Do you still remember how to travel? It’s been almost 16 months since the world was told to avoid “non-essential” travel, and probably longer since you booked your last flight and accommodation, bought travel insurance, made a list of what to see and do at your destination, packed your bags, and took off. And travelling post-COVID will likely introduce a few new challenges. Are you ready?

Airport terminal - travelling post-COVID

Have your memories of travel become blurry?

Three weeks ago, I made my first booking since the pandemic began: three nights at an AirBnB in a town 100 kilometres from my home. A short and easy trip to be sure, but I still managed to screw up. Somehow, the currency on the AirBnB website was set to USD instead of CAD, and although I was paying with a Canadian credit card for Canadian accommodation, my card was charged in US$, resulting in a higher cost from the conversion rate and fees. Rookie mistake. Have I become rusty at organizing trips? This is a scary thought…

As we start travelling again, not only do we have to remember the old tricks, but also come up to speed with everything that has changed and will continue changing in a post-COVID world. This has been compared to how the world of travel changed after 9/11. If you’re over 40, you may remember a time when you could bring nail scissors and large bottles of liquid in your hand luggage!

I decided to create a travel refresher article, with a list of everything you need to do to organize a successful trip. I’m also including links to information about what might be different next time we get to an airport and into a foreign country.

The basics

1. Find your passport

Do you remember where you passport is? Go find it right now and check the expiry date. If it looks like it will expire less than 6 months after your return from your next trip, make plans to renew it. If possible, wait until you’re able to get a haircut before taking those passport photos!

2. Update your credit card info

If you use booking sites like AirBnB,, Uber and so on, check if the credit card information stored in the system is still current. If not, update it. While you’re there, make sure that the website is set to the right currency. Hopefully you still remember your passwords…

3. Get vaccinated!

As someone planning to gallivant around the world, it’s your civic duty to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19, to protect both yourself and all the people you’ll come in contact with. I feel very strongly about this. As a traveller, it’s likely you’ve had shots before (typhoid, hepatitis A, etc.) and this is no different.

Other important stuff

4. Check if your travel insurance company covers COVID-19

Once fully vaccinated, your risk of getting sick from COVID-19 is very low but not zero, and your risk of needing hospitalization because of this virus is even lower. However, who knows what variants may appear while we’re on the road. It’s reassuring to know that our travel medical insurance covers this as well.

I just looked up my usual insurer, TuGo, and found out that they offer COVID-19 insurance as a separate plan that can be purchased along with their normal Emergency Medical Plan.

When I’m ready to travel, I’ll check the situation both at home and at my destination (in terms of outbreaks, variants, quarantine rules, and so on) and then decide if the extra cost is worth it. If you haven’t been vaccinated, then you should definitely get the extra COVID-19 insurance.

5. Inspect your wardrobe

From talking to friends, it sounds like a lot of people have gained weight during the pandemic. Some have also lost weight (like your truly – and now everybody hates me for it). Given the difficulties of going shopping for most of this year, you may discover that you need new clothes, and in particular new travel clothes.

Fellow blogger Leyla makes a good case for why you need a special travel wardrobe and she has excellent suggestions.

6. Figure out your country’s current rules for re-entry

These keep changing so you need to keep checking. It’s likely that going forward, the rules will be different for fully vaccinated people vs others. You’ll probably save yourself a lot of hassles by being vaccinated (avoid quarantine, less testing, etc.)

Where to go / how to get there

7. Research the COVID situation and rules at your destination

Before you book a trip, and again just before you go, you should know what to expect at your destination.

Personally, I’ve decided that I would choose my next destination based on the level of vaccination and case counts. I don’t want to visit a country where people are still mostly unprotected and COVID not under control.

I also don’t want to add to the stress of travel by going to destinations where I need multiple tests and/or quarantine.

You can track how vaccination around the world is progressing here. This site is also very useful for comparing countries.

8. Research the airlines

There is likely more than one airline flying to your destination. While price, time, and number of connections are normally the deciding factors, now you’ll need to add COVID-19 measures. Different airlines have different plans to deal with the virus.

Do the airline’s hygiene, masking, and distancing rules make you comfortable? Some airlines may leave the middle seat empty while others don’t for example.

You may want to pack your own sanitizing nappies to give the tray table and personal touch screen a good wipe. Here’s is how to make your flight as hygienic as possible.

9. Research your accommodation

Of course you need to check the usual such as price, location, cancellation policy and so on, but now you may want to look at special measures your hotel or apartment rental has put into place regarding COVID-19.

For example, some AirBnB hosts allow the apartment to sit empty for a few days between guests, or have committed to a certain standard of deep cleaning.

10. Find out what extra documents you need and in what form

There are already apps out there that let you store you COVID-19 test results for verification at the airport. Soon this may also include your proof of vaccination.

Make sure you know what documents (both paper and electronic) and apps are required, both for the country you’re leaving and your destination.

For example, Canada currently uses ArriveCAN to store information needed for re-entry into the country.

That’s it: 10 steps on how to start travelling post-COVID!

Luggage in airport terminal - travelling post-COVID

Below are a few additional tips and resources.

Final tips for travelling post-COVID

  • Don’t forget to pack masks and plenty of hand sanitizer (including some in your cabin luggage).
  • Remember to pack light and don’t leave anything important in your checked luggage.
  • If going for a long trip, get your haircut, dental checkup, and so on before you leave. You may not feel comfortable with the measures your destination has in place for those appointments.

Travelling post-COVID resources

Where Canadians can travel (and what they have to go through to get there, and back) – tons of information for Canadians, regularly updated.

Fully vaccinated and yearning to travel? Here are the new rules of the road. Another summary for Canadians.

Vaccinated now what? Where can I travel?  Some advice for American travellers

Ethical travel after COVID vaccine – Opinion piece worth reading

Did I forget anything? Please let me know in the comments.

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