The Getaway
Navigating the New Normal: A Comprehensive Guide to Late Pandemic Travel Safety

The pandemic hit the brakes on the travel and tourism industries, grinding them to a halt. Once we were all free of our homes, everyone started to travel far more than before the lockdowns. However, even now, the virus is still spreading, and there are certain precautions travelers should take. Not to mention the various global issues that continue to impact journey planning. In this new normal, the essence of travel remains unchanged—offering both escape and enlightenment. With a mindful approach, flexibility, and adherence to safety protocols, a journey into the unknown can be as enriching and fulfilling as ever.


01 Before you leave

Glass jar saves savings for vacation after Covid-19 Money saved in a bottle for when the pandemic passes

Your trip responsibilities actually start long before your plane lifts off of the tarmac. When planning your trip, remember that many destinations require certain vaccinations, as well as health documentation proving that you've received them. Additionally, there may be mandatory COVID-19 tests as you arrive. Beyond these issues, traveling on public transit like planes or trains can be difficult if you have mental health issues like anxiety. Keep in mind that travel prices are also higher—and many people are booking far in advance. Don't expect to take a sudden trip without paying a premium.


More people are traveling now than they were pre-pandemic, so be ready for crowds of people even during off-season trips.


02 Consider road trips

Travel - family with camping car on the road

If you have concerns about the safety of traveling on public transit—either due to the potential for illness or other issues—consider a road trip instead. Not only does this dramatically cut down the risk of infection, but it also can be far less stressful. Avoiding crowds is beneficial for anyone's mental health. You still need to do some prep work, though. If you're using GPS to get to your destination, make sure to download the maps through your app ahead of time. That way, you won't end up lost even if you lose your signal.

Additionally, consider factors that will impact your travel time and give yourself plenty of time to get there, enjoy your vacation, and return home. That can include the type of vehicle you'll be driving, whether you're traveling alone or with others, and even what the traffic is like between stops. Finally, plan your overnight stops ahead of time and choose locations that are safe and reliable.


03 Safety tips for parents

Middle-eastern man putting medical mask on his adorable curly daughter face, home interior.

Traveling with children is a whole different game than traveling alone or with other adults. You have to keep their safety and entertainment in mind, as well as prepare for many more issues. Make sure young children understand the importance of masking and why they shouldn't remove their masks. Create a separation plan so that if the worst does occur, everyone knows what to do. If your children have devices like phones or tablets, install location-tracking apps so that you will always know where they are. Alternatively, attach devices like AirTags directly to your child's clothing. Teach children how to identify safe adults, such as airline employees. Prepare significantly more entertainment options than you think you'll need, including games, movies, and books.


04 Travel insurance

concept booking travel insurance on wooden background

Insurance has become one of the most important parts of traveling in the new normal. Most travelers are opting for "cancel for any reason" insurance plans that provide them a refund should anything unexpected occur and they need to cancel their journeys. If we've learned anything from the travel changes of the last few years, it's to expect the unexpected. Look for insurance plans that cover COVID-19, so you'll have options for both medical coverage and evacuation should they be necessary.


05 At the airport

vaccinated person using digital health passport app in mobile phone for travel during covid-19 pandemic. green certificate

Vaccine passports are must-haves if you want to enter other countries more easily. However, carrying around the actual paper documents can range from annoying to risky since you can easily lose them. Provide guidelines for using public transportation safely and leveraging digital health passports. Many airlines are partnering with different developers that allow you to use digital health passports instead. You simply make an account, link your health documents, and you're ready to travel. Many even have expedited security programs that will allow you to skip many of the health checks.


06 On the plane

New order in airplane. Woman is sitting in mask before fly

When it comes to potential exposure to COVID-19 while traveling, the plane itself is probably the biggest concern. If you've received the vaccine and the latest boosters, you've already taken the biggest step in protecting yourself. Wear a mask at all times during the flight to help limit spread. Additionally, packing with fewer bags means fewer people touching your items, limiting the risk of exposure. Wash your hands whenever possible and stay hydrated.


07 At your destination

Friends drinking cocktail and eating snack tapas in a restaurant bar outside in summer days with face mask on to be protected from coronavirus - Happy people cheering with spritz and having fun

Once you arrive at your destination, you'll need to keep a few things in mind before you get to enjoy your vacation. When dining out, try to find places that offer outdoor seating. Not only will you be able to take in the sights a bit better, but you're also far less exposed to COVID-19. Try to visit must-see areas during off-hours to avoid crowds. Additionally, remember that illness isn't your only concern. To avoid scams or theft, use options like virtual cards, Google Pay, or Apple Pay.


08 Entry requirements

Faceless woman giving her passport at customs

Each country will have different entry requirements you need to expect. Complying with these requirements is the fastest way to get to enjoying your trip. For example, as of 2024, Europe is using a new Entry/Exit System that collects biometric information on travelers. This could slow you down, so give yourself plenty of time between flights. Areas like Brazil will start requiring a visa to enter the country this year, so don't wait until the last minute to make arrangements. Visiting your country of choice's official government travel site is your best bet for finding the information you'll need.


09 Upon arriving home

muslim woman traveler opened the door entrance with her bag and suitcase go home after traveling

All good things come to an end, even a dream vacation. While coming home from an incredible trip can be a bit disappointing, you also get to enjoy sleeping in your own bed surrounded by everything you love. When you arrive home, you should follow a few post-travel protocols. Give yourself a few days before returning to work, if you can. Keep an eye out for any symptoms of COVID-19 or other illnesses. Perform a COVID-19 test, as well, for absolute verification. Even if you're not sick, those few days will help you adjust to the post-trip energy.


10 International travel considerations

Travel the world monument concept

Unfortunately, traveling to other countries isn't as simple as hopping on a plane and enjoying a new land. Many countries are experiencing various issues, ranging from minor supply problems to full-blown military conflicts. Keep this in mind when choosing a destination. Even if the country of your choice is safe, it may have neighbors with issues that could spill into your choice. Also, be prepared for dramatic pricing differences—especially on food.


11 Community health and ethical considerations

Young surfer kids with surf boards wear protective mask on sea beach.

At the risk of being a downer, we all have certain considerations to make before traveling. When we travel, we are not only exposing ourselves to illness—but also those at our destination. In big cities, this may not be a major issue. However, in smaller communities, it could have a dramatic effect. Even without the threat of infection, tourism can be a massive boon to an area or a huge detriment. Try to make good, moral choices when picking your destination.


12 Staying informed with reliable sources

Ethnic young woman watching online

Information is power, especially when traveling. We have many resources that enable informed vacation choices and provide regular updates on any advisories and health guidelines we need to follow. For United States citizens, the official Bureau of Consular Affairs organizes and updates any information you need to travel safely. The Centers for Disease Control also has a site with plenty of health information for travelers.


13 Updates and changes in travel policies

Travel planning, vacation, holiday trip concept, asian young tourist woman hand take note, check list using laptop searching information booking ticket or hotel online, preparation for journey trip.

Remember that the world is constantly changing. From inclement weather to global crises, travel policies are bound to shift a million times before the day of your trip arrives. Do your best to stay on top of these changes and prepare to be flexible. Nothing has to ruin your journey if you're ready to go with the flow. Protecting yourself with insurance and plenty of spare days will ensure your vacation is exactly how you dreamed it would be.


14 Living in the new normal

Concept of crossing from what used to be normal to New Normal after COVID-19 cornoavirus restrictions are lifted.

While traveling in the new normal has all kinds of new rules, it is still incredibly safe. We know far more about how to stay safe from COVID-19 than we did a few years ago. Vaccines and boosters have dramatically lowered the risk of infection and the severity of the infection should you become exposed. If you stay updated, practice certain precautions, and remain flexible, you have little to worry about.


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