Since March 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic has devastated the world. Millions have gotten sick, hundreds of thousands have lost their lives, and whole economies have been shut down. In only a matter of weeks, the entire nations completely locked themselves down and closed their borders to people.
For the first time since probably World War II, travel is an industry that depends upon human movement and employs 10% of the global workforce — entirely ceased.
Since the months have rolled on, we have seen some nations reverted and then return to lockdown, although other destinations are doing well and have reopened to (a few) tourists.
And this process creates a lot of questions. There are a lot of factors and rules that are continuously changing.
How can you know which nations are open? How can we find out new visitation principles? Can travel insurance apply throughout the pandemic? What’s flying going to be like? Are hotels and hostels secure? What attractions are available? Should you even travel today?
To help you determine what to do and where to find advice, I made this post to get the ball rolling.
What destinations are open?
The list of countries that are opening in the coming weeks and months expands every day. Some are opening for all international visitors, while others are opening just for neighboring countries. Like the United States, Iceland, and Bulgaria, some countries have bans on visitors from certain countries. French Polynesia and the Bahamas make people show a negative test result within 72 hrs of their trip. Bermuda requires a test before and twice during your visit. Cambodia desires a $2,000 deposit to cover any possible COVID expenditures, while Albania, Turkey, Costa Rica, and Mexico have no limitations and are entirely open.
In short, there’s a lot of different policies to sort through.
That means you’ll require specific research based on where you wish to go if you want to travel this summer or fall.
Fortunately, there are a few sites that will undoubtedly make that research study straightforward:
1. The International Air Transport Association (IATA), a traditional trade association for airlines worldwide, has created an interactive Travel Regulations Map powered by Timatic solutions that allow both airlines and travelers to quickly see current COVID-19 travel restrictions for each country around the world.
2. The Points Guy and Travel Off Path have breakdowns on the Present travel Guidelines for almost every country on the planet. These are the best places to begin if you are searching to find out what nations are available.
3. If you are from the USA, Skyscanner has a useful collection of state-by-state limitations in addition to constraints by state and flight cancelation policies/information.
4. If you are heading into Europe, this official map from the European Union will let you know which nations are available.
5. You might even download the travel preparation program App in the Air for continuing travel limitation updates. Their program is incredible because it will enable you to type airlines by their policies, tell you precisely what airports do, and contain information on health checks.
6. You should consult with the official Foreign Affairs Offices or Tourism Boards since they have the full, up-to-date details. They will have the very best advice on possible quarantine principles, evaluation requirements, along with additional restrictions.
Where can I find the most current case count information?
1. Map tracks Coronavirus outbreak in near real-time built by Johns Hopkins University
The Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering has been created. It is regularly updating an online dashboard for tracking the worldwide spread of the coronavirus outbreak that began in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
Lauren Gardner, a civil engineering professor and CSSE’s co-director, spearheaded the effort to launch the Wednesday mapping website. The site displays statistics about deaths and confirmed coronavirus cases, or 2019-nCoV, across a worldwide map. It also allows visitors to download the data for free.
“We built this dashboard because we think it is important for the public to have an understanding of the outbreak situation as it unfolds with transparent data sources,” Gardner said. “For the research community, this data will become more valuable as we continue to collect it over time.”
2. Worldometer – real-time world statistics
Before the pandemic, Worldometer was best known for its “counters,” which provided live estimates of numbers like the world’s population or the number of cars produced this year. Its website indicates that revenue comes from advertising and licensing its counters. The Covid-19 crisis has undoubtedly boosted the website’s popularity. It’s one of the top-ranking Google search results for coronavirus stats. In the past six months, Worldometer’s pages have been shared about 2.5 million times — up from just 65 shares in the first six months of 2019, according to statistics provided by BuzzSumo. This company tracks social media engagement and provides insights into content.
What are airlines doing?
Many airlines are currently asking passengers to use masks, although laws are inconsistent. Boarding procedures have also been changed to reduce interactions and encourage physical.
Some airlines (e.g., Southwest) do not reserve any mid-seats to keep a safer space between passengers, but this has changed from December 1, 2020, and they started promoting the middle seat ticket.
In terms of hygiene, most airlines mostly disinfect planes between flights. Here is a list of the major airlines and their current procedures:
- American Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- British Airways
- Air Canada
- Air France
If you’re flying or traveling alongside other people, here is some crucial hygiene advice:
- Wash your hands often or think about wearing gloves.
- Wear a mask.
- Refrain from touching your head.
- Wipe down your seat or seating area with disinfectant wipes.
Many airlines have changed their cancelation policy, which usually means you may often change your flights without penalty. So you should check your particular airline to determine whether that’s a choice before you reserve.
What are Hotels, Hostels, and Airbnb doing?
Accommodations in many cities are closed or forced to work at low capacity. The majority of the leading chains available (or reopening) have committed to improved cleaning routines. A few of the critical changes hotels are adopting are:
- Temperature/health checks of guests’ arrival.
- Enhanced disinfection and cleaning of the check-in counter and normal areas (pools, fitness facilities, etc.).
- Adjustments to common regions to maintain social distancing.
- Extra disinfection for the most-used items in resort rooms (door handles, remote and light switches, etc.).
Most hotels have also changed their cancelation policy to produce reservations more elastic because it is so fluid. Here are policies and statements from the major hotel chains so you can review their changes and commitments for yourself:
If you are looking to get the latest Airbnb information on COVID-19 responses, you can check it here from policy updates to resources for hosts and guests.
As for hostels, it is difficult to say exactly what all of the world’s hostels are doing. There is no hostel association where members must adhere to specific guidelines, such as in other industries. However, here are a couple of policies from some of the significant hostel chains for your better understanding:
What about Tour Companies?
Many tour companies aren’t even selling tours right now, so that you’ll want to check beforehand to find out what companies are still offering tours during your travel dates. Here are some travel updates and policy changes from my favorite tour companies:
Make sure to double-check the company’s cancelation and refund policies if they begin selling tours again but need to shut down in the event of another update swiftly. You don’t wish to get stuck without cash.
For regular activities in a town, you should only check the local tourism office. They will have up-to-date details about what attractions are doing and advice about changes to public transportation.
Can travel insurance cover me?
Most travel insurance doesn’t apply through a pandemic. It is particularly true when your government has issued warnings not to visit certain areas or states. Some traveling insurance companies aren’t even selling insurance at this time in light of the circumstance. However, since the crisis has continued, many travel insurance companies have adjusted their policies.
Furthermore, If you’d like to be sure you’re covered beyond medical expenses, here’s what I suggest to do:
- Purchase “cancel for any reason” insurance policies or programs, including comprehensive trip interruption and cancelation policy.
- Only visit destinations without any warning from the authorities.