COVID19 has reminded us all that travel is a privilege and at any time, it can be taken away from us. It would be irresponsible of us to promote travel, without also providing easy access to find out if the destination you’re travelling to is safe.
What is ‘safe’ varies upon a number of factors, but generally Governments provide up-to-date information for their citizens and you should listen to that. Advice provided from friends, relatives or someone in a Facebook group saying ‘I just got back from there, it’s totally fine,’ is not official advice.
Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce recently made a passing comment that all travellers will require a COVID19 vaccine to travel in future. However, that comment was later clarified in this statement. There may be requirements from other countries and airlines to obtain a medical certificate with proof of a COVID19 vaccination prior to travel in the future; however this is yet to be formalised as vaccines are yet to be distributed and international air travel is yet to occur on a mass level.
This information changes rapidly and will be updated as changes occur. Until then, you should expect that any vaccines and health requirements will be formally announced by Governments and health authorities.
Always read the terms and conditions for any product you are purchasing. Some airlines and hotels have initiated ‘free date changes’ because of COVID19, however this is not across the board, and should not be presumed. 2020 has shown many travellers how difficult obtaining refunds can be from multiple travel providers and online travel agents, many who are based in different countries with different rules and regulations.
Before booking any travel, always check the current health and safety precautions and follow official Government advice.
IATA (International Air Transport Association) is the governing body for airlines around the world, including cargo. They don’t make the government decisions, but as a global association, who’s #1 self-interest is ensuring the safety of air travellers, including ground crew – they help to provide up to date information from a variety of sources.
- For Australians, visit Smarttraveller
- For Americans, visit Travel.State.gov
- For Canadians, visit Travel.gc.ca
- For British, visit Gov.uk
For everyone else check with your local authorities or the IATA Travel Centre for quick and easy links.
Staying Safe Whilst Travelling
Getting sick or in trouble whilst travelling is scary, can be life-threatening and in some countries, you could be arrested for ordinary things that are not a crime in your home country.
Always check official government advice for any major health and safety concerns, active in the country you are visiting, but beyond that, common sense should apply in all situations.
Some common everyday things (but not an extensive list) where travellers found themselves in trouble with the law include:
- Taking Photos – especially of military or government buildings
- Carrying illegal products – including some over-the-counter medications in your home country
- Facing death sentences for any drug offence including possession – even trace amounts
- Being drunk or in some countries in possession of alcohol
- Having relationships outside of marriage/Public displays of affection especially between LGBTQ couples
- Failing to check-in with local authorities if required
Even if you see locals partaking in an activity, it does not mean that it’s always safe for foreigners. Pleading ignorance is not a get out free card.
“When in doubt, don’t.”
When it comes to food and water, even if the water is safe to drink, some stomachs can’t handle different PH levels or there may be other chemicals in the water. Again, common sense applies:
- Always eat fresh-cooked food
- Carry a water purifier straw or bottle or drink bottled water
- Avoid salads and items washed in tap water
- Avoid dairy as use-by labels or homoginisation don’t apply in all countries – especially ice-cream
- If a restaurant is full of locals, it’s probably safe
- Carry probiotics as these can help fix an upset stomach
- Carry your own set of cutlery so you know it’s clean
- Wash your hands and use hand sanitiser before eating or drinking
Being vegetarian is really easy in places like India and can help you to avoid undercooked meat which is a common source of food-borne illness. Most Guidebooks, like Lonely Planet give localised recommendations but always check with your local doctor or GP regarding any vaccinations or health requirements at your destination.
COVID19 has changed our habits and making face masks and hand sanitiser acceptable and available everywhere will hopefully lead to healthier travellers. In the meantime stay safe, happy travels and don’t forget to send us a postcard.
The Flight Sale Team