Tuesday, August 9, 2022

New World Travel

There are extra steps I'm taking for me to feel more OK with travelling internationally right now.  I've been asked a number of times about my preparation for all the "what ifs" that can occur; so here is a base list:  

  • Register your trip with your government (link for Canadians).  You'll get emailed news should the status of the country you are visiting changes.  For example, I received a notification with instructions of who to contact in Seoul should the results of an election create an emergency situation.  Same when we were in Bangkok after the bombing by the riverfront.
  • PPE -- Wipes, masks and Covid tests.  I bring enough tests for at least 2 weeks as I want to know when I test negative again.  I cannot fly back to Canada until 10 days after a positive test.
  • Covid specific insurance that covers 2 weeks of quarantine, extra testing, change of flight arrangements and medical coverage that extends up to almost a year should things really go south.  A number of countries i.e. Argentina etc. require specific Covid insurance as a condition for entry.
  • Getting a local Sim card, so you can 1) Contact the insurance company should you need to report a claim.  2) Receive texts as some contact tracing apps in some countries need a number to reach you.  3) As back up, should the internet suddenly go down at your hotel and you are needing to check the status of your airport taxi... (happened to me a few weeks ago)
  • Have multiple ways to reach your airline should a schedule change, adverse weather, emergency occur.  A great use for social media!
  • Get an additional email account i.e.  gmail vs hotmail etc.  Some countries' government sites like Thailand work best when sending correspondence to certain email accounts.    
  • Extra vitamins, medication, change of clothes etc. should a delay occur; especially these days with increasing extreme weather.  Remember that you may have to pay for extra hotel, food, ground transport etc. and claim from travel insurance after as airlines might not always be able to give out food and hotel vouchers to everyone who need it.
  • Carry on vs. checking in luggage.
  • Scheduling more time between trips.  Should you get chosen for arrival testing and are found to be positive -- It's a 10 day quarantine for Canadians.
  • Make sure you have the latest updates to all the apps you may need for countries of origin and destination as well as all the airlines you are flying with.  Often, you are notified of flight schedule changes before it shows up on the airport screens.  And depending on the airline, making changes to your flights are easier on the app than via a phone call.
  • Have pdfs of proof of vaccination, passport, other ID like a driver's licence on your phone etc. Make it easy for others to help you, especially now when there is a shortage of staff.
  • Allow many weeks for a new passport application.  In Canada, we are now able to schedule appointments but they aren't easy to find and spots are a month out unless someone cancels.  Otherwise it is many hours or days waiting in line.   
  • Extra currency.  I always travel with USD and Euro as well.  Some countries have a preference for clean, unmarked $50 or $100 bills.
  • Buy flights that are refundable.  Most of my flights have been purchased using points and can be cancelled right up to departure.  Any cash paid for flights can be converted to an e-credit, also last minute.  Flexibility is the name of the game right now.  You never know what will develop in other parts of the world.
  • Extra seating room.  I've never used upgrade vouchers until this year.  It has been a real treat to sit away from others as much as you can on a flight; especially now. 
  • Keep up to date with what your departure and arrival country requirements with respect to Covid restrictions.  For example, masking is required on planes in Canada but once I arrived to Amsterdam, they had just lifted masking requirements indoors but South Africa required it on public transport, so masks again required on the long flight over. 
I've learned to be comfortable with more technology than I ever would have signed up for on my own accord.  It hasn't been all smooth.  But being the type of person I am, I needed all the prep around me so I can actually enjoy my stay.

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

CPT 3 -- Cape Town, South Africa


Snapshots from Robben Island, Langa Township and the District Six Museum.

I would recommend visiting the District Six Museum before 

heading to Langa Township.