As restrictions start to ease for many countries and our thoughts turn towards the possibility of travelling again, there may be additional things to think about when getting back in the air and out on the road.
Our Travel Experts are always here to help, but it is important that you check and are comfortable with any new travel requirements before you leave. Here are five key things to consider:
- Your home government’s travel advice.
- The safety measures at your destination.
- What to expect at the airport.
- Additional airline safety measures.
- Land partner safety measures, e.g., tour operators
1. Your home government’s travel advice.
Before booking a trip, you must check your government’s own travel advice to check if it is safe to leave your home country. It is also important to check the foreign office advice for every country that you are travelling to.
For UK residents
For Australia residents
For US residents
It is important to check if your home country has a quarantine policy in place. It may be that you have to self-isolate or quarantine on your return, which can affect people you live with or work with, and may affect your decision to travel
Just as at home, there is a risk of exposure to COVID-19 when you are abroad. If you have any underlying medical conditions or fall into a category where you have increased vulnerability, check with your doctor before travelling.
2. The safety measures at your destination
As well as your home government’s advice, you must also check the border policy of the country that you are travelling to. There may be additional measures in place that you may be required to follow, such as COVID-19 tests on arrival or quarantine. As well as the country’s own website, you can also check TripsGuard.
Not all services and infrastructure may be open or operating. If hotels and restaurants are open, and public transport is running, it is important to familiarise yourself with the local rules. The policies around social distancing, wearing face masks (and potentially other protective equipment, like gloves), and the number of people you can socialise with may be different to what you are used to at home.
Expect that on the road and at the airport, you may be asked to take extra precautions. For example, to wear a mask on an aircraft or on public transport, or to take a COVID-19 test at a border crossing. Please do not be offended. Respecting these local laws will help to keep you safe. Plus, it is this collective effort that is allowing us to start to travel and explore the world again.
3. What to expect at the airport
In many cases, passengers are being asked to arrive four hours before departure.
Normal airport transport, such as shuttles or trains, may be running a decreased service, so please ensure you plan your journey carefully.
Restaurants and shops in the airport may be closed, so check the airport website in advance and consider taking your own food and entertainment. Bear in mind that anything you might usually buy in the airport (e.g. travel-sized toiletries) might not be available.
4. What airlines are doing
Airlines are putting additional precautions in place in order to protect their passengers and staff, and to comply with health advice so that they can operate. These policies may differ per airline, so it is important to check directly with the airline you are travelling with here.
Face coverings: The vast majority of airlines will require customers to wear face masks. Some airlines have advised that as a guide, face masks last approximately four hours, so take enough for your journey (and beyond).
In-flight food and drink: Many airlines are offering reduced in-flight services, some are offering no special meals, and some are offering no food or drinks services at all. Please check the policy of the airline you are travelling with. You may be able to take your own food and snacks onboard, however, please do not rely on being able to buy these at the airport. Also, remember to take an empty bottle to fill up at water stations after security.
Hygiene: Airlines will be doing increased cleaning and sanitising of aircrafts, plus some have mentioned hospital-grade air filtration systems that filter out bacteria and viruses as well as using 60% fresh air. Crew and attendants in most cases will be wearing PPE.
Entertainment: Most airlines are sanitising touch screens, but there are some reports that the touchscreen entertainment will be turned off to avoid contamination. It may be advisable to download entertainment onto your device before travelling.
5. What our touring partners are doing
Our land providers are taking additional measures to ensure your health and wellbeing while on the road. These include increased training of staff, physical distancing, sanitising of buses and transport, and enhanced hygiene protocols. You can check the most up-to-date advice here.
Some tips on staying healthy on the road
As travellers, we’re already experts in the field of wet wipes, hand sanitisers and rehydration salts. Now more than ever, it’s important to deploy all your hygiene measures and common sense to stay safe at home and on the road.
- In order to protect yourself and others around you, follow the personal hygiene practices recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). For example, guidance on hand washing, hand sanitiser, and how frequently to change face coverings.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (that’s the same amount of time it takes to sing the chorus of Britany Spears’ ‘Oops!… I Did It Again’, just FYI). Or use alcohol-based hand sanitisers when hands aren’t visibly dirty.
- Do not rely on being able to buy the things you need to help keep you safe while you are away, so ensure you are taking enough face coverings, gloves and sanitizer for your whole trip.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a flexed elbow or a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Try not to touch your mouth and nose. Wearing a face mask, even if not a requirement, can help prevent you from touching your face.
- Follow proper food hygiene practices, especially in hostel kitchens.
- Should be obvious, but no hugging strangers. Socially distant high-fives are probably safest right now.
For additional peace of mind, make sure you book a trip that is flexible. Speak to our Travel Expert about our flexible tickets and lifetime tour deposits.