The return to travel: How to stay safe
Summer is here, school is out, and vacation season is in full swing. With many COVID-19 restrictions being lifted around the world, people are taking those dream trips to faraway places again. But since it’s been so long that many of us have travelled at all, we chatted with Omega Miguel, travel team lead, to get tips on what to remember when planning any trip.
Keep up to date with regulations
While COVID-19 restrictions have been significantly loosened in many places, they still differ around the world.
“As travel restrictions are constantly changing, check and understand the Government of Canada’s travel advisories before booking a trip and before travelling. The restrictions required at the time you booked your trip might not be the same as before your departure. Also, it would be helpful to check the requirements for all travelers returning from outside of Canada,” Miguel says.
She also recommends visiting your destination’s official website to learn about their specific restrictions. “Depending on where you’re travelling, you may need to quarantine upon arrival, provide proof of vaccination, a negative COVID-19 test result, or proof of insurance coverage.” Miguel says.
On top of COVID-19 restrictions, you should also check your destination’s standard visa requirements and ensure your passport is up to date, Miguel says. Also, some countries require that your passport to be valid for at least six months from travel, so if it’s been a while since you checked your passport, make sure it’s not expiring soon.
Miguel recommends you take appropriate precautions and follow safety protocols while travelling. She also suggests downloading the Government of Canada’s Travel Smart app. The app lets you:
- find up-to-date travel advice and advisories on over 200 destinations worldwide.
- find emergency contact information for embassies and consulates abroad and the 24-7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
- find continuously updated wait times at key Canada-U.S. border crossings listed by distance from your location.
- connect to travel.gc.ca’s social media accounts, where you can ask questions, share travel advice and learn more about travelling safely and smarter abroad.
- sign up for the Registration of Canadians Abroad service, which updates you if there’s a personal emergency at home or a natural disaster or civil unrest at your destination.
Get travel coverage
Being travel smart also means being insured.
“When travelling outside of Manitoba, medical expenses incurred are not fully covered by the provincial health plan. The medical cost outside of Canada can be very high,” Miguel says.
On top of preventing large medical bills, travel coverage may also protect you when your baggage is lost or transportation is cancelled, or in such emergencies like a family member’s illness or death while you’re away or if there is an emergency at your travel destination.
For every out-of-province trip, even within Canada, you should purchase travel health coverage, Miguel says.
It’s also vital to read your policy provisions to know what exactly is covered, Miguel says, as not all packages are equal.
Depending on what kind of trip you’re taking, the coverage you’ll need will vary. Learn more about Manitoba Blue Cross travel plans.
As the global travel advisory to avoid all non-essential travel due to COVID-19 is lifted, our standard plans will cover emergency COVID-related health expenses for those who are fully vaccinated or if a traveller is not yet eligible for a vaccine due to their age (provided the destination does not have a COVID-related travel advisory). For those who are not vaccinated or in the event of a COVID-related non-essential travel advisory, there are also plans that include coronavirus coverage.