrictions? Can you travel between cities? Are you allowed to dine-in at a restaurant or a cafe? Is there a curfew? Will the restrictions affect your trip? Is it worth going there? Or maybe you should pick another destination where restrictions are not being enforced.
Do the same both for flights and accommodation!
Make sure to check out the cancellation policies, so you know what are the terms under which a reservation or booking may be cancelled; and will there be any penalties by doing so. Pay attention also to the change policy. When offered with a choice, choose a service that comes with more flexibility.
It’s better to avoid non-refundable bookings at the moment.
Because with them if something happens, you won’t get back any of your money. And that would be sad. Don’t take risks, make bookings that give you more flexibility, or choose a good travel insurance.
Pay attention to the COVID-19 policy, and the small print.
Contact your bank first. You may have an insurance included with your debit or credit card. Alternatively check your local insurance companies — make sure to check what is covered and what is not.
Find out if you have to book it in advance.
Find out also what are the requirements regarding the test. Mostly it has to be carried out not earlier than 72 hours or 3 days before the time of departure, and of course it should be negative.
Have you finished your COVID-19 vaccines?
Don’t forget to take your vaccine card or vaccine passport.
Some countries have already made travelling easier for vaccinated travellers, and many others are surely to follow.
Do you need to fill in some forms prior to travel?
Do you need to acquire some sort of QR code or COVID-pass in order to enter your destination country? Do you have to fill out some questionnaire before you travel? Don’t forget to do all of this. Otherwise you’ll be denied boarding or entry. Don't leave it for last minute.
Don’t forget to pack a hand sanitiser and disinfecting wipes.
Wear the right mask. Some airports and airlines require their passengers to wear a medical face mask, instead of a reusable cloth face mask. Don’t forget to pack an extra face mask (or two).
Download the COVID-19 tracing app recommended by the government.
Check the latest COVID-19 testing requirements for your destination.
Do you need to take a Covid test at your destination? For example, people travelling to Georgia right now, in May 2021, are required to take a Covid test before departure, and a few days after arrival. Some countries even request a test right away, at the airport.
Find out if you need to take the test at your destination.
Sometimes it is even required of vaccinated travellers!
In the EU you’re still the same as protected as before.
If you flight is delayed for 3 or more hours or cancelled less than 2 weeks before departure, you may be eligible for compensation from the airline. As long as the delay or cancellation is due to the airline's fault. That includes, but isn’t limited to — technical problems with the aircraft, poor planning (no aircraft available, not enough staff), airline computer system problems, and, in some situations, also employee strikes.
If delay or cancellation isn’t your airline’s fault, you should still be offered either a full refund or a new flight. All thanks to EU Flight Compensation Regulation 261/2004.