1 Continent, 2 Transit Countries, 2 Destinations, 6 Covid Tests
In late May 2021, I accompanied a client on an investment trip to Sierra Leone and Tanzania. In this covid travel environment, I learned very quickly how to navigate the various covid requirements and protocols for 3 countries, including the European countries we had to transit through. Fortunately for us we did not miss a beat. We made it to each destination safely and on time.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that international travelers get vaccinated. The CDC is also a good resource for travel information. I am vaccinated and that gave me some comfort. I am also healthy with no underlying health issues. In preparation for my trip, I made sure to stay connected to the routines, that keep me healthy. I walked and exercised. I kept my immune system boosted, by eating lots of veggies and drinking plenty of water. They say you should eat the rainbow and I did, I took my vitamins and even added zinc and extra vitamin c to the mix. I knew we had a rigorous schedule and wanted to be sure that I was in tip top. shape.
Travel Insurance is important
Don’t be cheap when it comes to travel insurance. While you don’t anticipate that something bad will happen, travel insurance is there in the event that it does. What will you do, if you cant travel or heaven bed if you contract covid while traveling. Your insurance costs will depend upon you coverage, your age and where you reside. As an agency we sell a variety of travel insurance however Travel Guard and Alliantz are the most popular.
Pack your flexibility (and your masks)
In this covid travel environment, preparation, flexibility and patience is key. If you are working with a travel agent, he or she will guide you thought most of this. It is however still important to be an informed traveler who has a clear understanding of what is required. Attention to detail is important. International travel can be an ever changing landscape. So it is critical that you take time to read, re-read, confirm and re-confirm information as part of the planning process. It will save you time, heartache and maybe even money in the end. Also be sure to pack plenty of masks as they are required in all airports and on all flights.
Before you go
First head over to www.travel.state.gov You can find all kinds of helpful international travel information here, including covid updates. If you are a US traveler, you can also enroll in the US government’s Step Program. STEP is an acronym is an acronym for Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. If you elect to enroll in step, you will be asked to register your trip. Once enrolled, you will be updated with pertinent information from the US Embassy including safety and covid updates.
Entering a foreign country
After visiting travel.state.gov, you can typically find additional information you need regarding covid entry requirements by going to that country’s US embassy page or their country page.
For entry for US citizens, most countries require either a negative covid test or your vaccination card. For the covid test, that means you will have to take your PCR test no more than 72 hours before you arrive at your international destination. There are various entities that offer free covid pcr testing including Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy. These tests can be booked online about 2 days before the date of your desired appointment. With them you typically will have your results back in 24-36 hours, so need to worry that you wont have them back in time. There are places where you can pay for a test but why do that when you can get the test you need for free.
Once your covid test comes back negative, don’t forget to print out this document as most countries will want to see a hard copy of the actual negative test result. You will present the printed copy of your negative covid test, (if it comes back positive that’s another story and blog post) along with your passport and visa (if applicable)
In addition to the negative covid test from the US, some countries may require that you retest with a rapid test upon entry. Most countries have an online payment system which can be tricky depending on the country, so be sure to take care of this before you leave the US. Printing a copy of the receipt is important as you may need to prove that you have prepaid the fee. These in country tests can range from $30-$150. You may also have to complete an online health certificate that can also be used for contact tracing. Completing this before leaving the US is a lot better than standing in the airport where wifi might be slow or even non-existent. Trust me, doing as much as you can in advance of the trip will save you time and headacheAnd if you are in transit, it is also important to find out if there are any requirements for transiting through that country.
Rentry to the US
For your return trip back to the US, the same rules apply. Be sure to make your covid PCR appointment at least 72 hours before your arrival back to the US. Last but not least don’t forget to print out your results.
And while at times, all of the international travel covid compliance felt a bit much, overall I wouldn’t change anything a thing. The trip was incredible. 1 continent, 2 countries, 6 covid tests – all during covid – I did it and so can you.
Need help traveling internationally during covid, contact us.