Five Trips for Traveling During the Pandemic

By Solomon Herring
Even as many nations are coming closer and closer to the eventual goal of herd immunity, Covid-19 is still upending the hyper globalized world that we as travelers took for granted before the pandemic. The days where international travel was as simple as buying a plain ticket, having a passport, and maybe purchasing a visa, have come to an abrupt halt, as those who wish to travel are now hindered by ever changing entry restrictions, as well as testing and vaccine requirements. For many, this has made travel, especially internationally, an extremely stress inducing task. Furthermore, the travel restrictions for many of the world’s countries are rather vague, and enforced in an extremely arbitrary manner, especially in the developing world. For example, before I embarked on my trip to Tanzania, I was informed by multiple sources, including the
website of the Tanzanian embassy, that I would need to provide a negative PCR test
upon arrival. This requirement was enforced while I was boarding my two flights, in both
Boston and Amsterdam. However, once I finally made it to Tanzania, I did not need to
show my negative PCR test at all, and I was simply given a rapid antigen test on arrival.
Even though traveling internationally is more difficult now than ever, it is still very
much possible, if you are willing to go through a few more barriers and adjust to the new
normal. Despite the fact that travel nowadays is not as simple as it used to be, there are
five crucial tips that can make it much more simple than you would expect.

1. Get Vaccinated

Unfortunately, whether or not someone is able to get a Covid-19 Vaccine is often
dependent on their country of residency. For example, in my home country, the United
States, more than fifty percent of the population over the age of 12 has been fully
vaccinated. Unlike other places in the world, where the vaccine is in high demand,
multiple parties within the United States are now incentivizing citizens to receive their
Covid shot, through raffle and lottery systems, and even free beer or
weed.Unfortunately, this is not the case for a lot of the world, as many countries have
struggled to make the vaccine readily available to the general public. However, if you
want to travel internationally, you should make getting a vaccine one of your utmost
priorities. Being fully vaccinated opens up a whole new world of travel opportunities,
especially for US citizens who wish to travel to the EU. Furthermore,it reduces the risk
that you will test positive shortly before your trip, and have to cancel your travel plans.
Most importantly, however, it helps make sure that you will not bring the virus into
another country, and infect their citizens. Ensuring that as many people as possible get

the covid-19 vaccine is essential if we want to beat this pandemic and if the global
community remains vigilant, we may be able to reach a level of complete normality by
the beginning of 2022.

2. Stay Positive

Traveling during the pandemic is an extremely anxiety provoking endeavor,
however, if you don’t want to end up succumbing to a debilitating panic attack, you have
to think optimistically. There were many times where I felt like I was on the verge of
collapsing, due to extreme stress, but I was able to overcome my own negative
emotions by maintaining a positive mind set.

3. Respect all Covid Rules and Regulations

This piece of advice goes hand and hand with respecting the culture of the
country you are visiting. It is important to note that the world is made up of many
different countries, who have all had vastly different responses to the Covid-19
pandemic. While I was awaiting screening at Kilimanjaro International Airport, I saw
countless people try arguing that they didn’t need to wear a mask or social distance
because they were fully vaccinated. It is true that many countries, such as the United
States, have updated their guidelines regarding mask wearing and social distancing,
and now recommend that individuals who are fully vaccinated and do not need to wear
masks in several different settings. However, when you are in another country, it is
important to follow their rules and customs, even if you think they do not make sense.

4. Avoid Third Party Travel Agencies and Book Your Flight Directly with an Airline

This is a mistake I ended up making and I personally feel like I have a moral
obligation to tell others not to do what I had done. Originally, I had booked my flight to
Tanzania through Expedia, thinking it would be the most convenient option, as I had
experience using it previously without encountering any issues. However,this time
around, my experience was the exact opposite, as managing my flight proved to be an
absolute nightmare. First off, I had booked a flight that was quite expensive, and
contained multiple layovers. Unfortunately, this was not the end of my problems, as my
airline kept cancelling one of my several flights, forcing me to reschedule. Due to the
fact that I had booked my flight through a third party, I was unable to simply find a new
flight option online, and I was forced to call Expedia and speak on the phone with a

travel agent. This always entailed a wait time of eight hours or more, and I often
wouldn’t get a call back, if I left the line. Furthermore, everytime I rescheduled my
itinerary, a cancellation would happen within the next few days and I would be forced to
go through the same process again. It got to the point where I gave up on Expedia and
decided to cancel my flight booking all together. I then booked my flight directly through
Delta Airlines, and had a much easier time managing my itinerary, as I could make flight
changes online.

5. Insure Your Flight

When spending so much money on a flight, spending an extra $100 to prepare
for the worst may seem overkill. However, we are in a world where everything is
uncertain, and you never know if another outbreak of Covid and subsequent updates to
a country’s travel restrictions will force you to cancel your travel plans. It is for this
reason that insuring your flight is so crucial, so you are able to get your ticket refunded,
and not lose your hard earned money on a plane ticket that you never used. For me
personally, purchasing flight insurance allowed me to cancel my booking through
Expedia, and use the money I had gotten back to buy a new ticket, which ended up
being cheaper.
It is no secret that the world of travel has drastically changed throughout the past
year. The disruption of the global economy and the vast array of lockdowns and travel
restrictions have rendered the countries of the world isolated and disconnected from
each other. Needless to say, travelers haven’t faced this much difficulty going abroad
since World War 2, where the only means of travel was fighting in a brutal and
dangerous conflict. However, if you are willing to deal with a few setbacks you will find
that traveling during the pandemic will provide you with a fulfilling travel experience,
unlike any other. Going through countless tedious processes and overcoming significant
obstacles make traveling now significantly more rewarding than in normal times. It is for
this reason that I recommend that anyone who is willing to follow simple protocols,use
common sense, and maintain a commitment to looking after the health of themselves
and others, to take a leap of faith and travel abroad.