The world is opening up. Flights are being added. Restrictions reduced. New hotels and resorts are opening around the world at a record pace, others are reemerging after extensive renovations. As you consider venturing out, we want to share a few tips to make your travels as smooth as possible and a few new places that just might inspire you to plan your next adventure.
As you are planning to travel again, perhaps for the first time in a while, here are a few of our favorite tips to help your trip go more smoothly.
Turn your paper vaccine card into a QR code
Why is it important to have a vaccine QR code? Some destinations require more than just a paper card to prove your vaccine status. It also gives you peace of mind that you have a backup in case your physical card is lost. Certain states offer this service to their residents. If you don’t live in one of those states this is an easy, free resource (you can donate if you so choose) – GoGetDoc. I’ve done this for my entire family, and it takes about 15 minutes per person. Once you are done you can download the QR code into your Apple Wallet for easy access wherever you are.
Global Entry or Mobile Passport
Global Entry makes re-entering the USA much easier and quicker and we highly recommend it. Each member of your party must have it to go through the dedicated lines (children without it may not go through with parents who have it). Bonus is that it gives you TSA Pre-Check for domestic travel, also saving you lots of time in the airport. The last time I flew out of BOS on a 7am flight there was 1 person in the TSA Pre line and 70++ people in the regular security line.
Extra tip: Make sure your KTN (Known Traveler Number) is embedded in your flight reservation – you will be able to tell if it says TSA PRE on your boarding pass. Even though they give you a Global Entry physical card, they will not take that as a substitute at the security check in.
If you don’t have Global Entry, the next best option is Mobile Passport. This easily downloadable app to your phone is free and accelerates your arrival process back in the USA. Similar to Global Entry, each member of your party must have it to go through the dedicated lines. Note: recently some airports have not had Mobile Passport lines running as usual (ex: Newark, JFK, MIA and FLL) so don’t count on it 100%.
eMed Binax Now Covid Tests
eMed Binax Now tests are an inexpensive, convenient way to do your pre-return to the USA covid test while you are abroad. They sell for $150 for a package of 6. Note: these are not the tests you purchase at CVS or other pharmacies. These must be purchased on the eMed website and come with access to a proctor for the test.
Extra tip #1: In some countries if you have a Covid test done at a “formal” facility (airport or pharmacy) and you test positive, you may be required to go to a state sponsored hotel for your quarantine. These are not usually as nice as where you are staying. If you use the eMed test, it’s more likely you will be able to ride out your quarantine at your hotel.
Extra tip #2: If you bring extra tests, you’ll be prepared in case one malfunctions. Also, if you test positive, many countries and airlines will let you return as soon as you test negative, so if you have extra tests, you can do one every day and possibly return sooner.
When to Cancel Your Flight
If you’ve booked a plane ticket and now need to cancel it, it is often the best idea to wait until closer to your departure date to cancel. Why? Because airlines frequently change their schedules and if they move your flight time by a significant amount (30, 60, 90+ minutes depending upon the airline), you are allowed to cancel with no penalty. I’ve done this successfully twice and am currently sitting tight hoping for another. Just remember to set a reminder in your calendar so you don’t forget.
In an effort to make the traveling experience more relaxing, some airports are cutting down on noise pollution and have gone “silent.” They are limiting flight announcements broadcasted and instead gate attendants hold up signs. If you’ve traditionally passed the time while reading a book waiting for a boarding call, you may want to adapt to ensure you don’t miss your flight. Consider setting an alarm on your phone instead. Here are a few airports with the new policy: Venice, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Punta Cana, Cancun, Cape Town, Bristol UK, Dubai, and Singapore.
With proper planning and preparation, you are well equipped to have an incredible adventure wherever in the world you go. If you choose to work with an experienced travel advisor, you will also have insider insights and someone to personally call if you have any bumps along the way.
See a few of our favorite new hotels here.