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 in order to have a worry-free vacation:
Know that some restrictions are still up
While it’s true that some requirements have been relaxed, particularly for vaccinated travelers, there are still some restrictions. The reality is that the pandemic is not over yet and with new variants coming up, expect to see entry, testing, and quarantine rules continue to be imposed. You’ll see this not only in Canada but in most countries all over the world. Restrictions and health protocols will vary depending on your destination.
Know your destination 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. Some countries may also require a proof of negative COVID-19 test, submission of a health questionnaire or contact tracing tool, and other additional documents. Please note that for vaccines, it is important to know the kinds/brands that are accepted, when you’ve had the vaccine (the date), and the type of vaccine proof that is required (e.g. ID, certificate of vaccination, etc.). For COVID-19 tests, know the exact type of test/s that are acceptable. For example, Canada now accepts rapid antigen tests for entry, while other countries may not.
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 quickly as well. The most important step to ensure worry-free travel is to stay updated about such changes. You wouldn’t want to be stuck somewhere you don’t need to be or spend more time and money than you expect. Know the latest travel and health advisories before, during and near your return trip.
Protect yourself from trip interruptions 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.
Get to the airport early for your flight. Toronto Pearson and Vancouver are experiencing massive lines and delays in processing due to the surge in the number of travellers. For domestic flights, it is recommended that you arrive at the airport 90 minutes before your flight and at least three hours before their scheduled departure for those travelling internationally.
Returning to Canada:
Travellers five years old and above whether fully vaccinated or not, are required to provide proof of a professionally administered or observed negative antigen test taken outside of Canada no more than one day before their scheduled flight or entry to Canada by land or water. Some travellers may also be chosen randomly to take a second test upon arrival but they do not have to wait for the results of the test.
Travellers must use the ArriveCan app to enter their proof of vaccination. It is also recommended that they bring their original proof of vaccination (paper or electronic copies). 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. You are responsible for your personal safety. So please take the necessary precautions to keep yourself and others safe. Have a happy trip!
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