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What To Expect On Your Next International Trip | Post-Covid Travel


Perhaps the most hard-felt effect of this pandemic has been the restriction/ reduction in non-essential, international traveling. Most travelers- myself included have had to use the past couple of months to test and access comfort levels for when next we would be able to travel out of our home countries. Most have relegated international travel plans to 2021, in hopes that it gets relatively easier to travel then.

I recently embarked on a solo adventure to Dakar, Senegal and the trip was phenomenal in every sense of the word. From visiting historic monuments in Dakar to catching sunsets at the coast of Ngor Island and learning about the history Gorée Island, Senegal has a spot for every type of traveler.

In this blogpost, I share in-depth information and tips on Travel Planning, COVID Testing, Flights-related changes, changes in Tours & Accommodation lodging as well as my general experience on what to expect/make provision for on your next international trip.

Travel Planning

With travel regulation and policies to countries constantly changing, I highly recommend the extensive, up-to-date research on the following:

1. Research on travel policies to destination countries

Google search current requirements for travel to your travel destination of choice. This would ensures you have an event-free entry into the desire destination.

2. Research of travel policies of transit countries

Certain countries require travelers to present specific documentation such as a negative PCR test for COVID-19 if your stopover exceeds one (1) hour or a transit visa for transit countries.

3. Research on mandatory quarantine days

Countries like the UK & Jordan require mandatory quarantine for a period of seven (7) - fourteen (14) days prior to entry, while others allow entry upon arrival.

4. Research on tour sites, activities and general covid safety conduct and protocols

In the wake of the pandemic, most tourist destinations have either shut down completely, scaled back on the number of tourists permitted to visit or restricted specific activities. Venues such as hotels, restaurants and sites have a "no face mask, no entry policy in place for visitors. Researching on these allows for planning and reduces inconvenience.

Covid-19 Testing

1. Boarding Regulation

Depending on the country of origin, airlines may require presentation of a negative PCR test taken 72 - 120 hrs prior to flight date, for check-in purposes.

2. Passenger Locator/Health Declaration forms

In addition to the above, some countries like Senegal require that travelers present hardcopies of passenger locator forms or health declaration forms outlining travel history and dates of entry and exit in specific regions, as well as symptom reports.

3. Mandatory testing at destination/ home country

Depending on travel policies in the destination country, travelers may be required to undergo mandatory testing. Countries like Ghana also require travelers (citizens and otherwise) to undergo mandatory testing before entry into the country.

Flight Related Changes

As countries attempt to revive their economies, Tourism being revisited albeit cautiously as a major contributor to some of the worlds most successful economies. In view of thus, most countries have reopened their aviation space to reputable international airlines for commute and business. As far as flights go, here are some changes I noted on my most recent travel:

1. Confirming of flight schedules before date of travel.

As part of travel advisory shared with travelers by the respective airlines, passengers are encouraged to confirm flight schedules preferably twenty-four (24)hrs prior to the flight date and time.

2. Early Check-In time

Due to the combined factors of increase in requirements and strictness in boarding and immigration procedures, cut off time for check-in for most flights are done 4hrs prior to take off. This ensures that individual passengers are taken through the necessary screenings in good time before taking off.

3. Presentation of negative COVID test results for check-in

Airlines require the presentation of a hardcopy confirmation of a negative test result for COVID-19 as part of their check-in regulations.

4. Mandatory w earing of face masks throughout duration of flights

Passengers are mandated to have on face masks for the duration of the flight with breaks only permitted at meal times.

5. Disinfection of overhead luggage compartments

Overhead compartments are disinfected prior to take off, sometimes while passengers are onboard and airlines fumigated upon landing.

6. Packed Meals

If you are a stickler for food plating and have yet to get on a flight no thanks to COVID, I have mildly heartbreaking news for you. Meal times look remarkably different now as in-flight meals come in an already packed paper bag with no fancy plating whatsoever.

7. Almost empty middle seats

Whether this is as a result of airlines seeking to prioritize the health of passengers or a relatively low patronage of air travel, most middle seats on the flights I took on my trip were empty. This allowed me some win-flight room while also providing some needed comfort while flying.

Tour Related Changes

As far as tourist sites and tours are related, these are the few changes I took account of while traveling in November, 2020:

1. Mandatory face masks at tourist sites

Almost every tourist site I visited mandated the wearing of face masks for the duration of the tour visits, use of sanitation stations and follow through on social distancing requirements.

2. Less populated tourist sites

With reduced numbers in international travel and restrictions, many tourist sites I visited were less populated than would otherwise have been.

3. Night life & festivals inaccessibility

For travelers drawn to destination primarily for festivals and concerts, this may not quite be the time for travels as almost all countries have suspended celebrations that allow for crowding and large gatherings. In some countries as well, night clubs, lounges and bars are yet to be reopened for patronage.

Accommodation Related Changes

As a direct effect of countries opening up for international travel and tourism, the hospitality industry has slowly begun to see some improved level of patronage as compared to the early part of the year. In my search for accommodation I noted the under listed changes that are absolutely worth noting, should you look to travel internationally soon:

1. Cancellation policies

For accommodation booking, properties on and may not permit cancellation refund due to COVID-19 related issues. It is thus advisable to look out for cancellation policies for preferred lodging prior to booking.

2. Improved house keeping conditions

Hotels, resorts and other related lodges alike have sought to improve on cleanliness and prioritize customer safety on their premises. Alcohol based sanitizers or handwashing stations are provided at the point of entry, and masks are required for access to shared places.

3. Verification of test results prior to booking

Some lodging facilities request a print out confirmation of your COVID-19 test result as well, at the point of check-in. This is aimed at prioritizing the safety of guests and staff of the facilities

General Experience

All in all, my first international trip to Dakar, Senegal was equal parts amazing and less daunting than I had believed it would be. With the right amount of research and a commitment to protect oneself and others from sickness and inconvenience, I believe travelers can cautiously look at venturing out of our homes again.

Safe Travels!

And as always, if you find these pointers helpful in your travel planning, be sure to drop a comment below or leave any questions you may have on the topic and I will try my best to provide some answers for your consideration.


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