As countries slowly reopen their borders to non-essentials travels and ease movement restrictions, travelers now see a gleam of hope in resuming their business and leisure trips. Even with the indisputable presence of COVID-19, travelers aren’t waiting around any longer. Some have already taken advantage of low airfares and hotel rates currently offered to book vacations from Winter 2020 to Summer 2021. Now to guide you on your future voyages, here are 7 Things to Know About Traveling in the New Normal.

1. Safety Is Priority

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While airlines and accommodations would gladly welcome travelers back with open arms, these companies will be stringent in implementing health and safety protocols that may leave some clients feeling off about it. So, expect to undergo temperature scanning and rigorous sanitation and to fill out health declaration forms. Wearing face masks and physical distancing must also be observed at all times.

Plus, some airlines may require their passengers to take rapid testing (in the absence of swab test) before scheduled flights. Whether this will be complimentary or paid by the passenger is to be determined by the airline. We recommend travelers to check their carrier’s policy at least three weeks before the scheduled flight to avoid unexpected fees and trip hassles.

2. Airlines Policy Update

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Since major airlines have updated their cancellation policies, this should give both the carrier and passenger protection in this pandemic. For the past four months, airlines have been releasing full refunds to passengers whose flights were canceled by the pandemic lockdown. Rebooking fees were also voided to some carriers and have extended rebooking to the first quarter of 2021. For example, Korean Air already waived fees for any changes on international flights booked from April 1 to June 30, 2020, and accepts rebooking until February 28, 2021.

Meanwhile, Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific are also offering flight vouchers on top of their rebooking and full refund options to compensate passengers affected by the lockdown. These vouchers are redeemable within a year from the date of issuance.

Flexible flights are also currently offered by numerous airline companies to reboot their ticket sales. This booking arrangement enables customers to rebook or change their trip without any additional fees at a given timeframe.

3. Household Members Only Policy

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To prevent disease transmission, hotels would ask their guests that only members of the same household get to stay in a room together. Homestays, such as Airbnb, may have a different policy depending on the property host. So if you are planning a getaway with your small group of friends, better check your accommodation’s safety policy first before you book.

Another thing to consider is the restriction for specific places of origin. If your city or town happens to have active cases of COVID-19, the property reserves the right to refuse any guest.

4. Domestic Travel Is Encouraged

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A few countries may be accepting foreign tourists steadily. Various tourism arms around the world are promoting regional tours for locals to revive tourism in their respective countries. The Department of Tourism in the Philippines projected recovery in their industry from domestic travels, having destinations like Baguio, Boracay, and Siargao on top of mind for Filipino travelers. In Australia, Outback Caravans are reintroduced to families who are longing for camping adventures.

Keep in mind that domestic travel doesn’t necessarily mean that vacationing nationals can go anywhere in their country. Most countries are still limiting movements across their regional borders, especially if there is still a high concentration of COVID-19 cases in a particular destination or local tourists coming from such areas. That said, it’s always best to get information from local authorities before you make the trip.

Going on a domestic trip is probably the safest option for leisure travelers these days. Considering the unpredictable changes in the new normal guidelines, you would want to be close to home as much as possible.

5. Travelers Tracking

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Part of the new normal guideline is contact tracing, which requires individuals to provide their information and contact details. You may have filled out a contact tracing form if you had already gone out to dine at your local restaurant. Expect these contact tracing forms to be more comprehensive with your airline and accommodation.

Some countries have begun tracing citizens and foreign visitors when the pandemic first hit. With stricter surveillance, both leisure and business travelers are expected to cooperate with local authorities by updating them with their health status.

6. Insurance Matters

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Investing in travel insurance in this pandemic would be a smart purchase for any frequent traveler. Having insurance will put you at ease, knowing that you will be covered for flight and accommodation cancelations, health emergencies, and even losing valuables on your trip. Some countries also require their citizens to secure insurance before they can travel internationally.

Make sure to get insurance with a comprehensive policy for your travel needs. Simply chat with us to find out about our travel insurance offer at Viyahe.

7. Travel Assistant Is A Must

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With all of these policies and travel changes for the new normal, it may seem like traveling has gotten a little bit complicated. But thanks to technology, access to information is just a few finger-taps away. To guide you on every step of your journey, better arm yourself with Viyahe your mobile travel assistant.

Just like securing travel insurance or booking flexible flights, having Viyahe in your pocket will give you peace of mind. You can access our travel agents anytime, anywhere. Get travel advisories, find deals on flight, accommodations, and other travel needs in one app. You can even inquire about any travel information or new normal concerns; and the best part is our travel assistance is free!

Let us help you navigate the new normal and download the Viyahe app today on your mobile device.

Sources:

https://philippines.travel/safeph

https://www.doh.gov.ph/COVID-19/IATF-Resolutions

http://www.tourism.gov.ph/news_features/NewNormalforAEs.aspx

https://www.cntraveler.com/story/these-countries-are-opening-back-up-and-cautiously-preparing-for-domestic-travel

https://www.cntraveler.com/story/how-us-airlines-are-reacting-to-coronavirus

https://www.philippineairlines.com/en/aboutus/newsandevents?c=1

https://cebupacificaircorporate.com/pages/news.aspx?id=1268