So we’re still in a pandemic, but you’re itching to get away. This article is for some experiences & tips for travel during the pandemic.
We’ve been out visiting some new and familiar countries to scope out the situation for you. The summary is, GO. There is no better time to travel. Crowds are minimal and service is top notch right now. Countries are feeling the pain of tourism having taken a dip in the last 2 years, so they are ready to welcome you back with open arms! With a little prep and a plan in place, you can easily visit many countries at this point and feel safe while doing it.
We have observed across the board that many countries & airlines will ask you a standard set of questions (have you been diagnosed, do you have any symptoms, been around anyone diagnosed recently etc.). All airlines that I have been on are strict with requiring a mask the entire journey even if you fall asleep. This exception is lifted for eating & drinking, especially important on long haul flights.
So where have Trips by Nic been in 2020 and 2021? While we were in Cartagena, Colombia just as the pandemic arrived in March 2020, since then we’ve been to Kenya, Costa Rica and France. We’ve been able to see how covid tests, vaccination checks and local processes are going. Here’s a taste of what you can expect while traveling abroad. There seem to be new countries that are opening their borders almost every day to Americans and other citizens. Even in the States now we are finally starting to let some non-citizens abroad come into the country if vaccinated without requiring a 2-week quarantine.
Please note! While we are giving a brief update here, things are changing DAILY so what is stated here may no longer be relevant at the time of reading. As a complimentary service during the pandemic, Trips by Nic will cover research and prep for all travelers in each country they are traveling to. We’ll also coordinate local testing for COVID if required and help with insurance requirements or requests. This will be covered throughout the end of 2022.
Kenya: October 2020
We had to obtain a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival. Upon deboarding the plane, they immediately checked that everyone had uploaded their information to the local Kenya website. You had to obtain a QR code that if you had a screenshot of, sped this process up quite a bit. You then had to wear a mask at all times, walking around, touring a museum, in a cafe, and of course in any transportation so planes and cars certainly require a mask. Our safari camp was a little more relaxed since there were minimal people there and everything, even dining was outdoors/in open tents. All in all, we felt extremely safe throughout all our travels in Kenya which included; Masai Mara, Nairobi and Diani Beach on the coast. The locals have dealt with more pandemics than us and were serious about precautions to help keep rates low.
The world is your oyster!
Costa Rica: January 2021
We went the first weekend that the US started to require negative covid tests in order to re-enter the country. Costa Rica, on the other hand, did not have any requirements for Americans when we went. As I was only there for 72 hours, we were able to take a covid test the morning of our flight in the US, drop it in the mail to a lab, get the results within 48 hours, then use that to get back into the US, since it was all within 3 days. This meant we did not have to test in Costa Rica, but the hotel was offering to help guests coordinate this. Masks were required everywhere.
France: August 2021
The border control team checks that every person is either vaccinated or has a negative test. I was vaccinated at the time, though the person checking my passport did not even ask for it. While over there, France implemented a country wide law where every bar and restaurant would only let you in if you were vaccinated. Luckily, they were accepting our American vaccination cards, since the French app still was not accepting our data. All EU citizens have to upload their vaccination status to this app, where the venues can then scan a QR code saying whether or not they can get in. After 10 days in France it was time to get our tests so we could board our flight back to the US. We popped into a pharmacy (one on nearly every corner). We got tested, had our results and printed out official paperwork all within 10 minutes. It was SO easy! Maybe the easiest part of the whole pandemic. Saint-Tropez was especially strict with police monitoring the streets to ensure everyone had masks on. Some popular cafes and restaurants experienced longer lines to get in since they had to check for vaccinations first. At the time, Nikki Beach had a testing crew on site if you were not vaccinated yet.