While it may seem exciting to travel to a new destination, travellers should do their research before they book their flight. Picture: Pexels.
While it may seem exciting to travel to a new destination, travellers should do their research before they book their flight. Picture: Pexels.

What you should know before booking an international holiday during the pandemic

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Nov 12, 2020

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With President Cyril Ramaphosa announcing the resumption of all international travel, many travellers are busy planning their holiday.

Planning an international holiday during the pandemic shouldn't be a daunting task if you organise your trip in advance.

If you are planning an international holiday, here are some tips that you should know:

Before the flight

Research, research, research

Spontaneity travel has been a trend of late, but in a Covid-19 world, research is king. Research your prefered destination before you travel. Find out whether the destination is part of South Africa's Covid-19 list, what the requirements are for travellers and if you need to quarantine. When choosing a destination, also look at the number of Covid cases and high-risk areas. While it may seem like a wonderful idea to pack your bags and leave on the first flight somewhere, spending extra time planning is key.

Flight tickets

As airlines resume operations, many have created new policies to lure travellers. Shop around for the best deal. Weigh the pros and cons of each airline. Try to ensure that your booking is flexible, that way you can change dates if needed.

Accommodation safety and health protocols are key

Club Med suggests that you decide which type of accommodation you want to book. “Do you want to stay at a resort, hotel or apartment? Once you decide, ensure that the selected accommodation are following the necessary health and safety measures. Do not be afraid to ask questions and check the reviews from travellers online,” said Olivier Hannaert, Vice President of Club Med Southern Africa.


Make copies of your passport and other travel documents like your hotel bookings and flight tickets in case of an emergency. If you need to apply for a visa, ensure that it is done at least a month before your trip.

Travel insurance

Taking travel insurance should be as vital as packing a suitcase. Travellers should ensure that they take comprehensive travel insurance and confirm that the insurance covers them for Covid-19 related incidents. Do not be shy to ask questions to get the best deal. Get as many quotes as possible.

Take a Covid-19 test

A Covid-19 test is mandatory if you want to travel to an international destination. On arrival at an airport, travellers will need to present a negative Covid-19 test result not older than 72 hours from the time of departure.

Pack the essentials

Besides packing clothing, gadgets and shoes, pack a separate vanity bag with medication, cloth face masks, alcohol-based hand sanitiser with at least 70% alcohol and disinfectant wipes with at least 70% alcohol to use on surfaces in the airport, on the plane or at your accommodation.

The early bird catches the plane

Head to the airport at least 3 to 4 hours before your departure so that you have ample time to go through the new airport procedures.

The Covid-19 processes may delay the process as some travellers may need to undergo other health checks or possibly a Covid-19 should they pose any symptoms.

On the flight

All international airlines have enforced strict Covid-19 rules, including the wearing of masks on board. Airlines such as Air France, KLM, Air Mauritius, Emirates and others have reinforced daily aircraft cleaning procedures. With the majority of aircrafts equipped with “High-Efficiency Particulate Air” or HEPA filters, identical to those used in hospital operating theatres, these filters renew cabin air every 3 minutes and extract more than 99.99% of the smallest viruses, including coronavirus type viruses.

Plan social distance activities and wear masks whenever you are out and about

While you may want nothing to snap a picture at the Eiffel Tower in Paris or visit the Taj Mahal in India, travellers should ensure that when they incorporate activities to their itinerary, they practice social distancing and wear their mask. The world is still fighting a pandemic. Being allowed to travel to a destination does not mean that the virus has gone away.

Read the latest edition of our Travel digital mag here.

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