Can I travel during the pandemic?

After nearly a year of cancelled plans and staying home, the question many of us are increasingly asking is ‘when can I travel again?’.

By on February 19, 2021
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After nearly a year of cancelled plans and staying home, the question many of us are increasingly asking is ‘when can I travel again?’. For now, many countries continue to recommend that citizens only travel if absolutely necessary. For while many countries now have a firm grip on how to handle the virus, travel information continues to change frequently, as do ever fluctuating infection rates, making it difficult to say for certain where the safe places to travel during the pandemic are.

However, by Summer 2021 and as countries join the race to vaccinate as many citizens as possible, the possibility of travel opening up again becomes increasingly likely. If you are planning on travelling later this year or next, there are a few extra considerations to note:

  • Travel insurance. Buying insurance for your travels pre Covid was always highly recommended. Now, as you’re asking ‘where can I travel to during Covid?’, travel insurance is an absolute necessity. Don’t go for the cheapest option – read the small print and choose a provider that covers you should your trip be cancelled due to the pandemic.
  • Testing negative. Showing evidence of a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours of departure is now the norm when boarding most flights and entering new countries. Additionally, in the new travel during covid era almost all countries now screen passengers for symptoms on arrival. Should you exhibit any, you may be required to take a Covid test and quarantine until you receive your results.
  • Quarantine. In some countries including Canada and Australia, it is currently compulsory to quarantine for a certain number of days (usually 14) upon arrival.
  • Put your safety first. When asking ‘can I travel during the pandemic’, it is vital that you take your health and safety, and the safety of others, into consideration. If you are concerned about your wellbeing, it is highly recommended that you book your travel with a reputable and trusted tour provider like Trafalgar Tours. Businesses like Trafalgar will know the safe places to travel during a pandemic, and have created enhanced wellbeing and hygiene protocols that ensure their guests health and happiness is prioritised. By putting your vacation in the hands of experts, this will give you the peace of mind to enjoy your vacation worry-free.
A Trafalgar Wellbeing Director cleaning the coach
A Trafalgar Wellbeing Director cleaning the coach
  • Travel with a company that offers flexible booking conditions. Should your plans change or infection rates increase in the destination you are travelling to, you’ll want to know that you have the flexibility to change your plans, and that your money won’t be lost. Companies such as Costsaver, have created flexible booking conditions for these very instances. With Costsaver, you can change your plans up to 30 days before departure free of charge. You can then either re-book your trip to a destination or date that suits you, or you will be issued with a Future Travel Credit to use at a time that suits you.

To further help answer the question ‘can I travel during the pandemic’, we’ve rounded up the current travel guidelines for those living in the USA, Canada, Australia and the UK.

Where can I travel now if I live in the USA?

For any American wondering ‘where can I travel to right now?’, your first recommendation is to follow the advice of the State Department and the CDC, as this is where you will find the most up to date and relevant information.

For those planning to travel during Covid, currently more than 50 countries are allowing US citizens to visit, although with many restrictions apply. These countries include Albania, The Bahamas, Barbados, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Egypt, Ireland, the Maldives, Malta, Morocco, Peru and Turkey. All of these destinations require travellers to show proof of a negative Covid test result taken 72 hours before travelling. For the most up to date information on places to travel during the pandemic, visit here.

It is also important to note that as of the 26th January 2021, all air passengers entering the US (citizens and non-citizens) are now required to show proof of a negative Covid test to be allowed entry.

For now, many Americans are choosing to travel closer to home until the pandemic passes. In 2020 and into 2021, many travel companies have seen huge interest in US travellers seeking out national parks tours. Destinations that allow for natural social distancing and beautiful beach escapes such as Hawaii, have also been spiking in popularity.

Bryce Canyon in the USA
An arch at Bryce Canyon

Where can I travel now if I live in Canada?

If you are a Canadian citizen and wondering ‘can I travel during the pandemic?’, it is wise to know that current advice from the Canadian government states that you should ‘avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada’. However, this is advice as opposed to regulation and Canadians are allowed to leave the country as they wish. Upon returning to Canada however, all travellers are required to quarantine for a mandatory 14-day period, as well as show proof of a negative Covid test (taken 72 hours before departure) on arrival back into the country.

When it comes to the best places to travel during Covid for Canadians, currently 50+ countries are accepting Canadian tourists, however some will require visitors to quarantine on arrival. Destinations that currently do not require you to quarantine, include Armenia, Bahamas, Bulgaria, Chile, Croatia, Dubai, Egypt, Iceland, Jordan and Morocco. Canadians can even travel to Hawaii, as the island state has separate entry requirements to the US. For now, Canada has been removed from the EU’s safe list, meaning Canadians cannot travel to a number of countries within the EU. For the most up to date information on where to travel during the pandemic, visit here.

The beautiful natural landscapes of Hawaii
The beautiful natural landscapes of Hawaii

For Canadians wondering about travel to the USA, currently the land border between the two bordering countries remains closed for non-essential travel. However, Canadians who do not display symptoms of Covid-19 are allowed to fly to the country as long as they have not visited China, Iran, Brazil, Ireland, the UK or any of the 26 European countries in the Schengen Area during the previous 14 days.

Where can I travel now if I live in Australia?

When it comes to Australians asking ‘can I travel during the pandemic?’, the rules are fairly simple (for once!).  All overseas travel is currently banned, and this is expected to be the case until at least mid 2021. This ban means Australians cannot leave Australia for non-essential reasons (such as a vacation). For those deemed essential travel, permission must first be obtained from the Department of Home Affairs.

However, international travel during Covid may not be completely off the cards for Australians in 2021. There has been much talk about Australia forming air bubbles with other low risk countries including Fiji, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and New Zealand. Currently the only air bubble in place allows New Zealanders to enter Australia without the need to quarantine, and a reciprocal bubble allowing Australians to enter New Zealand is expected to come in the first quarter of 2021.

For now, many Australian’s are taking the opportunity to explore their own backyards more than ever before; a trend that tour companies such as Trafalgar Tours have also seen through heightened instead in domestic tours. Many states and borders are now open to one another, however this can change quickly so those planning to travel are advised to check local government websites before booking.

Uluru in the Northern Territory
Majestic Uluru in Australia’s Northern Territory

Where can I travel now if I live in the UK?

For those living in the UK, the short answer to ‘can I travel during the pandemic?’ right now, is no. As of the 18th January and as a result of spiking infection rates, all travel corridors with the UK have been suspended. UK citizens are not permitted to travel during Covid unless they have a legally permitted reason to do so, and you can stay up to date with all the latest information on the UK government’s foreign travel advice site.

The latest UK lockdown is currently expected to come to an end in early – mid March, and it is therefore expected that by the summer travel will re-open in some capacity. Before the most recent lockdown, a number of countries were allowing UK travellers to visit without the need to quarantine on arrival. So, when it comes to the best places to travel during Covid for UK residents, these destinations are likely to be your best bet once lockdown is lifted. These include the Maldives, Botswana, Iceland, Greece and Barbados.

UK travellers are hoping to visit the Greek island of Santorini later this year

Finally, when wondering ‘when can I travel again?’, it’s important to remember that the UK is one of the countries leading the charge in terms of vaccinations. By April all those aged 50 and above, those classed as extremely vulnerable or those with underlying health conditions are expected to have been vaccinated, with the rest of the nation following suit by Mid-Autumn. The vaccination programme should give confidence to UK travellers hoping to venture overseas in Summer 2021 or later.

The ultimate answer to ‘can I travel during the pandemic’ for most people right now is ‘not yet, but soon’. Experts in the travel industry are confident that travel will re-open in some capacity by late summer, although of course you should only ever travel if you feel confident doing so, and if you trust your chosen travel provider. So, do your research, ensure you buy travel insurance, and when that long awaited vacation comes, travel will never feel so good.

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