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What They Don’t Tell You About Traveling Abroad During a Pandemic

COVID-19 has changed everything in our day-to-day lives, especially travel. That being said, there are measures being taken to make travel safer. Air travel is one of the safer ways to travel with air purification systems to cleanse the air of the virus and proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test being required to board. This past summer, I was able to travel to Spain, despite the pandemic.

Here are five things you may not know about traveling abroad during a pandemic:

  1. Downloading a Health Screening App

Prior to flight check-in my companion and I downloaded a public safety health screening app filled with our birthdate, passport information and health screening questions to show to multiple officials. We showed it to the lady who checked our passports to provide us our boarding passes and to officials before we went through customs. 

Unless you do thorough research on the country you’re traveling to, you may not realize that you need to complete a health screening before traveling. 

After additional research, it looks like most countries have their own version of this app for the safety of you and their citizens. 

  1. You See the Country with Fewer Tourists

One of the advantages to traveling during a pandemic is seeing the country for what it really is. I was able to see Spain with very few tourists and take in the country. Sometimes this made communication more difficult when ordering from a restaurant or doing an activity, but it was worth it. 

  1. Every Country Has Its Own Set of COVID Regulations

Doing research beforehand, it’s interesting to see what every country’s COVID regulations are. Of course, this is due to a number of different reasons, but the reason I’m bringing it up is because you don’t want to do anything that could get you into trouble regarding the coronavirus. 

  1. Lower Travel Expenses 

One of the effects of COVID has been economic downfall. European countries have especially been affected by this, and in order to boost their economy, they’ve lowered travel expenses. Flights, hotel costs and even public transportation were relatively cheap compared to what it would’ve been pre-pandemic. When I was in Spain, the Euro was the equivalent of $1.19. So not only was everything there reasonably priced, the exchange rate was also close to the equivalent of the U.S. Dollar, which made calculating expenses easier. 

  1. The COVID Test Anxiety is Real

The last couple days of vacation I became sick worrying about testing positive for COVID-19. As someone who can study for days, be aware and be as prepared as possible for a quiz in the classroom, that same anxiety came when all the “what ifs” and possible scenarios ran through my brain. When we were at the airport and it was finally time to have the healthcare professional stick the specialized cotton swab up my nose, I cried. Firstly, because it hurts. But, secondly, because all my built-up anxiety was relieved. Then, less than 15 minutes later, I tested negative for COVID.

From traveling in a pre-pandemic world, to one in the height of one, there were quite a few things that surprised me along the way. By researching, putting safety first and understanding that it’s going to be an overall unique travel experience, you can still have a good time traveling abroad.

I'm a senior at the University of Kansas studying English. Outside of school you can find me curled up on the couch with my cat.
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