Travelling during a pandemic: The Must-Haves and Must-Knows

“Nak, sama ka? Bora sa March?”

A colleague invited me to join another colleague for a week-long vacation out of town. We are still experiencing the COVID19 pandemic; a year has past and we are still battling against it all while hoping, waiting, and praying for a vaccine that will end it all.

The very thought of going out of the house is something to fear about as even the shortest interaction with somebody in a short time anywhere could infect you with the coronavirus. However, a year of lockdown, staying at home and restricted movement are something not all of us can bear.

Some of us need to go out to continue working, to go grocery shopping to stock up on the necessities and, some of us — for the sake of caring for our mental health — need a breather away from the stress the community lockdowns has caused and the thought of of contracting the virus.

No, we did not get to fly to Boracay. The plan changed and we were headed to Palawan — to the island of Coron to be exact.

Now, before you get excited that going on a holiday is already possible and as easy and normal amidst a pandemic, think again. We did push through with the vacation to Coron but trust me, there is the reluctance at the back of my mind of what could go wrong. The what-ifs are there.

While lockdown restrictions have eased up and airline companies have opened up flights locally and internationally, one must be cautious about heath protocols set in place in every city or place one intends to visit. Also, be sure to provide and complete the pre-flight documents that are required so you could avoid the hassle on your departure day.

  • Check COVID-19 health guidelines for the place you want to visit. Local government rules and guidelines may vary. It is better to check the website or Facebook pages of the local governments of the places you want to visit for health requirements and forms to fill out to document your intent visit.
  • Make an appointment for an RT-PCR test. Secure a schedule for a swab test. This should be a priority document that you must produce prior to your flight. Depending on the requirements of the city you intend to go to, a NEGATIVE swab test result taken 12, 24 or 72 hours before your departure date must be ready. Please do not present a fake document of a swab test just so you can fly and go on a holiday. Be honest that you underwent the test and be honest with the results.
  • Prepare .pdf versions or jpg version of your flight ticket, confirmed hotel accommodation and tour itinerary. It’s good to have print-outs as backup copies, however, make sure to have digital copies as well that you can upload just in case the documents are required to be submitted online.
  • Be a careful and responsible traveler. Always practice COVID-19 heath protocols: keep distance at least a meter apart, wear your face mask and face shield wherever required, load up on vitamins to keep your immune system strong. 

It is very understandable that people are growing anxious, tired and bored from staying at home and are longing for a holiday vacation by the beach or wherever they can get a breather from this pandemic that imprisons us and restricts our movement outdoors, but please see to it that you are being very careful and are practicing strict health protocols to avoid contracting the coronavirus and bring it home to your family. Contracting the virus is already a problem, infecting others is another.

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