2020 was a difficult year for all travelers, we experienced restrictions and lock-down, so in 2021 we are all dreaming of returning to a new type of normality if we can even call it that. So what is it like to travel in the year 2021?
A couple of weeks ago, we had our first flight since the pandemic hit in March 2020. The destination was the Dominican Republic, and we had so much anxiety, we didn’t know if the travel conditions would change, if we will be able to onboard on the plane or if we will stay in quarantine, at the destination, or upon returning home. I do have to admit that in 2021, traveling is not stress-free, so I made a list of the important aspects that you should keep in mind for your next trip.
When it comes to Covid-19, the situation can change very fast, so the main thing that one should consider is full coverage insurance. Even if the amount of money that you spent on the vacation is not that big, and you can afford to lose it, you cannot afford to get coronavirus at the destination without health insurance. So I would strongly advise everyone to invest in the best insurance that they can afford and be prepared to adapt to unforeseen changes.
2. Wait until the last minute
On the topic of changes, everyone should consider booking everything as late as possible, for the same reason mentioned above, there is no way you can know what will happen in a month or two. Maybe the virus will disappear, it’s very unlikely, unfortunately, the closing of the borders is not. Even if it will be more expensive to book the flight and accommodation last minute, it is better than having to reschedule or even worse to be denied entry.
3. Traveling conditions
Another key aspect is verifying from a confirmed source what will be the protocol you have to follow at the destination. For Romanians, there is no visa required to enter the Dominican Republic, yet because of the pandemic everyone needs to file a form and have a QR code to present upon arrival and upon departure. Information like this is crucial to know beforehand, luckily for us, we had the travel agency that instructed us, but if you are traveling independently you need to do your homework.
4. Tests and verification of disease symptoms
There are many countries that will ask for a negative PCR test, some are dropping this if you have been vaccinated with both doses and at least 10 days have passed from the second one. Yet even if it is not required to have a negative test, you should look out for any symptoms and expect your temperature to be checked everywhere.
5. Get to the airport 3h earlier
With the Covid-19 situation, most of the airports now open the check-in 3 hours earlier. The line for security verification is longer, due to the distance that needs to be kept and so is the passport verification line.
During the time you spend here, it is mandatory to keep your mask on and to use hand sanitizer. The good part is that you no longer have to step on other people's feet when you are waiting in line, the not so nice part is that most of the shops and cafes from the airport are closed and the sitting places were reduced to half, so people would not sit next to each other.
6. Wearing a mask should become a habit
No matter the country and the situation, wearing a mask in public places should be a reflex. Unfortunately, with the virus mutation even if you had your vaccine, you could still catch and spread the virus.
It’s not the most pleasant thing, especially when the temperatures are high, yet I find the inconvenience small compared to the risks. I always keep 2 masks in my purse and I try to change those as often, especially on planes or public transport.
7. Embracing change
As 2020 has taught us, we cannot prepare or foresee everything. Sometimes we need to take a risk and gamble, so traveling is not going to be 100% safe and there will be no guarantee that things will go as planned, prepare yourself to adapt to change.
In our case, we had to change 3 destinations to finally make it to one that was safe to travel.
Last year we changed our flight to Tenerife 4 times. We are hoping we will be able to travel there in September, but we don’t know for sure yet.
8. And finally: enjoy while it lasts
If you manage to make it to your destination, enjoy the time you have to spend there. Try not to be scared by what is going to happen upon returning and try not to constantly verify the news, it’s important to make the most of the present moment, clearly, by following the rules and protecting yourself and the others.
We will resume traveling in 2021, I am positive that we will be able to enjoy a well-deserved vacation after all the restrictions and lock-downs that we went through. There will be new rules that we will need to follow, yet I am certain we can all get through this by staying optimistic. I really don’t want to use the word positive, at least not in 2021 :D.