By Sabrina Loh
From hand sanitisers at every entrance to contact tracing apps, Covid-19 has forever transformed the world of travel. As we’ve passed the two-year anniversary of when Covid-19 made its debut, we’ve all adapted and learned how to manage the risks better.
Now that vaccinations, booster shots, better masks, and easier access to tests are more widely available in 2022, international borders have slowly begun to reopen to travellers and returned to some semblance of a normal life.
But how does one travel in the new normal?
We’ve put together a guide to help you travel safely, smartly and responsibly.
1. Do your research
The rapidly changing rules and regulations for entry into countries are enough to make any traveller’s head spin. Being a global pandemic, Covid-19 is everywhere — including the destination you’re travelling to.
Research the requirements for entry (and exit!) into the country/airlines and safety protocols you have to follow, such as proof of vaccination, negative PCR tests 24 hours before travel, and quarantine rules (if needed).
2. Get tested — regularly!
Most countries and airlines will require you to test negative before your flight. However, you should also consider self-testing around your trip to reduce the chances of unknowingly bringing the virus to your destination. Don’t rule out the possibility that you might be an asymptomatic carrier.
3. Get travel insurance
Regardless of your vaccination status, getting Covid will always be a possibility in the new normal. Getting travel insurance that covers Covid-related problems ensures that you have a financial safeguard in place if the worst comes true. This type of insurance would cover your lodging if quarantine is required or if you need medical attention.
In fact, some countries like New Zealand and Qatar, have made travel insurance coverage for Covid mandatory for all visitors.
4. Arrive early at the airport
Now that borders have reopened, many people are eager to travel. Combined with a slew of strict entry requirements that must be verified by airlines, bottlenecks will be inevitable. Expect long lines and busier airports, so make sure you arrive at least 3 hours early.
5. Research ticketing policies for flights
The unpredictability of the pandemic means that you’ll never know when you might catch Covid and have to postpone your flight. Fortunately, many airlines have introduced new ticketing policies with flexibility in mind.
You might have to pay a higher price for your fare in case you need to make changes or cancel it entirely, but it will be worth it.
6. Opt for cashless transactions
A survey by Visa has found that 44% of travellers throughout Asia Pacific are now more likely to use cashless payments when travelling. There’s no surprise there, as handling cash presents a higher risk of infection.
Cashless payments, like our BigPay card, also make it easier when travelling internationally as it uses real-time exchange rates and is accepted by 45 million merchants worldwide!
Speaking of that, download it here. It’s free to get and free to keep.
7. Enjoy yourself! You deserve it.
It’s been a challenging two years for all of us with the stress and uncertainty of the pandemic. Give yourself permission to enjoy your well-deserved vacation while taking the right precautions, and being a responsible traveller.