All you need to know about Intercontinental Travel during COVID-19
Is it safe to travel? Can I fly to another continent? Are touristic places crowded? These are the questions we are answering for you today.
During the month of August, I was lucky enough to escape my daily life for a while and travel all the way from Dubai (UAE) to Madrid (Spain) to spend some time with my family. During my time in Spain, I also flew Madrid-Menorca to relax by the beach in the Balearic Islands, take some time off and enjoy the Spanish summer.
In this blog post, I will be sharing my experience of catching an intercontinental flight and doing tourism during COVID-19. I have also included everything I have learned from this experience to equip you with as many tips and recommendations as I can so you are prepared for a safe and smooth trip during such a difficult time to travel.
Question 1: Is it safe to travel by plane?
As long as you take all the precautions that you can, you should be able to have a perfectly safe trip. However, I must say that; this highly depends on the airline you’re travelling with.
We flew with Emirates Airlines during our trip Dubai-Madrid and we had no issues whatsoever – During our inbound trip, the airline left an empty seat in-between passengers; and on our outbound trip, the staff made sure to space out passengers as much as possible. They ended up giving us an entire row of seats to ourselves. So, with this level of comfort, the flight itself felt really safe. In addition, the cabin crew wore protective wear at all times and passengers were asked to keep their masks on during the entire duration of the flight (except when eating).
However, when I flew Madrid-Menorca, the experience was completely different. We had to fly with a low-cost airline, which meant the flight was full and I had to sit right next to a stranger with no division in-between. But, apart from my germ-phobia and anxiety kicking in – I was able to make it to the island safely – All you need to do is wear your mask at all times, maintain a security distance with strangers as much as possible and disinfect your hands often.
I do also recommend wearing a high protective mask rather than your common reusable or disposable mask. I travelled with NK95 masks for better protection. Some passengers were also wearing face panels which can also help with improving your protection.
For an additional level of security, I made sure to wash all my clothes and sanitize my items once I reached my home at the destination.
Question 2: Where can I travel to and what documents do I need?
Regulations in all countries are constantly changing. Before making any plans, make sure to check the exit and return regulations of your home country, as well as the regulations of the country you want to visit.
This website contains worldwide travel information that can help you understand where you can travel to: https://www.iatatravelcentre.com/world.php
Nevertheless, if you are planning on booking any travel, do make sure to check with the respective airline and embassies to double check that you are allowed to travel. In addition, make sure to read the terms and conditions of your plane tickets before you buy in order to understand what would happen if your flight was to be cancelled due to COVID-19 regulations changing.
On my way back to Dubai I had to present a negative PCR test at the airport in Madrid; that had to be taken in the last 92 hours, in order to obtain my flight ticket – Without it I wouldn’t have been allowed on the flight.
Even if you don’t require taking a PCR test to travel, I advise that you inform yourself on how you could get tested at your destination if you needed to – because regulations could change while you are away.
Question 3: Are touristic places crowded?
Before I answer this question, there is something you need to wrap your head around first – Even if you can travel, you won’t be able to do so like you are used to. By default, this won’t be a normal holiday.
OK, now that we’ve gotten this out of the way, the answer is…. It depends. It highly depends on where you’re going and when. I encourage you to do some research and ask around before you go anywhere.
We made the mistake of heading on a hike to visit some beautiful beaches – and when we reached the beach – it was PACKED. We were not able to enjoy the scenery properly because we were too worried of getting too close to people who were not wearing masks etcetera, etcetera.
My recommendation is: Choose a location that will allow you to socially distance. It is not the time to be traveling to the Eiffel Tower or the Trevi Fountain. Even though you would likely be fine if you visit these sites at a low-peak time, it is best to take on a different type of holiday for now. Some alternatives are:
• Beach holiday in quiet islands or areas
• Mountain scapes
Even though it is a difficult time to travel, I do encourage you to think about where you can scape to. Holidays and time off are essential for improving our productivity on our daily lives when we return and are proven to be beneficial for our mental health.
In addition, your monetary contribution while on holiday can be extremely beneficial for the travel industry. It is a very tough time for those who live off tourism so I do encourage you to travel and support local businesses while taking some time off to enjoy yourself.
Question 4: What if I catch COVID-19 while abroad?
Hopefully you won’t – But if you are traveling you need to be prepared. Make sure you research the destination you’re going to, to ensure that you could get treated if something happened.
I highly recommend that you get a travel insurance that covers COVID costs too, as these could get pretty pricey while abroad if you have to receive medical attention. During my research, I came across Mondo, who have some packages that covers COVID.
Thank you for reading! I hope this information was useful. Any additional questions you may have please feel free to drop a comment at the bottom and I will do my best to answer!
If you’re unsure where to travel to, don’t forget to check out our destination guides.
Don’t forget to check out the video from my trip to Menorca this summer.