Travelling in a Pandemic: Crucial Safe Travel Tips

The ongoing lockdown restrictions have most avid travelers itching for their next wanderlust-fueled adventure. However, as we’ve all realized, the global pandemic is forcing us to redefine how we look at ‘safe travel’.

While extensive globetrotting is not advisable right now, travelling in a pandemic means adjusting to a new travel norm: stringent COVID-19 safety protocols!

Travelling in a pandemic

The reality is that there are many risks involved with travelling amid a pandemic. Stepping into this ‘new travel normal’ means equipping yourself with various health and safety guidelines at all times.

While mass international travel may still be a while away, we understand that some travellers may need to start heading off on international business trips or important family visits.

Whether you’re taking an international trip or keeping your travels local, here’s a few crucial safe travel tips for traveling in a pandemic.

Flying in a pandemic
Flying in a pandemic

1. Check the entry restrictions and requirements

Travelling during a pandemic means that you need to get used to doing your research. And we don’t mean simply Googling the most underrated beaches or local places to explore and calling it a day. Before you can begin planning your itinerary, make sure that you fully understand the COVID-19 travel restrictions and entry requirements of the country that you are visiting.

It’s important to note that each country has varying entry requirements. Regularly visiting their official government website means that you will be able to receive all of their specific restrictions in full.

Most countries also require a negative PCR test result taken within 48 to 72 hours before your trip. Remember to leave enough time to get tested and have the results back before you head to the airport to ensure that your test is valid.

2. Get travel insurance

Regardless of where you are heading, travelling during a pandemic means adding travel insurance to your list of must-haves. For those of you considering skipping out on the added expense, it’s worthwhile noting that this level of insurance is crucial.

It’s important, however, to read through the COVID-19 cover that the insurance provider offers. World Nomads, for example, does not cover travel to countries with a COVID travel ban, so familiarize yourself with the exclusions (read more about their Coronavirus cover here).

COVID-19 travel insurance is more of a safe travel essential than it is a safe travel tip. To put it bluntly: you absolutely NEED it, and it’s an additional cost you won’t regret!

Get a travel insurance quote from World Nomads below:

3. Get to the airport early

The days of rushing through the airport doors and catching your flight JUST in time are over.

With new pandemic regulations being enforced, airports now are operating differently. If you have been given the green light to head to your destination, then you need to prepare to jump through a few more hoops once you get to the airport.

Staff are taking measures to ensure that they collect all of your health declarations upon arrival. You could be asked to complete a travel risk assessment, take another rapid COVID-19 test and provide detailed information on where you are going.

As you can imagine, this can be somewhat time-consuming, so arrive early enough to go through all of these necessary health checks.

Here’s a few tips for keeping yourself entertained at the airport.

Travelling in a pandemic
Travelling in a pandemic – expect many screenings.

4. Permits and visas are your new accessories

Paperwork is a large part of travelling in a pandemic. With the tourism industry looking to make a significant comeback, it seems that the only way to access specific destinations is with the help of stay permits and special visas.

Without this documentation you may be refused entry at the border or airport. Ensure that you get all the necessities ready, including your papers and forms in advance! We also suggest printing out a few certified copies of your visa and permit – this will prove to be a total lifesaver!

5. Get ready to quarantine

Again, every country has different quarantine measures in place, so you will have to familiarise yourself with your specific definition. While safety protocols vary from country to country, it seems many destinations require you to quarantine for two weeks before entering the country.

When you plan on travelling back to your home country, you will most likely be asked to undergo another two-week quarantine before you are allowed back in.

It’s also worth highlighting that most travel insurance policies do not cover this mandatory quarantine stay. This means that you will be required to cover this expense out-of-pocket, so you might want to add this cost to your budget planning beforehand.

6. Have flexible plans

Strict planning may not be everyone’s forte, but this pandemic is proof that you always need to prepare for the unexpected – especially when it comes to travelling in a pandemic. Once you land at your destination, you must be aware that many government officials are placing various travel corridors and tiers.

These travel corridors and tiers mean that borders and certain areas may be closed at a moment’s notice if they see a spike in COVID-19 cases. Keeping up with these travel bubbles and tiers can get a little confusing, so your best bet is to keep an eye on travel websites and government sites to keep up to date on travel movements.

It would be in your best interest to pay a little extra for booking flexibility when it comes to your accommodation, flights and any booked tours. That way, if borders are closed, you can change the dates!

Don’t forget to add reusable eco-friendly masks to your travel kit

An alarming number of disposable masks and gloves have been found on beaches across the world. Obviously, this isn’t great for the environment. So, if possible, it’s best to opt for reusable eco-friendly masks instead of the disposable ones.

Here’s a few options:

The reality is that travelling in a pandemic can seem daunting and overwhelming. However, the point isn’t to scare you. The aim here is to ensure that you always understand the importance of staying informed and prepared.  If you follow these safe travel tips, you will be in for a fun (and safe) trip!


Travelers listen music

Travelling without music would feel like…

 

Stubbed toes, wine without cheese, and Friends without the theme tune.

From Edinburgh to Auckland, our STA Travel staff discuss their favorite festivals, go-to hometown music venues, and road trip guilty pleasures.

Tania Gasnier, Head Designer, STA Travel New Zealand

The windows are down, no one can hear, I’m on a road trip listening to… ‘So Damn Funky’ by Codes, with my speakers would be almost blowing from the bass.

The song that always takes me back is… ‘Africa’ by Toto and ‘Another Day in Paradise’ by Phil Collins make me nostalgic for being on safari in Kenya and Tanzania. My heart squeezes when I hear them, and I’m filled with a longing to go back.

Travel without music would feel like… Wine without cheese. I always make a playlist to relate to the location I’m travelling, whether it be laid back island vibes or something to help me power up a mountain.

Favorite festival at home: Fritter Festival, Whangarei. A festival where local restaurants compete to create the best fritter. Great food, great Kiwi bands. Food is as important to me as travel is!

Favorite festival to travel to: Bluesfest in Byron Bay, Australia. A 3-day long festival celebrating blues and roots music. Such a feel-good vibe. Good tunes, camping, and loads of shenanigans.

Emma Neely, Marketing Exec, STA Travel USA

Travel without music would feel like… Bread without butter or oil or cheese or any of the good stuff. Still good, but kind of dry.

Go-to venue for live music: Chicago has so many great music venues, from the legendary Wrigley Field to packing a picnic to listen to music at Ravinia Festival and Huntington Bank Pavilion on Northerly Island right on the waters of Lake Michigan.

Favorite festival at home: While Chicago might be best known for Lollapalooza, Riot Fest, North Coast and Pitchfork… their newest country festival Windy City Smoke-out is by far my favorite. Not only can you listen to some of the latest acts out of Nashville, but you can do so while sampling the nation’s best BBQ.

In 2021, I’ll be at… Country Thunder in Arizona. It’s basically a 4-day long tailgate. Hell yeah! Nothing beats tent camping, taking pics for the ‘gram to show off your country gear and drinking one too many beers all while listening to good ‘ol country music. Bonus: each day of the festival has a theme to dress up to.

Ibtisaam Ganief, Online Marketing Exec, STA Travel South Africa

Travel without music would feel like… really sad! Imagine not vibing to some deep house or twerking to some Diplo and Major Lazer.

The windows are down, no one can hear, I’m on a road trip listening to… I can hit all Shakira’s notes. Waka Waka eh eh!

Go-to venue for live music: In Cape Town, I like the setup at Shimmy Beach Club and the vibes at the outdoor parties at Hillcrest Quarry.

Favorite festival at home: I love Origin Festival in Heldrestroom. It’s a weekend long psychedelic music and arts festival. Everything about it just feels right. When I’m there, I feel one with people and my surroundings.

In 2021 I’ll be at… Rocking the Daisies. I went for the first time last year and saw Sho Madjozi, Biggie and Russ live.

Renee Yiannakis, Digital Trading Manager, STA Travel Australia

Travel without music would feel like… Not being able to tell a good story well. The context is there, but the engagement and curiosity has lost me.

The windows are down, no one can hear, I’m on a road trip listening to… Lenny Kravitz ‘Fly Away’, The Weeknd ‘Blinding Lights’, ‘It’s My Life’ Talk Talk, ‘Mother’s Daughter’ Miley Cyrus.

The tunes that saved me in lockdown: You don’t know what date it is and let’s be frank, your mood changes daily, so my go-to playlist is a mixed of all different genres. Some days when I want to unwind, I’ll listen to chill tracks from Michael Kiwanuka, Grace Jones and Massive Attack, and when I’m feeling more energetic, I’ll listen to Tensnake, Azari & III, The Weeknd and New Order. I also love listening to Greek music. There’s something about the tunes that are so dreamy and reminds me of summers spent on the islands.

Go-to venue for live music: Melbourne has so many live music venues. I love the Forum because of its gothic architecture and its heritage hosting iconic Australian and world-class acts.

Helen Daglish, Social Media Exec, STA Travel UK

The song that always takes me back is… Alt-J’s first album ‘An Awesome Wave’ always takes me back to my trip to Bali in 2016. It’s such a chilled-out album and I feel so nostalgic listening to it now.

The windows are down, no one can hear, I’m on a road trip listening to… Finley Quaye ‘Sunday Shining’. It’s the ultimate summer road trip tune!

The tunes that saved me in lockdown: Most of lockdown has been spent working from home, so I’ve been listening to music that won’t distract me too much. My go-to playlist has been ‘Electronic Concentration’ – good beats and no lyrics. Four Tet, Bonobo and Tokyo Prose.

In 2021 I’ll be at… I’d love to go to one of the summer music festivals in Croatia. Either Dimensions, Outlook or Hideout. And of course, Notting Hill Carnival next August in London. The best street party EVER.

Ben McCabe, Store Manager, STA Travel Cavendish South Africa

The song that always takes me back: Junior Jack, Tube & Berger ‘E Samba 2018’. It takes me right back to Ibiza, and the amazing European summer, partying at O Beach Club and Pacha with my mates.

The windows are down, no one can hear, I’m on a road trip listening to… Rufus Du Sol ‘No Place’.

Favorite festival at home: My favorite live music venue is Kirstenbosch… summer concerts are always a vibe! Second favorite home festival hands-down would be Rocking the Daisies, it always brings really big international artists.

Favorite festival to travel to: NOS Primavera in Portugal, Mad Cool in Madrid or Glastonbury in the UK.

Benjamin Foster, B2B/Groups Manager, STA Travel New Zealand

Travel without music would feel like… stubbing your little toe every day, forever.

The windows are down, no one can hear, I’m on a road trip listening to… ‘Ironic’ Alanis Morissette.

The tunes that saved me in lockdown: Anything by Ludovico Einaudi.

Go-to venue for live music: Neck of The Woods in Auckland.

Favorite festival at home: Laneways in Auckland. Usually a good line up and close to home.

Favorite festival to travel to: Holi Moo Festival in Delhi. Amazing vibes, super colorful and everyone is so happy!

Dale Badenhorst, Junior Online Marketing Exec, STA Travel South Africa

Travel without music would feel like… The bathroom without your phone. Sure, there are other things to keep you entertained, but it’s just not the same.

Go-to venue for live music: For live band action, Nomad Bistro in Cape Town. Small little place in a side street where you just follow the sounds of the music to reach the ‘all you can eat’ BBQ ribs. Oh and yes, the music is good too.

The windows are down, no one can hear, I’m on a road trip listening to… River Becomes Ocean ‘Addicted’, ‘Burn it down’ Silverstein, ‘All I Want’ by A Day To Remember, ‘Filthy’ by WSTR, and ‘Medicate’ by Theory of Deadman.

The tunes that saved me in lockdown: Lo-Fi Hip Hop, Pop Punk playlists and smooth morning jazz. A mixture to keep you going.

Louisa McFadden, Store Manager, STA Travel Wellington New Zealand

The windows are down, no one can hear, I’m on a road trip listening to… Shania Twain ‘Man I feel like a woman’ or ‘Mr Brightside’ by the The Killers.

Travel without music would feel like… Friends with no theme tune.

Go-to venue for live music: I’m from Scotland, so LOVED going to the Edinburgh Fringe for all the different music genres or The Hydro in Glasgow.

Favorite festival to travel to: Tomorrowland, it is like no other experience I’ve ever had!

In 2021, I’ll be at… I’d LOVE to go to Coachella or Glastonbury.