During such an uncertain time, it can sometimes be scary and intimidating thinking about hopping on a plane and travelling to a foreign place. Whether its right here in Canada or on the other side of the world, travel can appear scary; especially with a pandemic going on. Here's some tips and information that will help you SAFELY travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Know that the air you breathe on planes is NOT recirculated or unsafe
It is a common misconception that the air on planes is reused throughout the duration of the flight therefore making it unsafe. Many people think that you're more likely to catch an illness on a plane; but this couldn't be more false. Most aircrafts are equipped with HEPA filters that are similar to what's used in hospitals. These filters introduce fresh air into the cabin every 2-3 minutes while filtering 99.99% of airborne particles. New safety precautions have been introduced in the last 6 months including fogging before all flights. This thoroughly disinfects the aircraft using hydrogen peroxide cleaners. You will also be given a disinfectant wipe or hand sanitizer (on most airlines) to ensure your personal seating area is clean for the duration of your flight. Personally, I feel safer travelling on a plane than going to my local grocery store due to all the precautions that airlines (in Canada especially) are taking to stop the spread of COVID-19. I encourage you to research the safety precautions your preferred airline is taking during this time if you have any doubts!
The Canadian borders aren't actually closed
It is a current misconception that the borders are completely closed or that you can only travel outside of the country for certain purposes. Although this might be the case for select countries, in Canada we are currently able to travel to a large majority of places in the world. For example, the land borders to the United States are currently closed (as of November 2020) BUT there have always been flights in and out of the states during the whole pandemic. Canada is considered a low risk country, so when we enter many international countries we aren't even required to quarantine when we get there (but you must get tested for COVID-19 in many countries prior or upon arrival). If you would like to view the travel regulations for countries around the world, you can do so with the IATA virtual map.
You must wear a mask while in the airport/on the aircraft
It is currently mandatory to wear a mask while inside of an airport and while on any commercial aircraft. The mask must be covering your mouth and nose and may only be taken off while eating or drinking liquids. Some airlines do not permit masks with breathing valves so ensure you wear a medical or cloth mask while travelling. Note that you will need to pull the mask down while getting your ID checked when boarding.
You will need to pass a health questionnaire and temperature check
Before boarding any plane you will have to have your temperature taken either at security or directly before getting on the plane. You will also be asked questions like: Have you had a fever or cough in the last 24hrs? Have you had a fever or difficulty breathing in the last 24 hrs? Have you been refused boarding a plane due to a medical reason in the last 14 days? You must answer NO to all questions in order to be granted permission to board. These precautions help prevent anyone with COVID-19 from boarding any aircraft.
You will need to quarantine upon return to Canada (only if you are leaving the country)
As of October 2020, when leaving the country you must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival back into Canada even if you have no symptoms of COVID. If you arrive back in the country and you DO have symptoms then you are required to isolate for 14 days. The government is currently doing testing with a program that allows you to be tested for COVID upon arrival into Canada combined with a lesser time of quarantine, but the only airport currently available for this program is Calgary (YYC). You can keep updated on rules and regulations at here.
You may be eligible to skip out on Quarantine
If you are a Canadian who is travelling out of the country, there is a possibility that you won't have to quarantine for 14 days if you participate in the rapid testing program. As of November 2nd, all people arriving on international flights at the Calgary Airport (YYC) can be tested upon arrival. This means you are only subject to quarantine until negative results are delivered (24-48hrs). After your first test you also have to get a second COVID swab at a participating pharmacy. This must be done 6-7 days after your first test to ensure you are still negative. Keep in mind though, if you test positive you will be required to abide by a strict 14 day isolation/quarantine. You can even participate in this pilot program if you live in other cities in Canada, just as long as you clear customs in YYC! This means Calgary has to be the first Canadian city that you stop in when you arrive in the country. This is amazing news for Canadians (Albertans especially). It foreshadows the future of travelling during COVID-19. For more details you can read info here.
At the end of the day, all I have to add to the facts is that I've never felt safer to travel. With the many precautions put in place to protect passengers it feels as though a new era of safer travel is among us. I encourage you to go out and travel within your country and even outside if you are able to safely respect the rules put in place to protect us. Travel is a huge part of many peoples lives and it is important for our mental health to be able to change up our scenery, discover new cultures, or even just take a break! If you have any questions or would like some help planning your next adventure you can send me an email at email@example.com
"Life is short, the world is wide- I wanna make some memories"
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