CORONA VIRUS TRAVEL ADVICE
Keeping in mind the current global scenario, safety is everyone’s top priority. So, taking all necessary precautions to ensure that you are protected from COVID-19 is very important. Especially in the travel and tourism industry, people are working day and night to take all safety measures to help travelers take off to their dream destinations safely. There is always a doubt whether these safety measures are taken to keep all protocols in mind and if they can truly earn the travelers’ confidence and stimulate travel services and bookings.
A survey was conducted with the travelers to gain greater insight into the requirements and demands during the Covid-19 period. We have published this travel advisory after thorough verification with the suppliers (air, hotel, and car) and detail on all points. People seem eager to get out of their homes and travel the world, but they would love to do it only if there is strict implementation of rules and hygiene protocols across all destinations that they are traveling. Travelers also seem to want relaxation in cancelation or changes in booking cases in unforeseen situations.
Before you plan to travel, consider these questions:
- Is COVID-19 spreading aggressively near your location? If so, you are more likely to get and spread COVID-19 during travel.
- Are you at greater risk of any serious illness? COVID-19 can affect anyone, but people with medical conditions and older adults are at greater risk from the virus.
- Are you residing with someone who is at a greater risk of getting affected? If so, then you might end up infected the people you live with after your return, and there might not even be any symptoms to identify beforehand.
After our research, we have determined 10 distinct categories that can help restore customers’ confidence in us. While nine of them are safety measures, the last one is added, keeping in mind the traveler’s financial security.
- Enhanced cleaning and disinfection: Travelers want to ensure that an attentive cleaning protocol is followed across all destinations of their journey. This includes:
- During and between flights.
- Aircraft disinfection before departure.
- Enhanced hotel cleaning.
- Enhanced car cleaning between every rental booking.
- Access to sanitizers/disinfectant wipes: To meet travelers’ expectations, suppliers are requested to provide them with sanitizing products whenever needed.
- At baggage collection.
- Readily available disinfectant wipes on flights.
- Access to sanitizers, face masks, and gloves at hotels and car rental locations.
- Social distancing: Social distancing is one of the easiest measures but implementation can sometimes be commercially unfavorable. Travelers say that effective social distancing will encourage them to book a flight, and they want to see this implemented but in the long run permanently blocking the middle seat can be difficult. But as per the current scenario, it can be maintained:
- Throughout the air travel journey.
- Socially distant seating on aircraft.
- In hotels.
- At car rental locations.
- Temperature checks: From our research, it is quite evident that until a vaccine or effective treatment is available, air travelers, in particular, would like a temperature check. Although there is still an ongoing debate amongst travel stakeholders, medical experts, and governments who should conduct it. For the time being, travelers would like it to be carried out both:
- At the entrance to airports.
- Before boarding.
- Mandatory mask-wearing: Wearing a mask has become part and parcel of our lives in most public places. It is beyond doubt a very effective way to prevent Covid-19 community transmission and helps in areas where social distancing is not possible. Travelers seem to also acknowledge this trend, resulting in their demand of it at:
- In the air journey.
- In hotels as well as their staffs.
- In the car rental locations and their staffs.
- Plexiglass at check-in: Much like wearing masks, plexiglass has also become a very common product for daily use, especially during customer service regulations. Plexiglasses are very helpful in places where contact is unavoidable. Passengers seem to demand these at the check-in counters of airports and other travel services.
- Managed aircraft boarding by row: These days it’s no more possible to make a movie-like dramatic entry to board a flight. This pandemic has ensured it even more, and it is now mandatory to reach airports on time and board flights in a proper systematic manner by forming rows.
- Air filtration: It is known that complete social distancing in flights will not always be possible, but safety measures like wearing masks and plexiglasses and HEPA Air filtration help boost confidence ensuring hygiene.
- Contactless services: Travelers these days are also promoting contactless self-check-in, unlike the old days where someone had to be present at the front desk as a symbol of proper customer service. Technological advancements have now enabled the smooth contactless check-in during the times of Covid-19, and hence, they prefer:
- Air check-in.
- Hotel check-in.
- Car collection and drop-off.
- Flexible change/cancellation policies: During these times of pandemic, situations are always very uncertain. Thus, along with health and safety measures, financial security is also an important matter. Therefore, it is expected of the Travel and Tourism Companies and other equivalents of the sector to keep things flexible for customers allowing them to postpone/prepone dates or cancel without charge, and by making refunds in case the customer falls sick, or travel restrictions are reinstated in the locations.
Testing and Traveling:
The risk of Covid-19 is reduced to a great extent if tests are done just before and after traveling. The ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) advises people to get tested with a viral just a few days before leaving for the journey. It is suggested that you delay your traveling plans if your test results are awaited. And always carry your test results when you are traveling.
This test also needs to be repeated after three to five days of your return from the trip. If you test positive, it is best to quarantine yourself for a minimum of 10 days, and if it’s negative, you should still stay home for at least a week as a precautionary step.
To stay safe while you travel, you must at all times wear a mask correctly by covering both your nose and mouth in all public transports like planes, buses, trains, and others.
The ICMR recommends following these steps to protect yourself and others during travel:
- Maintain a 6 feet (2 meters) social distance between you and anyone else at all times.
- Avoid any contact with anyone who is ill.
- Avoid touching surfaces that are frequently used, such as hand railings, elevator buttons, etc. If, in any case, touching these surfaces is unavoidable, then use sanitizers or handwashes will be used.
- Wear a comfortable mask.
- Avoid touching the “T- Zone” of the face, i.e., your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Dab like Batman to cover your face while coughing and sneezing.
- Keep cleaning your hands regularly with soaps for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating and after sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose.
- When soaps are not available, use sanitizer to spread it thoroughly over all surfaces of your hands by rubbing them together till they dry.
- Make sure to read all local requirements and restrictions.
- Check all government-issued regulations of destinations before traveling to avoid any surprising complications upon arrival.
The best resources to look up to our State’s Health Department websites, which you need to keep in mind to check regularly for the latest updates or restrictions.
To help airlines prevent the spread of Covid-19, specific guidelines have been issued by the ICMR. The complete advisory for airports and airlines, along with passengers, is presented on their websites.
Changes you will notice if you’re flying for the first time since the pandemic:
- Social distancing maintained by officers after wearing masks and gloves.
- Changing of gloves by Officers after every pat-down.
- Plastic shields at document checking podium, bag search, and drop-off locations.
Changes to the screening process:
- Although travelers will be wearing masks during screening, you will be requested to remove masks for identification.
- Boarding passes are not directly handed over to the officers but to be placed on the scanner and then held up for inspection.
- Travelers with hand sanitizers of 12 ounces (about 350 milliliters) will need to take it out for screening and carry it in a bag.
- Travelers need to place all their food items in the bin for screening and then be transported in a plastic bag. This reduces the chances of screeners checking bags as part of the inspection.
- All personal items such as keys, wallets, and phones are suggested to be carried in plastic bags for easy screening.
- Make sure to wash hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds just before and after screening.
If you prefer driving over traveling by air, then all you need is to be a little smart and map out the stops you want to make, and you are good to go. It is sure to make you feel more in control over the beautiful environment.
Things to consider before hitting the road:
- Make smart decisions to select the best possible stops and avoid driving when you are drowsy.
- Make sure you carry as many masks as possible along with hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes and keep them in an easily accessible zone.
- Carry homemade food and plenty of water for the trip. And carry enough non-perishable foods to last throughout the trip if restaurants or shops are not available on the way.
- In case you want to pick up a meal on the road, choose restaurants that offer drive-thru or curbside services.
Other ground transportation:
If you plan to travel by bus or train, be cautious and keep in mind that social s=distancing is very important, and sitting or standing within 6 feet (2 meters) of some other passenger for such a long period can be risky. Under such circumstances, follow all necessary rules and take safety measures suggested in the guidelines above.
Even if you are flying, you will need to avail yourself transportation upon your arrival at the destination. But just to be prepared, you can search on the internet about car rentals and their safety protocols and also check the cab services provided by hotels that you are going to stay in.
Hotels and other lodging:
The hospitality industry understands travelers’ concerns and is taking all precautions to ensure the safety of all customers. You can inspect the safety measures of hotels by just searching their website to get information.
Some of the best practices are:
- Enhanced cleaning procedures.
- Social distancing measures.
- Masking of staff and guests.
- Contactless payment.
New Protocols are made under the Public Health Guidelines like using gloves and masks while cleaning and keeping a waiting period between each guest. This showcases the commitment of hotels and staff to ensure safety and gain confidence.
Upon your arrival at your room or rental, make sure to disinfect all surfaces in the room that are mostly touched like doorknobs, switches, tables, phones, remote controls, etc. Also, wash all utensils that are provided before using them.
Carry all medicines you may need on your trip and these essential safe-travel supplies:
- Face masks.
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol).
- Disinfectant wipes (at least 70% alcohol) for surfaces.
Considerations for people at increased risk:
Although the virus can infect anyone, there is always a higher risk and threat towards older adults and people with any medical condition. Conditions like cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, severe heart problems, weakened immune system, obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, smoking, type 2 diabetes, and others can increase your risk to a great extent.
Traveling increases your chances of getting and spreading Covid-19, and it is best if you can stay home to ensure the safety of yourself and others. But if you insist on traveling, then it is best to consult your doctor and ask about any additional precautions that you may need on the trip.
Dreamland Escapes’ Covid-19 Test facilitation services:
Our company shall include the following services for its clients with a minimal fee. This charge does not include fees paid to hospitals and other authorities for Covid-19 Tests.
- Information and procedures for Covid-19 tests that ICMR Medical Centres approve throughout India and other global Medical centres will be provided to customers.
- Information regarding the locations of tests with several options will be provided.
- Services regarding scheduling Covid-19 test appointments throughout India and overseas countries wherever service is possible and as per the client’s preference.
- On behalf of the customer, the company will make all necessary payments at the Medical Centre to ensure a stress-free service.
- Complete coordination between customer and medical centre along with regular updates to keep the customer informed.
- Customers will receive the test report attached with passport number via email and hardcopy as and when required.
- Additional letters that are required for travel services as per destination will be shared.
- For many members in a travel group, camp facilities will be arranged for Covid-19 Tests at a particular location.
- Fly to Fly certificates required when flying abroad and are released by doctors after consultation with travelers, will also be arranged.
On approval from ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research), our company is willing to provide you all necessary services for Health and Safety Measures. To avail of the stress-free Covid-19 test process, all you need to do is follow the 4 steps:
- Provide your basic details like name, passport number, location, etc.
- Advice from our Company expert to guide you with the Covid-19 test procedure.
- Attend appointments arranged by the Company with Medical Centres approved by the government.
- Receive the reports from us in a span of 24 to 48 hours from the date of receival of reports.
For further assistance:
- Arogya Setu App – A government-designated app for Covid-19 information.
- ISMR (icmr.gov.in) – A government-designed website for Covid-19 guidelines.