Since the pandemic first landed on our radars early 2020, we’ve all been dreaming about when we can start travelling safely again. July seemed to be the turning point for kick-starting international tourism, with many major airlines returning to 80% flight capacity throughout Europe.
A large majority of people are now comfortable with the idea of going on holiday abroad, so we’ve created this guide on how to stay safe when travelling during a pandemic:
How to choose the best holiday destination during COVID-19
It’s safe to say that we all know someone who’s had their travel plans cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19.
If you’re desperate to travel this year, but want to play it as safe as possible, focus on booking destinations closer to home with direct flight routes available.
If anything changes whilst you are away, it will be cheaper and simpler to figure out an alternative route home. Plus, countries within the EU (including the UK) are more lenient on entry requirements for travellers arriving from another EU country.
Where to check for country-specific COVID19 requirements
The travel landscape has proven to be incredibly unpredictable at the moment - with the UK government changing quarantine rules on a weekly basis for different countries. A number of travellers have lost confidence in booking holidays following the recent announcement that travellers returning from Spain, Belgium and Andorra are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the UK.
However, you needn’t lose faith in travel this summer, as all you need to do is stay on top of the different country-specific requirements, using the FCO dedicated website or Caxton’s handy Travel Tracker tool.
To ensure you’re staying smart whilst travelling, you must conduct research well in advance. For example, if you’re heading to Italy, double check what entry requirements have been implemented by Italian authorities. Do I need to quarantine when I arrive in Italy? Do I have to provide a medical certificate or negative COVID-19 test upon arrival? Ensuring that you’re educated on the country-specific information will mean that you will avoid any last-minute additional fees/fines, or in the worst case scenario, prevented from travelling altogether.
Another Caxton top tip would be to use all available resources online to stay on top of global coronavirus cases. For example, this Coronavirus chart from The Financial Times enables you to gauge which countries are having a spike in cases, or as to who is managing the spread well. This would help make informed decisions on your destination of choice.
Pack additional face masks
Make sure to pack additional face masks, hand sanitizer and hygiene gloves when preparing for your upcoming travels.
When it comes to liquid items like hand sanitizer, remember to pack bottles less than 100ml if you are only travelling with hand luggage (otherwise it will be taken off of you at airport security.)
Double check the specific requirements on mandatory face coverings for the country you are due to travel to. Each country has different rules when it comes to maintaining social distancing and COVID-related regulations. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!
How to abide by social distancing rules
Most European countries have begun gradually re-opening their tourist hotspots and key attractions, as a means of boosting their economy again post-lockdown.
Whilst we are encouraging you to enjoy your travels and fully immerse yourself in the new culture, there are ways to do it that still abide by social distancing rules.
For example, you can still see the beauty of the Eiffel Tower from afar and simultaneously avoid large crowds. You could also opt for outdoors activities or excursions that will enable you to follow social distancing rules, such as embarking on nature hikes or enjoying a movie in an outdoor cinema.
Travel insurance and cancellation policies during COVID-19
Pandemic or not, we always recommend getting sufficient travel insurance in place prior to your departure date, to protect you against any lost luggage or unplanned illnesses whilst you’re away.
Unfortunately, most travel insurance providers do not cover you for any Coronavirus-related financial losses. However, it’s still worthwhile shopping around to find the best deal that could work for you.
An additional pointer to look out for when planning a trip during a pandemic is your airline cancellation policies. Most key airlines have responded to the pandemic by bringing out sufficient refund/cancellation agreements, whether it be a waiver of the flight change fee or the offer of travel vouchers. It’s smart to ensure that the airline that you’re booking with has some form of cancellation policy in advance.
Similarly, the same approach should be taken when organising the accommodation for your trip. Outlets like Booking.com and Airbnb generally have great refund policies, as long as you cancel within a certain time frame (which can be anywhere between 2 weeks to 24 hours prior to the arrival date.)
Don’t use cash - use a prepaid card
When travelling, our experts would recommend always bringing a small amount of cash with you on every trip, for initial taxi transfers or hotel deposits. The rest of your travel money should be put onto a Caxton multi-currency card, for safe and secure spending.
Cash is no longer king (even more so after COVID-19,) and almost all establishments accept credit/debit cards.
We’ve all been yearning for that epic summer holiday for months now. If you feel confident enough to travel, there are simple steps to put in place prior to your holiday that will ensure you are as prepared as you can be for any unplanned, pandemic mishaps.
If alternatively you want to avoid the crowds altogether, we’ve got you covered in our alternative UK staycations guide.