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 abroad. But please remember that in the current travel environment, regulations and restrictions continue to change, so connecting with a CAA Travel Consultant can often be the best way to ensure that you’ll be prepared.
Ten Key Considerations
1. Confirm the COVID-19 situation at destination prior to booking.
Understand the risk associated with travel to a particular destination by checking the website Government of Canada Travel Advice and Advisories. Canadians need to 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.
2. Understand the type, timing, cost and accessibility of required COVID testing.
Every country has different requirements when it comes to the COVID tests that are needed prior to travel, and every country has different testing capacities once you are there. There are also requirements in order to return to Canada. Learn more about the testing requirements and exemptions by checking the Government of Canada website. Make sure you understand the difference between molecular PCR and rapid antigen tests, in what time period tests must be taken, the associated costs and locations where these tests are available.
3. Confirm change and cancellation flexibility with your travel service provider.
Many airlines and hotels are providing more flexibility when it comes to refunds and changes to bookings. Make sure you understand any key dates and whether you are entitled to a refund or a future travel voucher or credit at the time of booking.
4. Buy travel insurance and understand what is covered.
In the new world of travel, travel insurance is a necessity, not a luxury. 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
5. Prepare required travel documentation and the format it must be presented in, for both Canada and your destination.
Canadians returning home should have all required documentation loaded onto the ArriveCAN App or website. Each destination has varying requirements. Make sure you fully understand what information you need to have ready and in what format.
Before you leave home, is your passport up to date? Many countries require that a passport still be valid for 6 months before expiry in order to grant entry, so if you passport is set to expire in the next 6 months, it’s time to renew. Check the entry and exit requirements for each country on the Government of Canada Travel and Tourism website. Keep in mind that the pandemic has cause delays for many government services, including passport applications and renewals, so additional time is often required to receive your documents. Start this process as early as you can!
6. Take note of local public health rules prior to departure.
Many destinations have measures in place such as curfews and quarantine requirements. You should also understand what the regulations are if you happen to test positive for COVID-19 in the country you are visiting.
7. Be aware of changes between booking and departure.
Make sure you reconfirm all the details that were researched prior to booking, to ensure they are still accurate prior to departure. What was true when a trip was booked may not be the case by the time you are ready to travel.
8. Double check all research with the appropriate embassy or consulate.
Travel at this time is complex and many factors can change quickly, so ensuring you have the most up to date and accurate information is essential.
9. Plan for extra time.
From disembarkment and customs to retrieving luggage and exiting the airport, most things on the travel journey are taking longer than during pre-COVID travel times. Also note the check-in and baggage drop off deadline for your flight as it may require you to arrive earlier than anticipated.
10. Stay connected.
Fully unplugging while travelling is likely a thing of the past. 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.
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.