Business travel has always had its risks and rewards. The rewards can include landing a new customer; renewing a big contract with an existing customer; attending an important conference, etc. The risks of travel have typically included weather delays, natural disasters, and terrorism. But moving forward, business travel comes with new travel risks. More specifically, COVID-19 and its effect around the world.
New Travel in 2021
As business travel begins to return, the risk increases with COVID-19. Airlines and airports have worked very hard to develop new safety protocols. Airports, hotels, and car rental companies have as well. Travel restrictions and requirements can be complex and vary by destination. Even within the same country, different states or provinces have implemented and maintained entry rules for incoming travellers. Business travelers may face a very different experience even in a familiar location.
Visa approvals for international trips can now take months instead of weeks. Additional documentation and business justification may be required to qualify for “essential travel” status. Add to that Covid-19 testing or quarantine requirements. As a traveller, you may need a negative “pre-travel” covid test and you may need another covid test upon arrival. Depending on the destination, you may need to quarantine for a period. And that same testing regime may be required to return.
New Travel Risks in 2021
The rise in travel activity around the world will give rise to the risk of Covid-19 transmission. As a result, there will be intermittent border openings and entry restrictions by country that may make international travel challenging throughout 2021 and into 2022. Low-risk activities may be different in the destination. The simple act of walking through a familiar neighborhood in the evening may be riskier than it was before the pandemic.
Know Before You Go (Research):
Quite simply, booking a trip is not as simple as it was pre-pandemic. You need proper and complete professional travel advice. And that is where a travel professional/agent comes into play. They have ready access to advisories and restrictions, entry requirements, insurance, etc. This is no time to have doubts about your trip. And to ease the airport screening process, download the Canadian Air Transport (CATSA) “breeze through security” mobile app.
Stick with Top Travel Companies:
Major companies, like Air Canada, devised covid protocols and processes last year. These have naturally evolved over time based on updated health guidelines. Touchless systems and deep cleaning are very important but so are covid related rebooking and change policies.
Be Prepared and Flexible:
You will need to bring your full arsenal of covid protection items. Multiple face masks, hand sanitizer, and wipes. Follow public health guidelines and be prepared to wipe and sanitize everything you touch. Plan well but be prepared for changes. You might want to take a later flight if your chosen flight is very full. You might want to have an alternate hotel in mind for a variety of reasons. A car rental is probably a great choice for flexibility and staying safe.
The name of the game is to stay safe at any time but particularly during a pandemic. As mentioned above, you will probably need to have a covid test before departure and possibly at your destination. If you are fully vaccinated, you will bypass most covid entry requirements. Proof of your vaccine inoculation will be required and possibly a “vaccine passport”.
Follow local safety guidelines and you will show respect for others and the destination. This is a great time to visit smaller restaurants, cities, and attractions that have been missing travellers during the pandemic.
Above all, stay safe and enjoy the wonder of travel again and into the future!