Did the COVID-19 pandemic hamper your international travel plans? Do you have to postpone a dream vacation or family visit abroad, to put away days until you can travel again? Restrictions on visitors and tourists have been eased in many parts of the world and people are planning trips to make up for lost time.
International travel has undergone tremendous changes in the last two years, and some important challenges remain; it is important to research your destination and plan accordingly. While it’s impossible to prepare for every situation, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you plan your summer trips.
Check the restrictions and regulations at your destination.
Each country has its own COVID-19 entry requirements and its own protocols for masking, testing and quarantine. Check the State Department’s travel website for the latest information about your destination.
There may be additional inoculations recommended for travel, such as hepatitis and yellow fever. Check the CDC website or ask your doctor what you need to stay safe and healthy at your destination.
Note the return of the COVID test is necessary.
To return to the United States at the end of your trip, you must present a negative COVID test or recovery documentation. If you are positive at the end of your trip, you will need to stay in your host country for at least a few more days, so be sure to prepare for how you will handle that situation.
Let others know your travel plans.
If you have a chronic or pre-existing mental or physical health condition, it is a good idea to discuss a plan for your care abroad with your doctor before you leave. Also, consider appointing someone as a point of contact in the event of a medical emergency. Keep their contact information on you and check them regularly.
Keep in mind that your insurance here in the United States may not cover all of your medical expenses, so consider purchasing a medical travel insurance policy. Some policies may even cover the costs you incur if you are quarantined. You can consider other insurance, such as trip cancellation insurance if you can’t travel at the last minute.
Packing pills? Know before you go.
Keep your medicine in your luggage if you lose your luggage. If possible, pack enough medicine for your entire trip, and bring extra if the trip is delayed. Talk to your doctor about the possibility of refilling your medications while abroad.
Remember, some drugs are illegal abroad. Each country has its own regulations about what can and cannot be carried; just because a drug is legal in the United States does not mean it is legal abroad. If you are unsure about the legality of your medication, the embassy in your destination country can provide guidance.
Even if it is not possible to anticipate every situation, it is better to be well prepared than to be caught unawares. Ask your doctor for suggestions and recommendations to keep yourself safe and healthy.
JASON HOPE is the Director of Global Risk & Strategic Operations for the UK International Center.