We have all realized that the days of traveling with just a driving license and nothing printed out are long gone. There’s a whole list of things that you need to prepare ahead in the COVID-era. Here are top tips:
Print everything out.
And we mean everything. For cruising, passenger locator form, negative COVID test result, cruise ticket, itinerary, proof of COVID insurance and anything else we could that we felt we needed to. Even though most cruise lines and tour operators are moving towards a paperless world, certainly for the COVID era many are demanding paper copies of everything.
Book everything early.
Historically, we have tended to do things last minute, but no longer. Book hotels, car parking, guides, admission tickets, PCR tests etc. well ahead of your traveling.
Get COVID travel insurance.
This is essential and is now being demanded by some cruise lines. You may be turned away or forced to buy it at the terminal. And if you already have travel insurance, ensure you understand it as not every policy covers illness due to COVID19, as some providers will not cover coronavirus or travel aboard cruise ships. If you’re going overseas, make sure your coverage also includes your hotel and related costs in case you run into a quarantine situation. Understand your window for documents and testing. This is slightly different from booking everything early. Many countries require a certain window when your test can be taken to be valid, which is usually within 72 hours. Make sure you count backward accurately, and also make sure you are taking the right kind of test, as there are different requirements.
Plan with a pro
With all of the airline issues this summer, we’ve had delays, cancellations and missed connections that would have caused you to miss out. Book all pieces through a travel agent. That way, you’ll have an advocate working for you (rather than waiting for hours on the phone for the airlines to maybe answer your call). Booking through an agent who can go to bat for you is your absolute best bet for removing stress if things change — which, this summer, was often the case. (This past week I fixed a schedule change that was three flights across the country, when two or one is the usual.)
Check and re-check policies for airlines, countries and cruise lines regularly, as they can change overnight. One day it wasn’t there, the next it was. Same thing with mixed vaccinations — they went from being not allowed to maybe allowed to not allowed again. AstraZeneca was also banned, then quietly unbanned, as long as the doses weren’t mixed. Things like that have been happening all the time, so keep an eye on the news — or speak to your travel agent.
Bring plenty of masks — disposable and cloth.
Tip: Check mask requirements — certain mask types are mandated in different countries and on different airline. Lufthansa, for example, requires a 95 or KN95 mask. Don’t be caught out having to buy masks at airports.
Think about quarantine – and take a COVID-19 test before you go. If you’re traveling overseas, read up on the quarantine policies for where you’re going. Hopefully, you won’t test positive on your trip, but it’s at least good to know what could happen if you do. You might want to bring extra medication, reading material and — if you’re still working — your laptop, in the unfortunate case you test positive. We also recommend getting a COVID-19 test before your trip, even if the country or cruise line doesn’t require it, just to make sure. If you are sick, it’s better to go through it at home, rather than in a cramped hotel room in a foreign country.
Updated August 20 2021 Edited from CruiseCritic