One of the things travel agents have been excelling in during the COVID-19 pandemic is answering questions from travellers. We have the knowledge and we have access to cutting edge tools to find you the right answers.
Here are sixteen frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and travel answered by experts.
1) Is it dangerous to fly during COVID?
While there is always some risk, can you think of any place where people are all fully vaccinated and have tested negative in the past 72 hours? Certainly this is not the case for restaurants, sport stadiums or supermarkets.
According to this study infection rates on Covid-19-tested flights were 0.05 per cent, or five in 10,000 passengers.
And with people travelling from Canadian Airports needing to be vaccinated from October 30th, this risk will be cut down even more.
2) Can I travel without a vaccine?
Starting October 30, 2021, to depart from Canadian airports or travel on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains, travellers will need to qualify as a fully vaccinated traveller. This will also apply to travellers on cruise ships when the cruise season commences in 2022. You can find more detailed information here.
In addition most tour and cruise companies now mandate their guests to be fully vaccinated.
3) Which countries accept mixed vaccines?
Nearly 4 million Canadians followed government advice to take the first vaccine available, resulting in them having mixed vaccine doses. (I am one of them). The USA is the latest country allowing travellers with mixed vaccine doses (starting November 8th). Some European countries allow mixed vaccine doses as well. However, this whole discussion is largely moot. Even if you were considered unvaccinated, there are currently 105 countries that allow you in without having to quarantine. Click here to find out which countries.
4) Am I allowed to leave the country?
Yes you are. The Canadian Government advisory was revised on October 22nd and no longer advises against international travel.
5) Will my insurance be valid?
Most insurance companies consider COVID-19 a known event and will therefore not cover any claims due to the pandemic. You would need to buy an insurance policy specific to COVID-19. We offer such a policy and it is very well priced. For a two week trip, a healthy person aged 50 pays CA$63.60, while someone aged 60 pays CA$75.90 and someone aged 70 pays CA$155.25. You can find out more about it by clicking the link below.
6) Aren't there a lot of travel restrictions I have to deal with?
That depends on where you travel to but for much of the world travel restrictions are pretty straightforward. Have a look at the map below, In dark green you can find all the countries, mainly in Europe and Central America, where fully vaccinated Canadians can travel now without having to do even a COVID test or quarantine. In most cases all you need to do is fill in a form prior to arrival.
In light green are all the countries you can enter upon presentation of a COVID-19 test and a form. You can see this covers most of the rest of Europe as well as most of Africa and South America.
Requirements will vary from country to country and we can help you finding out exactly what is needed.
7) Can I travel without tests or registrations
See the map above. In dark green are outlined the 50 countries fully vaccinated Canadians can travel to without having to submit a test. Registration is required in most jurisdiction. If you book a trip with us we will let you know what is required.
8) Do I have to do a COVID test prior to my outbound flight?
See the map above. In dark green are 50 countries vaccinated Canadians can enter without having to submit a test while in light green are 91 countries fully vaccinated Canadians can enter upon submission of a COVID test.
9) Where can I get a PCR test in Canada?
A simple Google search "COVID test for travel near me" will yield results. Most medical labs and drug stores will offer the tests.
10) Do I have to quarantine in my destination?
Currently there are 141 countries (dark and light green on the map above) you can enter without having to quarantine. In 24 countries you have to quarantine on arrival (Chile and Argentina are among the countries that are dropping this requirement in November).
11) Do I have to do a PCR test prior to returning to Canada?
Yes. All travellers 5 years of age or older, regardless of citizenship or vaccination status, must provide proof of a COVID-19 negative molecular test result to enter Canada or proof of a previous positive test result taken between 14 and 180 days.
Rapid antigen tests will not be accepted. See this government site for accepted types of molecular tests.,
12) Where can I find a testing centre abroad?
Use a Google search for your specific location. Our tour leaders and tour companies will also help you find these. This Canadian Government's website and this UK Government's site have listings number of test sites
13) Do I have to quarantine when I return to Canada?
No - for fully vaccinated travellers that requirement was dropped months ago. However, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travellers who are eligible to enter Canada must continue to follow pre-arrival, arrival and Day-8 molecular COVID-19 testing requirements, and quarantine for 14 days.
14) When till the pandemic end?
The expectation is that COVID is here to stay but, like influenza, we will learn to live with it. “We’re thinking of this virus now as a sort of defanged version of the original one. It has gotten its teeth pulled out by the vaccine,” according to Lone Simonsen, an epidemiologist and professor of population health sciences at Roskilde University in Denmark.
15) Should I wait for COVID to disappear before I travel?
The expectation is that COVID is here to stay but, like influenza, we will learn to live with it. If you wish to wait until COVID disappears you may never travel again. But at the same time, this is your holiday and there is no point going on a holiday if you cannot relax.
16) Where is a safe place to travel?
There are many ways to approach the answer to this question. Do you look at the daily new case load in a country? Or do you look at the vaccination rate? Do you take into account how densely populated a country is or how good their healthcare system is?
If you take all of the above factors into account, Europe, Latin America, the polar regions and parts of Asia seem like good destinations. (Australia and New Zealand too once they open their borders).
Fact is, if you are vaccinated, your protection is as good as it gets. Also consider the type of travel you enjoy - a Caribbean cruise with 5000 of your closest friends or a small-group tour with 15 other vaccinated travellers? A hiking trip in thinly-populated areas, or a visit to a temple in India? A wildlife safari where you meet few other people, or shopping in a souq in Egypt?
Do you have a question about COVID and travel? Contact me.
E&OE. The information in this article was correct at the time of publication (22OCT2021) but should be double-checked against relevant government websites before booking a trip.