With a lot of countries opening their borders to international travelers, I am sure you are ready to book that long-awaited trip abroad. Before you press that book button, I think it is very important for you to consider certain things that have changed since the pandemic.
So in this blog post, I am going to share with you 10 things that I think you need to consider before you book that international trip.
Let’s face it. It has been a very long time since you have traveled abroad since after the pandemic. With my travel experience, there are some things that I have learned and I want to share them with you today.
So if you are ready to dust off that passport and hop on a plane to a faraway land, then this blog post is for you. I want to share with you 10 things that I have learned since I have traveled in a post-pandemic world and things that I think you need to consider before you book an international flight this year.
- Your Passport
Let’s face it, you need to dust your passport off. It has been a very long time especially if you have not traveled internationally since the pandemic. The first thing that I think you need to do is make sure that your passport is not expired or expiring soon.
Most international countries require you to have at least six months on your passport before the expiration date to travel. So if you have not opened this up in a while, be sure to check it out.
I know you probably think that this is a very given thing to check the expiration date, but I have had friends who were traveling and failed to realize that their passports expired. It does happen.
It is a real thing. So just make sure that you check your passport and make sure it’s not expired or expiring. If so, the first thing that you need to do is make sure you renew that passport.
The second thing that I think that you need to consider before you book that international flight is to make sure that the destination that you are choosing does not require a visa. I know if you’re a US passport holder, you are allowed to travel to 180 countries without a visa in the short term.
That means if you are traveling to a country for less than 90 days, then typically you do not need or require a visa to enter a country. You are very lucky in that sense but presently, things have changed.
For example, at the end of the year 2022, Europe is going to be requiring US citizens to apply for a visa. Currently, it is not something that you need to apply for but it will be coming in this year.
So it’s something just to keep in the back of your head depending on when you are going to travel. With that being said, and as things have changed, just make sure that the country that you are going to may not have required a visa in the past and still does not require a visa. This is something that I think you need to consider.
- Travel Restrictions
Make sure that you check to ensure that there are no travel restrictions and or advisories for the destination that you have chosen. There are a couple of things that you need to check before you book that trip.
If you’re in the US, you need to make sure that that country is open to US passport holders. There are currently some countries that are not accepting US passport holders. If you were planning to such a country, then you are going to have to choose a different country to travel to if they are open to US passport holders.
Secondly, you need to consider if that country has a quarantine period. Currently, there are a few countries that are open to US passport holders but they do require a quarantine period. If that is the case, that is something that you are going to have to consider.
A lot of times, it is certain hotels that you can quarantine in certain cities so that may cost you extra money. It also may deter you from actually deciding to choose that destination.
I know that some countries have quarantine periods that are differing in length, depending on whether or not you test negative after arrival and whether or not you’re vaccinated. That is another thing that we are going to get into in this blog post.
Another thing that you need to consider in a post-pandemic travel world is does that country require you to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival in the country? If so you need to also make sure that you are getting the right test whether it is a PCR or a rapid antigen test because some countries will not see a negative rapid antigen test as proof of a negative COVID-19 test. So make sure that you keep that in mind as well.
- COVID-19 Vaccine
I know this kind of falls into the travel restrictions and advisories and what you need, but I think this is a topic that needs to be all on its own because let’s face it, this is a reality of what is required for certain countries in a post-pandemic world.
As countries are opening up, they are trying to protect themselves as well as others. So there are going to be some countries that are going to require you to be fully vaccinated to enter the country.
I know this is controversial and people are very strongly against and for the vaccine. We’re not here to discuss any of that. You can make a decision for yourself based on the research that you do. If you are vaccinated or not vaccinated your vaccination status is going to play a pivotal role in the countries that you can travel to currently.
Some countries are going to require you to be fully vaccinated to travel, whether that is to only enter the country, or that is to enter the country and see all of the tourist sites, as well as sit down in a restaurant.
There are some countries where you are allowed into with a negative COVID-19 test but you are going to need a vaccine passport to get into restaurants and tourist sites.
So that is something that you will need to consider based on the country that you are going to travel to.
A lot of countries are requiring more documentation before departures, such as filling out passenger location, forms or digital passenger declaration forms. These terms are sometimes used interchangeably. A lot of countries have different names for them but they’re all essentially the same thing.
These forms are filled out online, and typically from there, you declare your health status, your vaccination status, your travel plans, etc. Those are some things that are going to be required.
The best part about this is most airlines have an app that is integrated into their website that once you book an international flight, they will give you a checklist of everything that you need to do for that specific destination. It helps you make sure that you are filling out all the necessary documentation that you need.
- Travel Insurance
I am someone that has never really purchased travel insurance up until recently. A lot of times, I just winged it and if something didn’t work out it didn’t work out but we are currently in a world where, unfortunately, travel plans are canceled based on different variants of the virus and stuff like that.
So it is something that I think you may want to start to consider if you are going to travel. Travel insurance can be beneficial because if you get sick, sometimes your health care insurance, for US citizens, may not cover you abroad. So if you get sick abroad and you have travel insurance that can cover you.
Also, travel insurance can cover any travel interruptions and/or cancellations throughout your trip. So this may come in handy especially if you have a flight canceled based on a virus variant or something that may be contributed to a post-pandemic world. It is just something that I think that you might want to consider before booking a trip.
- Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
Another new thing that I think that you need to consider when you are traveling is enrolling in the smart traveler enrollment program (also known as STEP). This is a free enrollment program for US passport holders where you can put in all of your travel information.
This information will go to the local embassy or consulate wherever you are traveling, from there the embassy can then contact you for any emergencies in the area, such as natural disasters and civil unrest.
If there is an emergency back home friends and family can get a hold of you through this whole program. So this is just something that you may want to consider on your next trip abroad.
- Make Copies of All Documentation
We are now traveling abroad with more documentation than we ever had before. Personally, no matter what I do always travel with actual paper documents, whether it’s just copies of my passport. I print out all of my itineraries because trust I’ve been in situations where I couldn’t load a document on my phone or open an email.
That could really put a damper on your trip but now we are traveling in a world where we need to show a lot of documentation. Can you imagine being abroad and you’re losing your vaccination card, especially if you are in a country that requires you to have a vaccination card?
So just give yourself peace of mind and make copies of the necessary documentation. It will help you in the long run if anything were to happen. Trust me, I do it. I’ve been doing it and it’s something that I highly suggest every one of you do.
- Entry Requirements
You need to consider, before traveling abroad, what the entry requirements are for you to come back home. This is going to play a key role in your traveling as well.
Currently, if you are a US passport holder and live in the US, the requirement for you to enter back into the United States is to show a negative COVID-19 test 24 hours before departure of the flight regardless of vaccination status. So whether you’re vaccinated or not, for you to come back into the US, you need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test to enter the country. That is something for you to consider.
Depending on the length of your trip, you need to make sure that you find a testing place where you can get a COVID-19 test. Make sure it’s the right test because you don’t want to be in a situation where you are stressing out.
If you are traveling abroad, I would highly recommend you look up where you can get tested and make sure that you can either walk-in or make an appointment ahead of time because that is something that you aren’t going to want to stress out about.
- Be Flexible
We are transitioning into a post-pandemic world which means things are very different. Gradually, people are getting back out there to travel and there are going to be a lot of twists.
For the last two years, travel has not been normal. We’ve been trying to adapt to this new world that is now considered normal. So many things are happening that may not have necessarily happened in a pre-pandemic world but what you have to realize is we’re all just trying to adapt.
We need to be flexible. We need to be understanding so that as we walk through these twists, there are going to be things that happen that are out of our control.
Honestly, the biggest thing that I can tell you about traveling now is just to be flexible and understanding. If you’re flexible and understanding and can go with the flow, it will make your trip a lot easier.
Just know that things are going to go wrong because we’re all living in a world where we’re trying to adjust and figure out what’s normal. Some things will go wrong and you need to be flexible and understanding.
Honestly, that’s the last thing that I can give as a piece of advice to you. Just be flexible.
I hope that these 10 things to consider before you travel internationally in 2022 were helpful to you.
If you have traveled in a post-pandemic world or since the pandemic started internationally, what are some things and advice that you would give fellow travelers? If you have something that you would advise them please leave them in the comments down below.