Traveling may be a thrilling and eye-opening adventure. It’s easy to become immersed in the excitement of a new journey. However, don’t forget about travel security and safety. 

These six tips will help ensure that everyone in your traveling party stays healthy and that no one brings any unwanted holiday gifts home.

Stay up to date

Regardless of whether it’s an overnight or a month-long trip, it’s important to inform close friends and family about where you are going. Before you leave, provide a printout of your itinerary to trusted people who can keep track of your location. Make frequent contact with your contacts to ensure they are aware of your whereabouts. 

You must also download appropriate apps for your trip to keep track of the latest COVID information while you travel. You may enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) and keep up with country developments on the State Department’s website.

Know the policies of your destination

When visiting a foreign country or anywhere else, it’s crucial to know where to begin and who to contact in the event of an emergency. Always make sure to get the contact numbers for the nearest consulate, police station, and other relevant emergency agencies.

It’s highly recommended to also read reviews and speak with locals for information on the safest places to stay and crime rates. It is also very important to know the travel requirements set in your destination. This will involve COVID-19 testing policies, testing services, and possibly testing options for tourists.

Find telemedicine resources

In order to lessen the exposure to COVID-19 and keep yourself healthy while traveling, you may limit your interaction with healthcare facilities, other patients, and healthcare workers. Find telemedicine services whenever or wherever you need them. This way, you will also be able to get help in the event of an emergency without having to leave your hotel. To know more about telemedicine, call your healthcare provider to see if they provide telemedicine appointments where you are going and what application you’ll need to keep in touch.

Carry COVID-19 rapid PCR test kits

A Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) is a type of viral diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2. The most common NAAT tests are the RT-PCR test and the Rapid Antigen test. However, some destinations may not have accessible testing locations for COVID-19 nasal swabs. For this, you may want to consider bringing home testing kits for your trip.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some countries may have limitations or restrictions in place regarding the types of tests that are not approved or registered there. So it is always best to check if the rapid testing kit or antibody test you are bringing to your destination is allowed and accepted. The CDC also released the guidelines for self-testing and a list of CDC-approved rapid COVID-19 test kits.

Secure a vaccine card or vaccine passport

To be vaccinated and to be able to travel nowadays is both an honor and a responsibility. With this, part of being a responsible traveler is making sure that you have secured your vaccination card or passport for smooth and safe travels. This is also part of the travel requirements in most countries. Along with a vaccine card, some countries still require proof of a negative COVID-19 test result, usually 72 hours before departure, so make sure to check and be prepared.

Check if testing is required for layovers or connecting flights

Airports are known for being germ incubators and the risk for active COVID-19 infections increases during a pandemic. As more individuals get vaccinated, more people will be able to travel. Therefore, there will be more people present in airports, increasing the risk for contamination. The question is — do you need to get tested for a layover or connecting flight? 

This depends on your airline’s travel restrictions. However, most of the time, a COVID-19 test for travel is not required for connecting flights. To be on the safe side, it is always best to check on your airline for policies and requirements about this.

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