Updated: Sep 12
What it is like to travel internationally during the Coronavirus pandemic?
To my fellow travel junkies, its been a hard year for us. We were literally forced to stay inside because of the Pandemic when all we want to do is go out and explore. Like how most things were closed and canceled, unfortunately flights, international borders, and popular tourist spots were not immune to these closures.
Traveling is still tricky, as folks try to figure out how to make it happen. This last week I came back from Egypt and I wanted to share helpful information about traveling during the pandemic.
If you are upset I chose to travel, I decided that I cannot put my life on hold as no one is promised tomorrow.
Research and Planning
Since there are now international border bans and restrictions in place, this is probably the most important part. If you have a destination in mind, start with a general Google search and see what you can find. I recommend going directly to the country’s website or https://travel.state.gov/content/travel.html. There you can find up to date information and recommendations for traveling. Some countries are requiring health screenings, negative COVID tests, health insurance and even possibly requiring quarantine. This website was also very helpful in being specific regarding the restrictions in each country: https://www.iatatravelcentre.com/world.php. If you are a U.S. citizen, you are able to come back to the U.S. without any tests.
I wouldn’t recommend traveling at this time if you are a novice traveler. Things can change quickly and you may be put under stress as you will undoubtedly need to adapt. For example, my original flight was canceled four days before my trip.
See if you can see if you can fly directly to your destination. It seems through my own experience and fellow travel junkies, issues arose when there are connecting flights as they may have their own restrictions.
There were a few places that were on our itinerary that were still closed when we arrived. For example, the library was closed, and we were not permitted to spend the night on the Felucca boat, we could only eat dinner. Which did not make a whole lot of sense since we were already on the boat.
Do you need a COVID Test?
Some countries do require a negative COVID test either before your departure or at the destination. If you are looking for a test before that usually needs to be dated within 48-72 hours, I recommend Pixel. You order the test online, it is delivered to your home, and you get the results back usually within 1 day. The hotels in Egypt did require a negative COVID test and asked for it at check-in.
What to Expect when Flying
Starting from the airport in America (IAD, Washington) all the way to Egypt, you see similar signs and notices throughout the airport. Take a look at some of the photos below! Overall, the airport itself seemed a bit empty, however our plane was fully packed!
This is what EgyptAir provided on the plane.
Masks were technically required throughout the flight. Social distancing reminders were put throughout the airport.
Most places that served food had no requirements for masks or limitations on number of people. At this restaurant below, they had a digital menu available like in America.
Throughout Egypt and at the tourist spots like the Pyramid of Giza, the temples and tombs, there were the typical reminders to distance, wear masks and wash hands. The signs had a cute theme to them. Unfortunately, most of the tourist sites were pretty much empty.
Where places used to host thousands of people from around the world, it was usually just our small tour group and a few other people. Overall, mainly the tourist spots in Egypt required masks to enter. Although, because most of the sites we visited were virtually empty from tourists, there was no enforcement to keep the masks on. They did check our temperature at some site entrances, hotels, the museum, and a few other tourist places.
Even the Egyptian McDonald's had seats blocked off, hand sanitizer on the tables and increased hygiene rules. A few hotels had this strange contraption that sprayed you when you walked in. I do not know what the liquid was... but from what they told me it was some sort of disinfectant.
Do You Need a Virus Test to Come Back?
On the flight back, another traveler with the tour group, was denied getting on her flight. She had a connecting flight and they did not allow her on the plane. We both got a Coronavirus test before we left. It was $180 and they came to the hotel. Since I flew directly to the US, there were no issues with any connecting flights.
As you can see, the Covid-19 precautions are similar throughout the world. Encouraging social distancing, checking temperatures, washing hands and of course, wearing masks! If you have that passion to travel like me, you will find ways to make this work!
Hopefully this helps you in someway. I was just happy to find open borders! I wish Egypt the best especially since a large percentage of their income comes from tourism. As more countries begin to open, we can slowly resume our travel lifestyle, and enjoy the beauty of the world.