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Confused about Covid travel restrictions? Read this, contact us

So you are fully vaccinated and you have been dying to travel. And you know plenty of countries in Europe and Latin America would welcome you with open arms. But all those restrictions, they turn you off, they stress you out and they confuse you. And you are not alone.

Where do you start? An email or call to Adventure Coordinators is where. We have helped plenty of travellers find their way through the maze of travel restrictions.

Take Margaret who called me the other day wanting to go to Iceland. She needed help figuring out the myriad travel restrictions. We went to work for her, methodically, precisely and found out how it can be done. And thanks to our sleuthing, Margaret will be on her way at the end of July.

This is a case study on COVID travel restrictions, what to look out for and common pitfalls.

"I am fully vaccinated"

So you had two vaccines and you feel you are ready to take on the world. But can you? First off you need to be fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to travel. Secondly, not every vaccine is accepted for worldwide travel. Be sure your vaccine is approved for travel in your destination.

Check your destination

We have a powerful suite of software that allows us to build possible travel routes and alerts us of any travel restriction a traveller may encounter en-route. The first thing to check is the destination. Through our software we found a like to a wonderful Icelandic tool allowing you to quickly check if you are allowed to enter. We answered a couple of questions and found out Margaret was good to go. Better yet, as of July 1st, she was allowed to enter Iceland without any requirements for testing or quarantine. But, she had to bring proof of vaccination and pre-register. Our software provided links to the relevant forms and information.

Getting to Iceland

With Iceland Air not flying from Canada to Iceland in July (they are starting up again in August), Margaret had to fly via a third country. This meant extra restrictions that could complicate her journey. The two logical routings were via the USA and via the UK.

Since via the USA is much quicker, we checked it first. An outbound connection was allowed provided Margaret carried a negative COVID-19 test result. The viral test must be taken a maximum of 3 days before connecting through the United States.

So far so good.

Coming back from Iceland

Where we hit a snag is a little known presidential decree which dates back to the Trump era and was renewed when Biden took office. The decree states that if you have a travel history in any of the 26 Schengen Area countries (which includes Iceland), along with a handful of other countries (including Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, South Africa and the United Kingdom) during the 14 days prior to your arrival, you are not allowed to transit through the United States. Transiting through the USA was out.

Another route

So we researched our fallback route, via London. Here we hit pay dirt. Flying Canada to London and connecting to Iceland is permitted both ways according to the UK Government. Margaret would have to take a COVID-19 test and complete the passenger locator form before travel in either direction. That meant one test to be taken in Canada and one in Iceland. The latter is organized by the tour operator.

Returning to Canada - no quarantine!

When flying to Canada, mandatory travel, arrival and personal information is uploaded into the ArriveCan app. With the quarantine on arrival lifted for fully vaccinated Canadians and permanent residents, Margaret no longer had to quarantine when she returned home. However, she would have to present the result of a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival. The test taken in Iceland would take care of that requirement.