How to plan travel during the COVID-19 pandemic

How to plan travel during the COVID-19 pandemic

Coming into 2020, we thought we’d be travelling the world. Now, months later and travel-deprived, we’re looking forward to future trips more than ever. But travel won’t look quite like it did before. From increased health and safety measures to an emphasis on domestic destinations, here’s the information you’ll need as you start to consider travelling post-quarantine.

Choosing a destination

Choosing transportation

Choosing accommodation

Preparing for your trip

While you’re travelling

Choosing a destination

When the world starts to open again, you’ll probably be excited to start ticking off all the places on your travel list. But you’ll likely also need to consider a lot of factors when it comes to choosing a destination.

 

Is travel even possible right now?

Our Travel Restriction map is continually updated with the latest information on current destination restrictions. You can see whether a country is closed, partially open, reopening soon or fully open to travellers, plus sign up for country-specific email alerts so you’ll know when your selected country opens.

 

Should I travel internationally?

If you’re open to flight hopping, use our Flexible Options filter when you search to find flights with flexible changes and flexible cancellation. If the price is most important to you, take a spin around KAYAK Explore. Just enter your budget and see all the destinations you can fly to within the range specified.

While our Travel Restrictions map will ultimately inform you whether travel is possible, always check the specific requirements involved in making the trip (such as an obligatory 14-day quarantine on arrival or COVID-19 testing prior to departure).

 

Should I travel domestically?

Many travellers are opting out of international travel and staying a bit closer to home with a staycation. If you do decide to skip the flight and stay on familiar territory, not to worry: domestic travel options have a lot to offer – you won’t feel limited. Consider discovering somewhere special in your own country – we have lots of recommendations for you to check out. Just remember to check the latest travel restrictions for your region to make sure you’re not travelling into or out of a restricted area.

Choosing transportation

Decided on a domestic destination? Now you just need to plan how to get there.

 

Flying

While only you can decide what type of travel you’re ready for, airlines are taking steps to make flying even safer for travellers. From socially-distanced seating to an altered food and beverage service, make sure to consult our Health and safety policies in travel guide before you book to see which airlines are doing what to help keep you safe. You’ll also find health & safety information right in your search results to give you peace of mind before booking.

Always check the specific requirements of the destination and airline you are flying with to make sure you are comfortable with the requirements – whether this means wearing a mask during the flight, having your temperature taken or undergoing COVID-19 testing prior to boarding.

 

Driving

Driving allows you to keep up social distancing while you commute. And if you don’t have your own car, don’t worry. Car hire agencies have also increased their sanitation efforts and many have taken steps to limit interactions during pickup and dropoff. If you do decide to drive, it’s more than just a transportation choice – it’s a road trip!

 

Road trip

If you need help deciding where to head off to (sunsets not required) we have a whole treasure trove of epic Road Trips waiting to be explored. Re-discover your own country – the well-known landmarks and secret gems, surprising and fun activities, culinary delights and accommodation for every type – all laid out neatly in day-to-day itineraries.

Choosing accommodation

When it comes to choosing accommodation, there are tonnes of options, all of which have benefits for different types of travellers. And, in a COVID-19 world, your individual concerns may be better suited for one versus another.

 

Hotels

If you want a full-service experience with all the amenities, stay in a hotel. Many large resorts and hotel chains have always had pretty stringent cleaning policies in place, but they’ve upped them even further in 2020. See our hotel page to find out what your favourite chain is doing now.

 

Rentals

If you’re travelling with the family or a group of friends, or you want your own space and prefer to skip as many interactions with staff and other guests as possible, an apartment of holiday rental may be your best bet. Like hotels, more and more apartment and holiday rentals are also opting out of face-to-face check-in – but that doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on the personalised experience.

 

Camping

Looking for something that feels safer than sleeping indoors? Give camping a go. Maybe you’re already an avid outdoor enthusiast, or maybe you consider “roughing it” to be like when you leave your hairdryer at home and have to use the hotel’s. Either way, 2021 could be the year to hit the forests. From setting up tents deep in nature to hooking up an RV to glamping, there are different camping experiences to suit different comfort levels.

Preparing for your trip

While pre-travel prep is always important, there are some things you might be thinking about a little more this year – from what to pack to making sure you have the proper insurance coverage.

 

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is generally a good idea. However, if you’re purchasing it due to concerns related to COVID-19, be sure to read the policy carefully as rules may differ by company. Make sure you’re purchasing insurance that allows you to cancel for any reason. Before you buy, also check whether coverage can also be supplied by your credit card provider. And keep in mind that many airlines and hotels are offering flexible cancellation and change policies, which may alleviate some of your concerns should you need to change your plans at the last minute.

 

Packing

Sure, you may take comfort in knowing that airlines, hotels and car hire companies are making cleanliness and sanitation a top priority, but sometimes you need to see it to believe it. Here are some new essentials for your rucksack:

  • Disinfectant wipes: Do a surface sweep for extra peace of mind – it may double up the effort, but it means you’ll spend more time enjoying your trip
  • Hand sanitiser: Bring enough to be used several times every day on your trip
  • Cotton masks: Just like swimwear, you can wash them in the sink and hang them up to dry so you’ll always have one to use, should it be required
  • Updated health insurance and emergency contact information: This was important before 2020 as well, but is likely now even more so
  • For more ideas and guidelines, head to the website of your national health authority

 

While you’re travelling

While travel during COVID-19 won’t be the same as it was before, you can still experience local food and attractions – just make sure to do your research in advance.

 

Dining out

A big part of travel is experiencing local flavours and trying new cuisines. And, if you’re anything like us, that involves finding just the right restaurants. Use OpenTable to find restaurants to match your comfort level – whether that be dining in, taking advantage of outdoor seating, or ordering takeout – and if you’re travelling somewhere outdoorsy, picnics are a great option.

 

Sightseeing

With many attractions currently closed, reopening at different speeds or with limited capacity, it’s important to do your research in advance and have back-ups in mind should your first-choice attractions be unavailable. If national parks are on your list, check for restrictions, which may change quickly. And, as is always a good idea when avoiding crowds or heading somewhere with limited access, try to visit on a weekday and get there early.

Use KAYAK Guides to build your itinerary and access it via KAYAK’s app. Easily add points of interest and make notes for yourself regarding hours of operation, restrictions and things to remember. You can also keep track of hotel confirmations, addresses and more with KAYAK Trips (which is still available offline through the app if you’re off the grid).

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