If you’ve traveled in 2020 or 2021, you probably figured out that you need to cover a lot of details in advance to ensure that your trip doesn’t have any unpleasant surprises. For example, the last thing you want is to arrive at the airport only to find out you needed a negative COVID test to board the plane. Or worse, you don’t want to arrive at your destination only to find out that you need to spend two weeks of quarantine in a facility picked by the local government!
Swift recommends that you check the following resources to determine your travel requirements. You must check these requirements several times, including right before your trip, as these requirements can change on a dime with no warning. Consider it part of the adventure of traveling during a global pandemic!
COVID-19 Country Specific Information
The State Department has a directory that lists COVID-19 Country Specific Information. Simply click on the country you are traveling to, and a wealth of information will be provided. This information includes the most recent entry and exit requirements, movement restrictions once you are in the country, quarantine information, and more.
IATA Travel Centre
IATA has a “know before you go page” that allows you to enter specific information about your trip, including your expected departure date, nationality, layover information, and more. Simply click on the option to check “Passport, Visa, and Health Information.” Based on your answers, the IATA website will tell you if you can travel to the country. It also lists travel restrictions, whether or not a visa is required, specific passport requirements, health considerations, and more.
Check With Your Airline
Once you have determined the travel requirements for the destination you are visiting, it’s always good to check with your airline to make sure they do not have any additional or different requirements enforced by the airline. It would be unusual if they did, however, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Things to Keep in Mind Regarding Layovers
Keep in mind that a layover in another country can affect your travel requirements. Sometimes it’s possible to book a flight from the US, and the ticket booking system does not take into consideration that you are currently not allowed to have a layover in a particular country. For example, if Europe does not allow American tourists to enter, you want to make sure you don’t have a layover in Europe. In some cases, you may need to take a COVID test in the transit country. Will your travel schedule allow time for this? It is the traveler’s responsibility to understand what is expected of them when they transit through a foreign country.
Travel Alerts and Advisories
The State Department has a page that lists all travel alerts and travel advisories. If you have frequented this web page in 2020 and 2021, you will see more travel alerts than ever before. The travel advisory will tell you if you need to exercise increased caution, reconsider travel, and if travel is not advised at all. You are not required to take the advice of the State Department. However, we hope that you do consider being patient if things don’t go smoothly traveling to a country that the State Department recommends not traveling to. If you are willing to take the risk to travel there, you also need to be OK with the risk of your travel not going as planned!
We hope these resources help you plan a safe trip! It’s wonderful watching the world open up to travel again. Let’s all do our part to do it safely so we can enjoy the free and easy travel that was available to us pre-pandemic!