You want to travel abroad while the COVID-19 is still in circulation? Here is some information on how to do so responsibly and safely.
Be well informed before travelling
It goes without saying that the health crisis has had a profound effect on all of us and has definitely changed our lifestyles. As a result, many travellers have had to change their plans and stay home quietly. Recently, the Government of Canada lifted its recommendation to avoid non-essential travel. However, the decision to travel these days is an important one, and one that requires careful preparations.
To make the right choice, it is essential to be very well informed. Recommendations and requirements for international travel in times of COVID-19 are constantly changing. That's why it's important to make sure you have up-to-date information before you settle on anything, by checking official sources whose content is revised regularly.
Carefully read the Government of Canada's travel advisories and warnings specific to the destination you are visiting, as this is an invaluable reference. Reliable, up-to-date and clear information allows you to take the right actions at every step (preparation, departure, stay and return).
Here are a few examples of crucial information to take into account:
- rules for boarding the plane
- rules of entry into the country being visited
- health situation in that country
- rules of entry into Canada upon return
These rules may include immunization status and test results. Just before you leave, double-check the requirements in Canada and in the country you are visiting, as these may have changed since you made your arrangements.
You can never take too many precautions
If you've made the decision to travel after weighing all the pros and cons, it is now time to plan your trip. Some people enjoy shopping for their trip on the Internet, without the support of a qualified travel agent. However, this method does involve some risks, especially in this period marked by COVID-19, as there are many factors to consider in making wise choices and protecting yourself.
A travel agent can provide valuable information, cautionary advice and a variety of options open to you, including insurance. Pay particular attention to cancellation and change options, as the risks are greater than usual.
Before leaving, make sure you are properly vaccinated against COVID-19, according to current recommendations and that your other vaccines are up to date. Your pharmacist can inform you about all aspects of vaccination. You can also receive certain vaccines at the pharmacy, if necessary.
Protecting yourself... and others
When you're far away from home and out of your element, it can be tempting and easy to let your guard down when it comes to health measures. Try not to give in to this temptation. No matter where you are, continue to be very careful: wash your hands often, wear your mask when required and maintain appropriate physical distance. Also, check to see if the people around you are doing the same, as this helps protect you.
Being well equipped for your trip
Being well prepared is one of the keys to safe and responsible travel without worry. You'll be glad you have all the medications you may need during your stay. Before you leave, get a refill on all your medications and carry an extra supply in case you need to stay longer than expected at your destination. Ask your pharmacist for an up-to-date list of your medications, and keep it with you during your trip.
Also, stock up on non-prescription medications that you usually take or that could be useful in various circumstances, for example if you have COVID-19: acetaminophen, ibuprofen, cough suppressants, decongestants, etc. Your pharmacist can help you make a personalized list of items based on your needs, the context of your trip and your travel destination. They can also prescribe a preventive treatment against malaria and acute mountain sickness, as well as an antibiotic treatment in case of travellers' diarrhea. Don't forget to bring an ample supply of masks and antiseptic gel, as you will certainly need them!
Your pharmacist can help you travel safely. Don't hesitate to speak to your pharmacist for sound advice.