“Borders are opening internationally. I’m vaccinated. I’ve been saving up. Most importantly, I haven’t travelled in almost two years. I deserve to treat myself, right?” These were some of the things that were running through my mind when I was faced with the opportunity to travel internationally during the pandemic.
While I was no doubt looking forward to finally getting out of the house (and the country, for that matter), I couldn’t shake my anxieties, either. There are still so many things to consider when travelling overseas during this time; and while things could go smoothly for a lot of us, it’s still better to be prepared.
If you, too, are considering crossing international borders during the pandemic (and soon!), allow me to walk you through my thought process. Perhaps this might help you find clarity and determine whether you really are ready to travel overseas once again.
How to know if you’re ready to travel internationally during the pandemic
Believe me, there is a whole lot to take into consideration if you’re thinking about leaving the country anytime soon. But if you want to fast-track the decision-making process, I can sum up some of the most important matters in three questions.
Can you afford it?
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The first thing I thought to myself was yes, definitely. I can afford it — after all, I haven’t travelled for almost two years. I’ll spend whatever it takes!
But once all the expenses were laid out before my eyes, I started to have second thoughts. If you’re planning to travel internationally during the pandemic, there’s a lot more to be spent on (and that might even be an understatement).
Expenses for overseas travel amid the pandemic
- Travel tax
- Travel insurance inclusive of COVID-19
- RT-PCR swab tests before and after travel
- International Certificate of Vaccination from the Bureau of Quarantine (if required at destination)
- Accommodations (if you don’t have a friend or relative to host you)
- Budget for food, touring, transportation, and shopping
- Budget for miscellaneous expenses
- Enough masks and COVID essentials (to be packed)
- Quarantine hotel upon arrival (for at least six nights)
The short trip I thought about taking would have cost me over ₱100,000 on flights and a quarantine hotel stay alone — and that was just the tip of the iceberg. And even if it turned out I could afford it… Would it be worth it? I couldn’t help but think of all the other things I could do with those funds.
Are you prepared to face the possibility of getting sick?
Of course we’d all love to think positive. We’ll do our best to safely observe protocols so as not to risk our health. We hear so much about people who fly out, enjoy, and come back with no problems whatsoever — so who’s to say we can’t do the same?
The thing is, it isn’t smart to travel internationally during the pandemic without a Plan B in mind. There are a lot of people who responsibly adhere to safety protocols, but sadly still get COVID-19.
At the event that you do get COVID-19 when you’re far away from home, you’ll have to consider a few things:
- Can you afford to pay for quarantine expenses abroad?
- Apart from financially, are you mentally prepared for the possibility of having to isolate somewhere miles away from home?
- Are you prepared to possibly extend your stay and rebook your flight home in case you contract COVID-19 on your trip?
Is now really the perfect time?
One of the most important things we’ve learned during the pandemic is the importance of delayed gratification. If we’ve waited this long to travel, what’s it to wait just a little bit longer?
After putting so many of our plans on pause and living in what feels like some sort of purgatory, it’s tempting to just give it all up and say YOLO. But if you stop and think about it, postponing your international travels even just a few more months might still end up being the more attractive idea.
Here are a few things to think about:
- Planning a trip in advance can give you more time to save up for your travel needs, especially if your original plans are already fast approaching.
- You can also avail of more affordable prices on flights and accommodations when you book them early. Or, at the very least, you can get all those expenses out of the way rather than shelling out a big amount all at once.
- More people are getting vaccinated everyday, and booster shots are already being discussed worldwide. If you postpone your travel plans, this also gives you and those around you to build their immunity.
Of course, you might find there are also pros to travelling internationally during the pandemic. Less crowded flights and tourist spots, for example. So if you can afford it and are mentally prepared for the risks — then why not? But if you think you can wait a little while longer, then where’s the harm in that?
In any case, the point is this: Make an informed decision. And should you decide to travel internationally during this pandemic, stay safe!
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