The tourism industry is getting back in business after the pandemic. To make sure your next trip goes smoothly, we decided to run down some of the administrative hoops you’ll need to jump through in order to avoid a vacation nightmare. Because there’s more to travel than complying with COVID-19 vaccination requirements and taking mandatory PCR or antigen tests.
While border restrictions are gradually being lifted, this is no time to forget the travel admin basics that existed long before the pandemic, starting with your passport. While having one is essential, checking its validity is another travel must that’s sometimes overlooked. Not only do you have to be sure that your passport is still valid after spending so many months grounded, but you also have to check that it will still be valid when you return, especially if you’re traveling to certain countries. Australia, Egypt and the Maldives, for example, require passports be valid for six months after your return date, to avoid the document expiring during your trip.
Insurance is an expense that you might have liked to skip in order to boost your vacation spending money. But, in light of the pandemic, more and more countries require travelers to have medical coverage in case they run into a problem. Only a few destinations, such as Algeria or China, used to require this kind of measure in pre-pandemic days.
Now, many countries are following this example, like Mauritius, Argentina or Singapore. However, grabbing yourself any old insurance isn’t enough. It’s important to check the conditions of coverage required by each destination. For example, the Philippines requires insurance including coverage for COVID-19 with a minimum amount of $35,000.
For Thailand, medical coverage must be at least $50,000. The Jordanian authorities require a certificate of international health insurance written in English. In the Sultanate of Oman, meanwhile, travelers will need proof of travel insurance covering at least 30 days of COVID-19 treatment. To be sure you’ve got things right, it’s best to check the full details of any entry requirements on the official government or embassy website for your planned destination.
Credit card (for car rental)
If you’re planning to rent a car abroad, including in Europe, it’s best to check the type of bank card required by the car rental company. In fact, many require a credit card rather than a mere debit card. Getting it wrong could see you refused the keys to your rental car, or having to pay extra. Look at your payment card and check if it says “credit” or “debit,” or check with your bank. And while we’re on the subject of driving, you’ll need to check whether your driver’s license is valid in the country you’re visiting. Remember that, if you’re visiting the United States, regulations can differ in each state.
Mandatory or recommended vaccinations (other than COVID-19)
The shockwaves caused by COVID-19 shouldn’t make travelers forget that some countries require vaccination against specific diseases. And that was the case well before the pandemic. Some countries, especially in Africa, require the presentation of an international certificate of vaccination against yellow fever, even if you’re only transiting through an airport. This is the case in Benin, for example.
Other vaccines can be strongly recommended for travel. For example, it’s usually recommended to get vaccinated for hepatitis B and/or Japanese encephalitis before heading to Thailand. Again, this kind of information should be available on the relevant government or embassy websites. In any case, it’s strongly advised to make sure all your regular vaccinations are up-to-date before packing your bags. JB