Whether you are a frequent traveler or not, there are always many things you need to do to prepare before leaving for your trip. Covid-19 has added a few more things to that list, which is why we've put together a comprehensive pre-flight checklist to help you travel with ease in these uncertain times.
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Pre-Flight Covid-19 Checklist
Before you embark on your trip, make sure that you have checked all of these off your list to ensure you don't have unnecessary delays.
- Check every detail in your itinerary
- Have a clear idea of when you should arrive at the airport
- Make sure you have all the travel documents you’ll need
- Have a vaccination certificate or a negative PCR (requirements will vary)
- Get travel insurance, even if you’re unlikely to use it
- Communicate your special needs to the airline
- Understand your airline’s baggage policy
- Take essentials with you, in your carry-on bag
- Learn about customs restrictions
- For faster customs checks, leave gifts unwrapped
- Take your hand sanitizer with you
- Wear a face mask, and take some extra ones with you
Now, let's take a deeper look into what you'll need to prepare for your travel.
Check Every Detail In Your Itinerary
Pay close attention to the date and time of your flight. Errors can happen, either on your part or the booking system. Always check that both time and departure dates are correct.
If you have a layover, make sure you have enough time to get to the next terminal. Not all airports are the same size, some can be huge and others are quite small. Generally, you can find all the information you need on the airport’s website.
Make Sure You Have All Required Documents
To enter your chosen destination, you will be asked to hand in a couple of documents, which will vary according to your country of destination and your nationality. Hence, for some countries, you may require a visa, for others just your passport, and for others, your ID will suffice.
In either case, such documentation must always meet the following requirements:
- It must include your name, date of birth, and gender
- It must be valid for the whole duration of your trip (including departure and returning date)
- It must match your name as it appears on your plane ticket
- If you have a layover in a country other than your destination, check if a visa is required to do so. There are countries like the US or Canada where even if you are to stay there for a couple of hours, you must have a visa to get in.
Bring Your Covid-19 Certificate
When arriving at your destination, you may also be required to have testing to ensure you are Covid-free. Depending on your destination, you may either need a vaccination credential or a negative Covid-19 test. Each country has its own policies regarding its approved vaccines, and tests.
Typically, airlines will require a negative RT-PCR test within a few days of departure. Check with your airline to ensure you take the right test.
Get Travel Insurance
This will come in handy in case of an inconvenience, such as getting sick during your trip, or the airline accidentally losing or damaging your luggage. Chances are you won’t put your travel insurance to use. But it’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially in the midst of a global pandemic.
Let The Airline Know About Any Special Needs
Whether you need a special meal or wheelchair access, let the airline know in advance. In most cases, you can add this information to your reservation during your online check-in, 48 hours before your flight.
What To Pack
Mind The Baggage Policy
Baggage regulations will change depending on the airline. Therefore, we recommend you take note of the carry-on and checked baggage size and weight restrictions.
Make The Most Of Your Carry-On Bag
As we already mentioned, there are rare cases in which the checked baggage is accidentally lost by the airline. With that in mind, we recommend you always pack your valuable items (such as medication, electronics, money, or car keys) in your carry-on bag, thus you can keep them with you at all times.
You might also want to consider adding a change of clothes to your carry-on. If you are left without your luggage for a day or two until the airline returns them to you, or your connection flight needs to be rescheduled due to weather conditions, you will already have everything you need and won’t have to go shopping.
Moreover, be careful when it comes to weight restrictions. Sometimes the indicated weight applies to both your personal items (like a backpack) and the carry-on bag, and sometimes it only applies to the bag, without considering the personal item. So, if you don’t want to pay extra charges, or throw away stuff at the airport, pay close attention to the airline’s policies. You’ll find this information on their website.
Get Familiar With Customs Information
Each country has its own policy regarding the goods that travelers can bring with them. This can apply to cigarettes, alcohol, plants, electronics, etc. Therefore, if you don’t want anything to be thrown away by a customs officer, check their website before packing.
Leave Any Gifts Unwrapped
In the case of a security or customs check, where your belongings would need to be inspected, it’s always better to have easy access to your stuff. By keeping things unwrapped, the agents can work faster and more efficiently, and save you time.
Don’t Forget Hand Sanitizer
Airports and airplanes are equipped to be safe during these pandemic times, however, it is always good to bring your own sanitizer to keep your hands clean at all times. And as long as you’re carrying a travel-size bottle (under 100ml), airport security is very unlikely to consider your hand sanitizer dangerous.
Prepare The Face Masks You’ll Need During Your Flight
Flying is extremely safe, as long as you wear a face mask.
Considering that face masks need to be changed every couple of hours, make sure to have extras. When deciding how many masks you need, you'll need to consider the duration of your flight, the time that it takes you to arrive at the airport, getting on board, and getting to your accommodation once you have landed.
In other words, think not only of the flight itself but how long it takes you to go through all the stages of flying.