I’ve seen a lot of articles float by recently about when we can travel again. With vaccines becoming more readily available, we’re all starting to get itchy hoping to finally take our sweet travel revenge on Covid. Updated vaccination timelines show that all eligible Canadians will be immunized with their first shot by June. It’ll even be my turn soon. With no significant underlying medical conditions, and not being that old yet, I must have been at the end of the vaccination queue all along. Fine with me, as I couldn’t go anywhere anyways and have been safely at home for 14+ months and counting.
Every travel related question I’ve seen come by range somewhere between the when, where and what of post-pandemic travel. There’s no shortage of opinions from writers sharing their hopes and dreams: When can we travel again, where can we go and what will it all look like? And last but not least, how can we start making some plans?
But wait a minute. Most of what’s currently being shared in regards to post-pandemic travel is highly speculative. Excitement aside, hold your horses for a bit longer. Post-pandemic travel means we should be “post” pandemic. We’re not quite there yet, and lots of restrictions remain in place. So what needs to happen first?
Here are my 4 required steps before travelling internationally again.
1. Destination requirements dropped
Before going anywhere, I’d like the destination to remove their inbound testing and quarantine requirements. While with testing and quarantine some travel has been possible for a while, depending on where you’re coming from, the idea of testing before and sometimes during a vacation doesn’t appeal to me. I don’t need to go anywhere that bad.
Wearing masks, sanitizing your hands often and social distancing will be the norm in travel for some time. The question then becomes what we can do (instead of not do) once the restrictions are removed. The pandemic has pretty much killed mass travel, and I don’t think that’s necessarily such a bad thing. But it will take some time for each destination to figure itself out again and your experience may be different from before. Again, not necessarily a bad thing.
2. Getting fully vaccinated
Arguably, until step one is complete there’s not a huge point in getting vaccinated yet. I’ve always said I’d take my vaccin on the way to the airport, but even after my first shot Canadian borders appear to still be closed to non-essential travel. There’s even talk of provincial borders being limited so I might have to revisit my extended motorcycle road trip this summer.
Meanwhile, it doesn’t hurt to get prepared for when that situation does change. Over the years I’ve taken many vaccinations to be able to travel to all sorts of destinations around the world. Provided we can travel again soon, adding another shot to the mix is fine with me. With most vaccinations currently coming in two doses, a few weeks or months apart, getting the first jab sooner means the second one will come sooner, too. So maybe I’ll take the second one on the way to the airport after all.
Some form of a vaccine passport for international travel is still a hot discussion among countries. I think this is a great idea – because we will travel again and once we do this process needs to be sorted out instead of still in testing stage. Through technology, there are ways this can be done without invading privacy too much. As a “trusted traveller”, I’ve given up some level of privacy already, in exchange for which I get expedited security clearance at most airports. I’d be happy if my vaccination status (for Covid and potentially others) could be added to my “profile” to allow me to return to travel without the testing and quarantine requirements.
3. Departure border to re-open
Step 3 is to have all outbound travel restrictions removed. Simply put: you have to be able to leave your country. While some destinations have already started to welcome travellers back, I still can’t go anywhere as the Canadian border remains mostly closed for non-essential travel. Some foreign hotels have even tried to encourage me to come back by offering free on-site covid testing at the destination for my return home. Thanks, but no thanks. Until the Canadian (and US) border re-opens, there isn’t really anywhere I can go.
4. No more quarantine
Travellers returning to Canada currently need to be quarantined in a government appointed hotel for several days. If you pick a decent hotel from the list of options, I don’t think this needs to be as bad as some people may make it sound. If you pick the cheapest option it may be less enjoyable. While I may be known for travel hacking, I’m not at all about cheap travel.
Regardless of the hotel experience you pick, quarantine is still an additional expense in both time and money. Travellers have to pay for the quarantine hotel themselves, and may need to take additional time off work. While there’s ways to bypass this quarantine requirement, I’m not interested to have to go through the procedure to begin with. Until the quarantine period is removed on for travellers returning to Canada, I’m opting to stay within the country.
While I’m beyond ready for some Bahamas beaches, Maui sunsets or Mexico tequila sunrises, you don’t always need to go far. Time away always re-energizes me, even if it’s somewhere nearby. The point is to take a break, and put yourself in a different environment, even if it’s for just a few hours.
We will travel again
As I’ve shared in my travel book, each of these steps is about maximizing the experience value from the trip itself. Before I’m travelling anywhere outside of the country, I need all of these four steps to be complete, for me. It doesn’t really matter in which order, as long as they’re all done. Without these, what’s the point in going anywhere?
Even while we still can’t travel all that far right now, we will travel again. Traveling more 6-12 months from now starts today. Do you want to have more and better travel experiences next time you go somewhere? Learn my legit, proven travel hacking system to book free airfare, get hotel room upgrades and much more. Don’t let anyone tell you that travel hacking is only for frequent flyers or big spenders. What matters is having a system and following it consistently. Start with a copy of my travel book, or a complimentary preview of my complete travel hacking online course. Let’s make some plans!