Travelling now is difficult, and in many places impossible. But the borders have slowly begun to open – and this year’s vacation already sounds like a plan, not just a dream.
But how risky is it, and is it even possible to protect yourself from coronavirus on vacation? We weigh the pros and cons together.
Over the past year, everyone has grown tired of the anxiety, confusion and bans.
This article is written to help you decide whether or not to go on vacation in 2021. Read where you can fly during a pandemic and whether it’s safe to travel to your home expanse and other countries now.
- 1 Tourism in the age of coronavirus: Where can I go abroad now? And whether to go at all?
- 2 Is it worth it to fly and book flights this year?
- 3 Is it safe to stay in hotels and inns during the coronavirus era?
- 4 Is it safe to travel by car now and is it worth renting a car on vacation in terms of hygiene?
- 5 Where is it safe to go on vacation abroad?
Some countries are opening their borders and relaxing quarantine measures, but this does not add confidence. The question of whether it is safe to travel now, after the resumption of international traffic is even more worrying.
The answer depends on many factors: the method of travel (by plane, train, car or something else), the destination, recent statistics on cases of coronavirus infection in a particular place, quarantine measures and current methods of prevention.
Is it worth it to fly and book flights this year?
Long lines at check-in desks, airport security checks, waiting for a flight side by side with a crowd of strangers, several hours in an airplane seat in the same cabin with other passengers – all this makes you question the safety of flying during a pandemic.
But the good news is that airports and airlines are already adjusting to the new reality.
For example, carriers have introduced flexible cancellation and rescheduling rules, and major air hubs are closing some terminals to provide better security measures in the face of the pandemic. There are also far fewer cafes and stores at airports. Some only sell takeout.
Temperatures are measured on anyone who enters an airport building: passengers, greeters, crew members, terminal staff and everyone else. In some cases, non-contact thermometers and thermal imaging cameras are used again just before boarding a flight.
In public transport, cabs, airport terminals and during the entire flight, masks and sometimes other personal protective equipment (face shields, for example) are mandatory. Read about how to choose, properly wear and safely dispose of a mask.
Social distancing rules are followed everywhere. Airlines, to the extent possible, change the seating arrangement in the aircraft cabins, offer self-check-in instead of check-in at the counters, and rearrange the queue system to keep passengers at a safe distance from each other.
The cabins of the major carriers are equipped with HEPA air filters. Some air terminals have introduced one-way traffic through the terminals to reduce the number of personal contacts between people.
Airlines have also changed their approach to in-flight meals: some carriers no longer serve food on their flights, while others have drastically reduced menus and offer only individually wrapped snacks and canned drinks. It’s safer to bring snacks with you from home – just check the airlines’ requirements for carry-on luggage.
Large hotel chains and small family-run hotels are well aware that in the era of the coronavirus, guests’ demands for hygiene and safety of vacation accommodations have increased.
To reduce the risks to guests, many hotels are offering contactless check-in and check-out and virtual reception, but buffets and free use of pools and other public areas have almost everywhere been abandoned.
In the hotels of major global chains, even room service has been replaced by an app: you order through your smartphone and it’s left at the door of the room.
Social markings and sanitizer machines at every turn are the new reality of the hotel world. Many good hotels use disinfectant mats, ionizers to purify the air and electrostatic filters, and offer free masks to their guests.
Room cleanliness is monitored much more closely now than before the pandemic: Many hotels have schedules of recent and scheduled cleanings, and cleaning protocols themselves have become stricter.
Most hotels around the world now allow free cancellations or changes at least 24 hours before the scheduled check-in date. And to give you even more peace of mind, the hotel search results on Skyscanner immediately show a cleanliness score. It shows the hotel’s standard of hygiene and helps you make an informed reservation decision.
Is it safe to travel by car now and is it worth renting a car on vacation in terms of hygiene?
Analysts predict an increase in demand for rental cars and carsharing during the pandemic because they are safer alternatives to public transportation. If you rent a car when you travel or drive a car-share car, remember to take safety precautions: gloves, airing and antiseptic treatment of contact surfaces never hurts.
Car rental companies are making sure that their service meets safety requirements during the coronavirus period. The giants are investing in developing cars that unlock automatically, that is, without keys walking around from hand to hand. But that’s not all: many measures to protect against COVID-19 have already been implemented.
For example, at Sixt a car can now be ordered, picked up and returned without personal contact with managers and agents. The keys are left in the locker, which you access through a mobile app. Another car rental company, Zipcar, has already introduced a mobile car unlocking system: they have an app that replaces the keys. Read about other contactless technologies for travelers.
Where is it safe to go on vacation abroad?
At the moment, no country in the world has weak restrictions for Russians. Weak restrictions are when there is no quarantine on arrival and on return, and entry conditions are close to pre-pandemic.
In 99 countries, moderate restrictions apply to Russian tourists. A certificate of negative COVID-19 test result may be required for entry. Some states in this category may have quarantine upon arrival or upon return.
List of countries where entry is open – interactive map, which is updated live
By clicking on the image – countries where it is safe to travel to
There are 54 more countries that currently impose severe restrictions for Russians: either only citizens and holders of residence or work visas are allowed to enter, or the border is closed at all, or the requirements for entry are so strict that a tourist trip does not make sense.
Look at our map of the world, where you can fly. And if you’ve already chosen your dream destination, sign up for email notifications. As soon as the restrictions in the selected country are lifted, we’ll send a letter and immediately add the best flights there.