What to Expect When Travelling in Covid Times
We chatted with some friends who recently visited Italy, Amsterdam and Dubai to find out what travelling in the time of COVID-19 is like and what you need to know for your December holidays.
Leaving South Africa
South African airports are operating like the rest of the country is. So you’ll need to wear a mask. Try to find a comfy one because you’re going to be wearing it non-stop for a few hours now depending on where you’re travelling to. Your temperature will be taken as you enter the airport and you’ll have to show a negative COVID-19 test that’s no more than 72 hours old.
Unfortunately, social distancing is limited when you’re sitting right next to someone on an aeroplane so you’ll have to keep your mask on for the duration of your flight. You can take it off while you’re eating or drinking but that’s it. If you’ve got kids under the age of 6, they may be exempt from wearing a mask but this is up to your cabin crew.
Airlines hand out new masks, sanitisers and gloves to help you stay safe during the flight.
What to Expect on Arrival
When you’re finally arriving at your destination that you’ve dreamt of for nearly 2 years of lockdown, there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind. Most importantly, where to wear a mask. This varies depending on where you are so pay attention to signs and directions from airport staff. In Amsterdam, masks are only required if you’re using public transport and in Italy, masks are only required indoors. But in Dubai, you’ll need to wear a mask at all times except if you’re exercising or at a pool, beach or salon.
You won't want to miss out on visiting a traditional Italian restaurant, or Trattoria.
Thank goodness restaurants are all open so you can enjoy one of the best things about international travel, the food. In Italy, you’ll be required to show your proof of vaccination QR code or a negative test to sit inside a restaurant, but if you sit outside you won’t have to worry about that. Until recently, Italy has catered for the unvaccinated by offering free COVID-19 tests.
If you’re the type of person who leaves for a holiday with a half-empty suitcase and returns with two, you’re probably wondering what the shopping situation looks like. While some shops have posters indicating how many people are allowed inside, most don’t. Sanitiser is available in shopping centres but it isn’t mandatory for you to use it.
The Rijks Museum in Amsterdam is a must-see attraction. It's home to Rembrandt's 'The Night Watch'.
For museums, expos and nightclubs, we suggest you get your QR code out and ready. Most places of entertainment have opened their doors to those who have been vaccinated or have proof of a negative test on them. This is true for the Dubai expo, which will be on until March 2022.
We’ve seen with Amsterdam’s recent opening of clubs and Italy’s decision to no longer offer free COVID-19 tests, that the rules are changing regularly. Be sure to do a bit of research on your destination’s restrictions before you leave for your holiday.
If you’re vaccinated and willing to wear a mask when you’re told to, international travel is finally back to normal (or a new normal perhaps?).
Hopefully your tickets are booked. But have you got the perfect luggage?