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Saturday, June 26, 2021

What to Know About International Travel During the Pandemic

Just because America and a few other places are doing super well right now in regards to Covid, we may get complacent thinking this is the norm everywhere. I have been putting off flying domestically, because the safety protocols don't really meet my specifications right now and I don't really trust strangers in an enclosed space, making me uncomfortable in an airplane despite being fully vaccinated. Since international travel involves Covid testing for the most part, I would be more likely to travel out of the country.

Just because America is doing well in regards to Covid, know there should be some things to think about if you're planning an international trip.

If you're like me, know there should be some things to think about if you're planning an international trip soon:

Know the numbers

Just because the U.S. has fairly good and rising number of vaccinated folx, it doesn't mean other countries are doing as well. Many places still can't get vaccinated and there are governments that aren't making the ones they have available as widely as they could/should. Look at the vaccination percentages and also the Covid numbers. Both are really important to know in order to feel safe in any given place. You also should keep in mind that even if you are okay with taking the chance, there are variants out there that you could still contract, and you could also unknowingly spread Covid to other people who may have been okay before. 

What if you get stranded

There's still a chance that Covid numbers boom wherever you go, so have a plan. What if they go back into lockdown and you're stranded there? Can you afford to get stuck in another country? Will your insurance cover you? Is there a way for you to get home if the country closes? What if you get sick with Covid and have to go to a foreign hospital? you may be stuck there for weeks or months while you recover. You may be putting undue strain on an already strained medical system. Do some research and think about how you might be affected if the worst happens. 

Follow the rules

Even if you're fully vaccinated (which should be a given if you're traveling internationally) that doesn't make you immune to rules. Wear your mask on the plane whenever you aren't eating or drinking. Don't pretend you are just so you don't have to wear it. If a place requires you to get tested or present your vaccination card, remember that it's not just about you and places are trying to keep their own people/guests/customers safe and healthy. Don't make their lives harder. If they request you wear a mask, even outside, either do it or go elsewhere. Pitching a fit isn't helpful to anyone and just makes you look like a jerk. If you don't like the rules, that's on you.

Be Kind

I know this may sound like a "duh" suggestion for you, but "air rage" has dramatically increased with the pandemic. Remember that everyone's in the same boat and travel can be stressful. You don't know what people are going through, so try to give them some slack. I try to remember this even when not traveling, but especially when dealing with those in the hospitality industry, flight crews, and customer service. They're stuck there doing their jobs and you making it harder just adds more stress they don't need. If something goes wrong, give them a chance to fix it before getting upset. Things happen and sometimes mistakes are unavoidable. What matters is how they're handled once it's brought to their attention.

Tip Better

In places where tipping is normal, I suggest tipping better than you usually do. This pandemic has been hard on a lot of people and people are struggling, trying to make up for the year plus of lost income. Remember that when you go out to eat, use Uber or a cab, go on a tour, or use other services. I even tip more than usual when I visit food trucks. In fact, I feel really good about helping people so much that I plan to continue doing so even after the pandemic is over. Even at home I have a snack/sanitizer/water bin in front of my house for delivery drivers and mail carriers. They've been doing a lot more with people being stuck at home and don't always have time to stop for snacks or water. It all goes back to being kind to people and realizing we are privileged to even be traveling during this time. 

If you aren't planning to travel out of the country, but still want to go somewhere - because we all do - check out my list of great domestic destinations. If you also aren't into flying right now, a road trip can be really fun and indulgent. Check out my tips on how to make your road trips better, and packing tips for your trip.

Are you planning to travel this year?

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