Travelling During COVID-19
The world of travel has changed, and will continue to change, but one thing remains the same: planning in advance is the best way to make your travel experience as stress-free as possible.
This is where CAA can help! Our experienced travel consultants have identified ten key considerations to take into account if you’re considering travelling. Anyone who is considering travel in the current environment should remember that travel requirements and regulations are continually changing.
Ten key considerations.
Expect itinerary changes
CAA Manitoba travel agents say our members are experiencing schedule changes for flights. Subscribe to the airline’s text message service to be immediately notified of any changes, and book connecting flights with more time in between than you normally would if available. A travel agent is also a valuable resource if this happens.
Consider packing a carryon instead of checking luggage
Potential baggage delays mean that your luggage may not arrive with you or take extra time to be unloaded off the plane. If you bring a carryon, make sure it fits the size requirements for all the airlines you are flying on, and with any tour operators. When using a carryon to travel, you still need to follow the 3-1-1 rule: three ounces of liquid, gel, aerosol, cream or paste that fit in one quart-sized resealable bag. If you are checking luggage, make sure your carryon has your hygiene essentials, any medications, and a change of clothing.
Expect longer wait times at the airport
The old standby of being at the airport one hour before takeoff for domestic flights and two hours before international flights no longer apply. CAA currently recommends arriving at the airport a minimum of two hours before domestic flight departures and at least three hours for international flights.
Make sure all your documentation is in order before you book
Your passport should still be valid six months after your travel date, as this is required in several countries. Passports themselves are taking longer than usual to renew, so it should be done several months before you travel. Each destination has varying documentation requirements, so make sure you fully understand what information you need to have ready and in what format.
Buy travel insurance and understand what is covered
Understand your entitlements for situations like denied boarding in the event of a positive test, trip cancellation or delays, what luggage is covered and what isn’t.
Provincial health plans often don’t cover you outside of your home province or country, and health care plans offered through a workplace or credit card may not give you the coverage you need. Make sure you have $5 million in coverage for emergency medical situations and that illness related to COVID-19 is included. Understand your entitlements for things like denied border entry in the event of a positive test and coverage related to isolation expenses, if you were to test positive while travelling and need to quarantine.
Know the difference between Emergency Medical Insurance, Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Travel Insurance so you’re choosing the coverage that’s right for you. CAA Travel Insurance also has options that give you access to Virtual Emergency Medical Assistance1, so you can speak with a medical professional anytime, anywhere, 24/7. Plus, CAA Members save 10% on travel insurance.2
Car rentals need to be booked months in advance
High demand as well as a shortage of vehicles means a shortage of rental cars. Some rental agencies, particularly on the east and west coasts, are not allowing vehicles to be rented in one city and left in another. A travel agent can help you navigate this.
COVID-19 is still a major consideration
Confirm the COVID-19 situation at destination prior to booking. Understand the risk level associated with travel to a particular destination by checking the Government of Canada Travel Advice and Advisories website. Individual travel advisories remain on a country-by-country basis. It is important that Manitobans understand the ongoing uncertainty associated with international travel, whether that be related to the continued community transmission of COVID-19, or state of health care systems in destinations hit hard by the pandemic.
It is important to have access to trusted, up-to-date information while travelling so you can monitor changing conditions and requirements and adapt accordingly. Bookmark the Global Affairs Canada website prior to departure and check it regularly while abroad. It is also a good idea to sign up for Registration of Canadians Abroad and stay in touch with a family or friend that has knowledge of your travel plans.
Confirm change and cancellation flexibility with your travel service provider
Many airlines and hotels have been providing more flexibility when it comes to refunds and changes to bookings. Make sure you understand any key dates related to cancellation and changes and whether you are entitled to a refund or a future travel voucher or credit at the time of booking.
Be patient, be kind
Around the globe, airlines are dealing with staff shortages and luggage handling back-ups. Keep in mind that the staff at the airports are there to help you, and that things may take longer than usual.
COVID-19 travel advisory resource.
Resources for border crossing.
CanBorder – Border Wait Times App
This app allows you to plan ahead and save time by checking current border wait times. Internet access and data plan are required to use this app. Data roaming charges may apply.