Travelling during COVID times: What you need to know

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Update: There are additional changes to entry, testing and quarantine requirements due to the Omicron variant. Please go to COVID-19: Travel, testing, quarantine and borders to know these changes.

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Ready to take that trip you postponed because of COVID? That’s great! The Canadian government has finally lifted its advisory against non-essential travel and more countries are now opening their borders to tourists. But before you buy your ticket or make reservations, here are few things you need to consider and prepare for to have a worry-free vacation:

Know that some restrictions are still up

While it’s true that some requirements have been relaxed, like quarantine requirements and the 8-day testing for Canada (for vaccinated travelers), we still face some restrictions. The reality is that the pandemic is not over yet. This is true not only within Canada but also in most countries all over the world. Restrictions and protocols vary depending on your destination.

Before leaving:

  1. Know the country’s restrictions before booking a trip

    Check Official Global Travel Advisories or the UNWTO/IATA Destination Tracker tool for up-to-date information on health indicators, current air travel regulations, destination-specific restrictions, and health regulations for more than 200 countries. If you’re travelling locally, check: Travelling between provinces/territories on Canada.ca.

    Generally, international travelers (aside from the usual passport and/or visa) will be required to show proof of vaccination, and observe safety protocols like mask-wearing and social distancing whether traveling by land, air or sea. Countries may also require a proof of negative COVID-19 test, submission of a health questionnaire or contact tracing tool, and other documents. Please note that for vaccines, it is important to know the kinds/brands that are accepted, when you’ve had the vaccine, and the type of vaccine proof they require (e.g. ID, certificate of vaccination, etc.). For COVID-19 tests, know the exact type of test/s that are acceptable. For example, the US accepts rapid antigen tests for entry, while Canada does not.

  2. Know that restrictions and requirements can change rapidly

    Developments related to the pandemic can change quickly. This is why health guidelines and protocols can change rapidly as well. The most important step to ensuring worry-free travel is to stay updated about these changes. Know the latest travel and health advisories before, during and near your return trip.

  3. Protect yourself from trip interruption and hospital bills

    Trips are susceptible to cancellations. Shield yourself from the impact and costs by asking about return or reimbursement policies beforehand.

    Another thing that can shield you from sudden changes is insurance. Consider getting coverage for trip interruption or lost luggage if you’re travelling by air. If you are covered by your employer’s group health insurance, check if the coverage extends outside of Manitoba. Otherwise, get travel health insurance before you leave. Learn more about travel health insurance and what it should cover from this page: Travel Insurance, Government of Canada.

Returning to Canada:

  1. COVID-19 Test

    Travellers five years old and above whether fully vaccinated or not, are required to provide proof of negative pre-entry molecular test before returning to Canada. This test must be taken within 72 hours of your flight. A list of accepted molecular and other pre-entry tests may be found here: Pre-entry testing and other requirements to follow for your trip. Some travellers may also be chosen to take a second test upon arrival. The cost of the second test is covered by the federal government however, the pre-arrival test will be shouldered by the traveller. The cost will depend on the country they’re departing from and can range from $90 to $300.

  2. ArriveCan app

    Travellers must use the ArriveCan app to enter their proof of vaccination. It is also recommended that they bring their original proof of vaccination. Travellers can download and install the ArriveCan app 72 hours before their trip. To know the complete details about requirements for entry to Canada, go to: COVID-19: Travel, testing, quarantine and borders.

Remember that the decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety.
So please take the necessary precautions to keep yourself and others safe. Have a safe and happy trip!
 
Article written November 17, 2021. Please refer to COVID-19: Travel, testing, quarantine and borders for the latest travel guidelines.
 
Article updated on December 1, 2021.
 
Sources: Where Canadians can travel, Capture the Atlas; COVID-19: Travel, testing, quarantine and borders, Canada.ca. Accessed November 16, 2021.

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