Last month, I had the incredible experience of traveling to Namibia (and during a pandemic). It wasn’t an easy decision, but it far exceeded my expectations, and I felt safe and comfortable along the way. And I would do it again in a heart beat! For some tips and tricks on traveling during Covid, please see below.
Testing– before you travel, you will most likely have to take some sort of Covid test. Your best bet is to look for a location that focuses on testing for travel. The downside is that these are generally not covered by your insurance and can be expensive. However, their turnaround time is much quicker in a lot of cases, so it is worth the extra money for peace of mind, in my opinion. Since I am located in Chicago, I am lucky to have a variety of options. I chose to get mine done at O’hare airport because the turnaround time was less than 72 hours and the testing facility was totally focused on traveling clients. One thing to note – you should check with the country you are traveling to to verify you are getting the test at an approved facility. Some countries have these restrictions in place.
Documents – In this digital age, we are so used to having everything on our phones or tablets, but given the testing and entry requirements of many countries (including the US), you will need to complete multiple forms in addition to your test, so make sure you have a few copies of each printed to take with you. You never know when someone will ask to see them (or take them for their records) so good to have extras on hand.
Airports while traveling – The US airports were generally busier than I expected, but I was able to maintain a safe distance at all times. I would also say that access to the airport lounges (where available and opened- they are closed in some airports) is a great perk during time as it allows you to socially distance and relax before your flight. I think most of us are doing it anyway, but bringing your own hand sanitizer really is a must. There were very few sanitizing stations in any of the airports I flew through. Oh and be mindful tat only about 20-30% of stores and restaurants are open during this time.
Flying – I felt 100% comfortable on the plane. The new boarding and disembarking processes are quite efficient and allow for minimal contact with other passengers. The crew also hands out some pretty strong anti-bacterial/anti-viral wipes at the beginning of the flight or as you board, so you can wipe down your area. (this is after it has already been thoroughly cleaned.) Also, there have been multiple studies showing how the chances of catching covid during flight is extremely low. Some important notes – You should expect expedited service in all cabins for the time being, so no champagne on arrival for business or first, sadly!)
In country – Obviously each destination is different, but if you have the urge to travel now, I would pick a place where social distancing is the norm. I chose Namibia. It is one of the largest countries in Africa but only has a population of 2.5 million, so it is easy to disappear into the vast countryside. In fact, Africa is a perfect destination to have amazing experiences in a safe environment. The remoteness of so many of these wilderness camps are the perfect setting for a holiday during covid, as you are limited with your interactions with other people and most activities, including meals, take place outdoors. Also, all accommodations we partner with adhere to strict sanitation and cleanliness guidelines.
Flexibility – If you choose to travel now, or at least in the few months, it is key that you can roll with the punches, as the testing or entry rules in each country can change at the last minute, flights may be cancelled or rerouted, etc. This is not to dissuade you from travel. I got “stuck” in Namibia for an extra two nights due to Covid testing rules in the US changing. It was a bit frustrating at first, but I was more than happy to give up a Chicago snow storm for a few more African sunsets. So as long as you can go with the flow, you will have an incredible experience.
I would love to tell you more about my trip, so please give me a call at 312-951-8517 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.