I just came back from a beautiful trip to Paris. I had so much fun and discovered a wonderful city. It was my first time traveling since the start of the pandemic, so with all the excitement that came with the planning of the trip, anxiety was also along the way.
Will I be able to leave for my trip, or will new restrictions cancel my plans? Will I be able to come back, or will I be stuck? What are the mandatory forms I need to fill out? What are the restrictions in the country I am traveling to? These were some of the questions that added up to the planning of my trip that we did not have to deal with before the pandemic.
However, the good news is that it is still possible to travel and live incredible experiences with good planning. So in this post, I will share with you my tips and essential information that has helped me make my traveling experience positive instead of negative. Let’s start!
Ask the help of a travel agent
It was the first time I worked with a travel agent to help me plan my trip. It is not something that I would have thought of doing if not because of the pandemic, but now I think it is a resource that I will keep using.
So why ask the help of a travel agent? Because rules and regulations regarding covid ALWAYS change. It can be hard to keep track of everything. Therefore, a travel agent can help you be up to date with those regulations. Moreover, they can share useful websites to help you plan your trip that you would not have found directly while searching on the web. Furthermore, it can help you find the right insurance to be protected correctly during your trip. Finally, it’s just great to have someone available to answer your questions while planning your trip.
Be aware of the travel regulations/restrictions
So because of covid, there is a LOT of paperwork to fill out to make sure that you respect all the rules. Of course, it depends on the destination, but for example, I had to fill out a Federal Attestation, a Passenger Locator form to go to France, and a Health declaration form. I had other documents to fill out when coming back. So I strongly recommend filling out the necessary forms before your flights. Trust me; you will feel way less stressed when they ask you for the form you have already completed instead of filling it out while the plane is boarding…
In order to be informed correctly about all those mandatory documents and restrictions, there is a great website that my travel agent recommended to me: Sherpa. First, you will need to answer the following questions: Where you are traveling from, where are you traveling to, date range, vaccination status, and your passport (Canada, US, etc.). Then, it will tell you if there is a mandatory quarantine to do, if you need to do Covid tests, Visa, and the required documents to fill out. You can also directly download those documents from the website. Finally, it also informs you about upcoming changes regarding the regulations in the country you will be visiting.
To add to this website, you must also look at government websites and airline company’s websites (the one you are flying with). These are also reliable sources, and if you regularly check these three sources of information, you will be up to date for any changes.
Plan COVID-19 in your budget
While planning your budget for a trip, make room for everything related to COVID-19: extra insurance, PCR tests, sanitary pass, etc.
When I calculated how much I had actually spent during my trip, I noticed that I spent about 500$ on everything related to COVID: 270$ in mandatory PCR tests, 100$ in insurance, 50$ for the French mandatory sanitary pass. It is a negative aspect of traveling during the pandemic because, of course, this is some money that you would like to invest elsewhere. It adds up pretty quickly, so make sure you consider these expenses while planning your trip.
Better be safe than sorry…buy more insurance!
So traveling during the pandemic comes with some risks, and the main one in my case was to be tested positive and not be able to come back to Canada. This situation would have forced me to find a new place to stay for the time of my quarantine (more unplanned expenses).
However, depending on where you are from, it can be possible for you to find quarantine insurance. You will pay a certain amount (in my case, 46$), but if you have to do a quarantine, the insurance company will pay for your accommodation and other unplanned expenses related to covid-19. So if you have access to this kind of insurance, I strongly suggest adding it to your travel insurance package.
Have a timetable with all the steps of your project
Another thing that I strongly suggest so that your planning goes smoothly is to create a timetable with all the steps that you much achieve for your trip. Write down all the things you must do, and when it haves to be done. Here are a few things that could be on your list:
- Make sure passport is up to date
- Buy plane tickets
- Find travel insurance (medical travel insurance, trip cancellation, interruption, etc.)
- Get the mandatory vaccines (if it applies)
- Confirm accommodation (hotel, Airbnb, etc.)
- Doctor appointment for meds
- Take an appointment for a PCR test
- Buy foreign currency
- Phone travel plan
- Fill out the mandatory paperwork
- Make photocopies of important travel documents (passport, travel itinerary)
It is less stressful when everything is planned…and way more fun. Then, the night before your flight, you can relax, knowing everything is done.
This is it for this post; I hope it was helpful if you are planning a trip. Note that the information shared can differ depending on where you live, mainly for insurance-related stuff. Traveling during the pandemic is a choice that includes some risks, but from my experience, if you remain flexible and keep yourself up to date regarding the travel restrictions, there are no reasons why you can’t have a nice trip;)
*If you are planning a trip to Paris or dreaming of this travel destination, make sure you are following the blog…more posts on this topic are coming!
If you want to see my complete travel bucket list click here