Travel Is Normal Again, But You Still Need To Check 5 Things Before You Fly
Over the past year, the world has finally opened up again, and travelers have been eager to get back out there. Now that travel is back, many people have been hopping on flights like it’s 2019 again without a care in the world.
But just because most countries are fully open again without COVID-related hoops to jump through doesn’t mean there aren’t still things you need to double-check before you travel.
Below are five important things that, if not checked beforehand, could result in travelers being denied entry into a country and sent back home on the next flight out.
1. Entry Requirements
More than 130 countries have removed all entry requirements and are fully back to pre-pandemic entry rules, but a few destinations still have some requirements in place.
Some destinations still ban unvaccinated travelers from entering the country. Other countries may require a negative COVID test for unvaccinated and vaccinated travelers, while some places still have widely-followed mask mandates and other internal restrictions in place.
Although most countries are now restriction-free, it’s still important to research your destination before your trip to make sure you won’t be scrambling to get a COVID test or face irritating travel restrictions.
2. Visa Requirements
If you have a U.S. or Canadian passport, visas are not always top of mind, as you are lucky enough to get access to over 180 countries visa-free or with a simple visa on arrival.
However, there are still some nations that require travelers, even those with strong passports, to obtain a visa before reaching the border.
For example, Americans need advance visas for several popular tourist destinations, including Australia, Egypt, and Vietnam. While most of these countries have straightforward online application processes, this is something important to check in advance.
3. Travel Insurance
During the pandemic, many travelers purchased travel insurance because they were fearful of having massive trip interruptions, cancellations, or becoming ill while traveling.
But as the world opened up, people stopped covering their trips.
While the chaos of 2020 and 2021 is in the rearview mirror now, every traveler should still be purchasing travel insurance to protect their trips from a myriad of unexpected non-pandemic-related issues.
Travel insurance covers injury and illness, lost luggage, trip cancellations, flight delays, and much more.
4. Onward Ticket
Some countries require you to show proof that you will, in fact, be leaving and not staying forever. If you’ve booked a simple round-trip itinerary, then showing proof of onward travel is easy. You can just show your round-trip plane ticket at immigration and be good to go.
But not everyone books a round-trip itinerary. If you’ll be departing out of a different country than the one you’re entering, be sure you can show proof of your one-way flight to the other country, train booking, bus ticket, or another form of transportation.
For backpackers who may not have yet planned out the next leg of their trip, a common workaround to this onward travel requirement is booking a fully refundable ticket and then cancelling it.
5. Passport Expiry Date
Did you know some countries won’t let you in if your passport is getting close to its expiration date? Dozens of countries have passport expiry rules, with many of them requiring that your passport is valid for at least 6 more months in order to enter the country. Other countries have a 3-month or 4-month requirement.
So if your passport is expiring any time soon, it’s worth researching the requirements for the destination you’re visiting in advance. The U.S. government recommends renewing your passport at least nine months in advance, and keep in mind that it can take 6 to 9 weeks to renew your passport.