What you need to travel during COVID 19 Pandemic

Does the idea of an overseas holiday sound like paradise? I know it does for me and I am excitedly looking forward to travelling to South Africa later in the year, a trip that got cancelled as a result of the COVID pandemic. The good news is with a lot of countries opening up, we can resume travel be it for business, leisure, education or to visit friends and relatives.

However the pandemic has changed and will continue to change how we travel significantly. From what we pack, to the entry requirements by different countries, more is now needed of travellers as they make travel plans. In addition to your passport and visa, here is vital information you need to travel:

Negative COVID Test Results

Almost all countries and airlines require that you have a negative RT PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) results from a test taken a couple of hours before departing from home. For instance the US requires all air passengers arriving to the US from a foreign country to get tested no more than 3 days before their flight departs, while the UK requires you to take a PCR test 48 hours before arrival. Some nationalities may need to quarantine and take a PCR test on arrival which may necessitate booking an extra night in the city as they wait for their results.

Pre Arrival Registration Form

In addition, many countries require that you fill in an online pre-arrival registration form, some call it a health declaration form, before you arrive at the airport. The form requires that you fill in your flight details, accommodation, and contact details while you are in the country. For some countries, you will receive a code that you will submit to airport officials while others may require that you print out the form. Whichever the case, ensure that you fill in the form before you take the flight/bus/train to your destination.

COVID 19 Vaccination

Have you received your COVID vaccine? Do you plan on getting vaccinated? There has been a lot of talk about a vaccine passport which is basically proof that a traveller has been fully vaccinated against COVID 19. In several countries if you have been fully vaccinated, you may not require to take a PCR test on arrival. If you plan on travelling outside your country, then getting vaccinated is certainly a good idea.


In the past, most travel packing lists used to comprise toiletries and several changes of clothes and shoes. Now it’s necessary to include a box of masks (or a face shield), a travel size sanitizer, several pairs of gloves, vitamin C and zinc supplements in your list. COVID 19 has taught us that there’s no such thing as being too careful. You may need to spray down the seat in the plane or the table at the restaurant, so perhaps just one small bottle of sanitizer may not be enough!

Travel Updates

As you make travel plans and count down the days before going on your trip, it is important to regularly check on any COVID 19 news about your destination. The pandemic situation in all countries is constantly changing. Lockdowns that prevent movement within a country are common and are likely to hinder your travel plans in the destination. Even if you’re using a travel agent, do your own research and be informed on what is happening lest you run into headwinds when you finally travel.

Author profile
Sarah Mwangi

Sarah Mwangi is a Marketing Co-ordinator in the leading Destination Management Company in East Africa and is passionate about travel across the African continent.

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