Traveling Post-COVID — the List of Top 10 Essentials

You know how we travelers have our packing lists? Clothing, toiletries, travel documents, and other essentials. It’s time to make a new category: Post-COVID. The vaccine’s inoculation rate is rising faster than expected, and we may be cleared for takeoff sooner than expected. And to keep the world safe, proof of COVID testing and inoculations before and after a trip is critical to keep the world healthy.

Pre-boarding, @AnnTran_ surveys the empty Club World section of a British Airbus A350. Flight crew can be seen in the background preparing for the long-haul journey.

I created a new post-COVID essential travel checklist. It’s not the usual mask, hand sanitizer type of list. Let me know what you think. Anything to add? It’s a different world out there and creating a new normal will take all of our input.

Where to Lay Your Head to Sleep?

With a hot pink hat on her head and a tropical drink in her right hand, @AnnTran_ enjoys the view of a cloud-wrapped volcano from her perch in a turquoise infinity pool surrounded by lush tropical vegetation.

How about staying at a hotel chains like Marriott, Hyatt, or Hilton? They are offering on-site COVID-19 tests in response to the CDC’s latest rules for international travelers. Due diligence is important to make sure promises are keeping up with demand. Perhaps, schedule ahead to secure your spot? Businesses aren’t the only ones responding in unison. Entire destinations have united to make sure all hotels and timeshares will have antigen tests and administrators to comply to the ever-changing requirements. Check out how the Los Cabos Tourism Board has responded here. As always, do your research before booking.

Specific Designations for Hotel Safety

The Forbes Travel Guide and Sharecare VERIFIED® Safety Hotels verified lodging accommodations have demonstrated adherence to exacting health security standards. It’s one of the first designations on the market and a true trailblazer. Specifics on the Forbes Travel Guide and Sharecare VERIFIED® Safety Hotels can be found here.

Which Countries Are Open, Which Are Closed?

And you thought Algebra II word problems were challenging! Like most of the COVID intel, this changes by the minute. Basically, do you reside in a red country? The CDC defines a red country as Level 4: COVID-19 Very High, such as the United States. If so, plan on staying put for now. Do you want to travel to a red country? If so, plan on staying put for now. There are exceptions, of course, but plan on jumping through lots (and lots) of hoops. Here’s the CDC website. Grab a cup of whatever and have at it. Truthfully, I think the website is very well done and easy to navigate.

Who Needs Proof of Vaccinations or Testing Positive for Antibodies?

Straight from the CDC, the short answer is, Yes, all air passengers traveling to the US, regardless of vaccination status, are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery.

What If I Test False Positive? 

Whether true or false, most likely you’ll be required to isolate. False positives are a case-by-case situation. Again, please visit the CDC website. True or false positives will extend your stay, which brings us to the next item.

Add a COVID-19 Line Item to Your Travel Budget 

Anyone who has remodeled their home will give this advice: Expect to pay lots more and for the job to take a lot longer than estimated. That’s a good analogy for traveling with COVID not yet eradicated. For example, the Waldorf Astoria in Mexico’s Los Cabos tourist mecca offers rapid antigen tests (same day results) for $30. You’ll find similar services around the globe, some for a much heftier price tag.

Tip: If your travel is business related, such as a press trip or project work, make sure to include this expense on your taxes, reimbursement report, or other applicable documents. You know how things can add up.

An aerial view of a Lufthansa passenger jet flying above the clouds.

Save the receipt!

We’re not just talking expense receipts. As I mentioned earlier, but I can’t stress enough, save proof of your COVID vaccination. World health leaders, travel industry officials, and those who just like to hear themselves talk, among others, are predicting in what form the proof of COVID-free will take. Passport? Index card? Digital health passport? Microchip?

Won’t an At-Home COVID Test Do the Trick?

The FDA gave a nod to self-administered COVID tests last year. That doesn’t mean the results have to be accepted anywhere. Airlines and a few states are working with pharmacy companies on the feasibility of such programs. Sounds like a longshot to me.

It’s Part of Travel

The missed puddle-jumper connection, a broken-down bus in the Sahara, and chills and hot sweats from the local cuisine. They’re all part of why we love traveling. The adventure and the unknown, bring em on! Maybe that’s the way to look at COVID. This too shall pass. We do our best, dust ourselves off, and put one foot in front of the other.

With a curtain of dark hair meeting the bow her red summer dress, and, @AnnTran_ skips barefoot on a carpet of grass with flowering shrubbery lining both sides toward a weather-worn wooden bench.

Consider This Category for a List

Please keep your Bucket List alive. It could be the motivation you need to get through yet another day staring at the four walls from the comfort of your couch. What destinations have you added? What experiences do you want to try? I hope my list will inspire you. Read it here.

Though I consider myself an eternal optimist, I don’t have my head in the sand. Vaccine verification is a touchy subject. It’s a big world and we all will have to agree on something. Until then, let’s keep making our lists and checking them more than twice. Stay safe!

@AnnTran_ boards a Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet parked in a sunny hangar with a large American flag hanging vertically on the back wall.
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