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6 Things you need to know before you travel (2022)

I remember having already booked our first family trip to Europe when I saw the news of the COVID-19 outbreak in January 2020. No one had anticipated how quickly it would spread all over the world and how devastating it would affect our lives. With all the restrictions and isolation we had to endure, we were left to wonder if the time will come when we can travel and explore the world again.

Two years after, COVID cases are dropping, most people have received their vaccinations, and countries are relaxing their travel restrictions. The world is starting to open up again and everyone is longing to make up for their lost travel time. No matter where we travel, it is important to be prepared for the uncertainties of the pandemic and the existing health risks of the destination we have chosen.

Before you travel, check out these important things you need to consider in order to make informed decisions and travel safely:

1. Check the government's official source of travel information and advice

Planning your trip should include checking this website first:

This will update you with country-specific information on health risks, safety, and other important travel information. Check this webpage often, especially shortly before you leave, as requirements may change rapidly.

The travel health notice risk level issued by the Public Health Agency of Canada has been changed from Level 3: Avoid non-essential travel to Level 2: Practice enhanced health precautions when traveling internationally. This means that there is an increased risk to travelers or certain groups of travelers (e.g. pregnant women and people visiting friends and relatives) and enhanced health precautions should be practiced (e.g. use of personal protective equipment, delaying travel until the risk is lower, additional recommended vaccinations for some groups and avoiding higher-risk activities).

2. Book a travel health consultation

Aside from the COVID-19 vaccination series, it is important to be updated with your routine immunization and receive the travel vaccinations that you need. Seek travel health consultations at least 6 weeks before you travel.

In a pretravel consultation, a personal risk assessment is done by considering health background, itinerary, trip duration, travel purpose, and activities. Examples of travel vaccinations that may be recommended include vaccines against hepatitis A and B for any developing country, typhoid fever for Africa and South Asia, and cholera for Africa, South and South Asia. Personalized travel health advice will also be provided that includes a recommendation for the management of self-treatable conditions, relevant health safety practices, and a travel health kit.

3. Don't skip the travel health insurance Check with the travel insurance provider to make sure that coverage includes COVID-19-related medical expenses, other emergency-related expenses, and trip interruption. Also, ensure coverage includes provision for a pre-existing medical condition, medical evaluation, and repatriation in case of unforeseen events.

Check a guide to travel health insurance here.

4. Find out how to use ArriveCAN

ArriveCAN is a mandatory and free portal for travel information that must be submitted by all travelers within 72 hours before arrival in Canada. It is available by accessing the ArriveCAN website or downloading the latest version of ArriveCAN mobile app in your app store. After you create an account and submit the required information, you will receive an ArriveCAN receipt through your email. This receipt only confirms that you have successfully provided information and does not validate your eligibility to enter Canada, vaccination status, or essential travel status. For more information, click here.

5. Register as a Canadian abroad and know how to contact a Canadian embassy or consulate

The Registration of Canadians Abroad is a free service that you should avail yourself of because it allows the government to update you with important information and instruction in preparation or during an emergency or changes in travel advisories for the country you have registered. Also, it is important to find out the location and contact information of the Canadian embassy or consulate closest to your travel destination. You can do that by clicking here.

6. Confirm the COVID-19 test requirement Removing the pre-entry COVID-19 test result requirement for fully vaccinated travelers before entry to Canada was welcome news to people who are planning to take up traveling again. This is not the case for all other countries so check the COVID-19 test requirements of your destination or layover location. For example, all travelers entering the U.S. by air are still required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test (rapid antigen test is accepted) taken within one day of travel, regardless of vaccination status or citizenship. If you are traveling to or have a layover in Japan, you will need to provide proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure

To book a COVID-19 test, click here

Being able to travel again has never meant so much after a long period of surviving the pandemic. Sandy beach, mountain, and our next adventure are all calling. As long we intend to travel safely and responsibly, let's dust off those passports and start making plans for our getaways.

Now I'd like to hear from you. Where are you planning to go this year?

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