Travelling During COVID: Internationally & Domestically

by Sydney Binnington July 14, 2020

Travelling During COVID: Internationally & Domestically

**We don't encourage travelling during a global pandemic, ultimately whether your travel is essential for you is decision you make for yourself. But many of you have reached out with questions so, for curiosity's sake.. here is what we know as of 07/14/20**

🙋🏼‍♀️ Btw this is Sydney, if we haven't met, here's my Coles Notes (or Sparks notes if you're American). I currently live in Atlanta, Georgia 🇺🇸 and have taken 4 domestic flights since lockdown began... (Actually 5 if you count the DAY they announced lock down and I got on a flight home to ATL by the grace of god with no identification... another tale for another time 🥴

Plus, having a couple of friends who have travelled internationally successfully and unsuccessfully. I'm gonna tells ya what we know below.

Domestically Travelling: (Within 🇺🇸)

  • Flying within the US has been business as usual- actually way less hectic because there are less people. On my two latest flights I didn't even need to take liquids or my laptop out of my carry-on bag at security.
  • I can actually get through the whole airport with only touching the bins for  belongings at security, and my seatbelt on the plane. After which I hastily sanitize!
  • You wear a mask throughout the airport and have to keep it on for the duration of your flight. Only for one flight was I asked to lower my mask for ID prior to boarding at the security checkpoint. As you can see in the above photo I doubled up with two masks too (not even sure that helps but it made me feel better 🤓)
  • Flights are not actually as cheap as everyone's been buzzing about. My guess would be because there are less routes, therefore less planes flying and less seats available on each. I've flown Southwest and Delta and they only allowed people in every other seat. I've heard American is filling every seat though.. Fly that at your own risk! 🤷🏼‍♀️
  • Airport lounges are reduced to packaged snacks at the buffet. Bar was open though 😅
  • No meals available on flights. Delta gave out cute little care packages with water, cookies, cheez-its and a mini purell packs! Southwest gave a bag of mixed nuts which was appreciated as well. But I ate like a squirrel stuffing them under my mask.
  • The airline staff were very cautious with minimal customer interaction.
  • Restrooms are open for use on flights.
  • I've heard flying within 🇨🇦 is pretty much the same deal although have not been up there.

Cross Border Travel: (🇺🇸 ↔️ 🇨🇦)

  • Ground border is CLOSED for anyone without a passport for the country of entry. UNLESS:
    • you are married to someone who is also present with their passport for that country AND you have your marriage certificate present with you as well. 
    • OR you have a valid working visa and a reason for immediate entry into said country (an authorized letter for immediate work) but even then you're not 100% guaranteed entry.
    • I'm not sure about PR status but I'd assume that's 👍 for entry.
    • Have also heard of a case where a couple crossed from the US to Canada and brought their lease agreement as proof they were quarantined together/from the same household. (You could also possibly argue that you're common-law) One was just Canadian and the other was just American.
  • Yes, Canada announced 'the border is closed' but that seems to apply only for entry INTO Canada. We've heard from people who hold no US documents who were let through security at Pearson and onto their flight to the US with minimal questioning. What I've GATHERED is there isn't an official list of reasons defining 'essential travel', the level of essential-ness is based on the traveller- 'how badly do they need to get to where they're going... probably pretty badly if they're risking going in a global pandemic'. I do not know of anyone who has been turned away FLYING into the US from Canada.
  • Upon entering Canada you do need to quarantine for 14 days. The local authorities will most likely phone or even stop by the address you provide on your customs form to make sure you are complying. No exceptions, not even for 'essential errands' like grocery shopping. So have a plan unless you want to risk the $$$ fine.
  • The only US state I have heard of with a mandatory 14 day quarantine upon entry is New York.
  • Of course, same rules apply to keeping your mask on throughout the airport and while on the flight.
  • I do not think that travel insurance covers COVID related illness in either country if you don't have local insurance. 🚨🚨🚨!

Travelling to Europe: 🇪🇺

  •  The situation across Europe varies by country and changes almost daily so it's hard to cover entirely.
  • If you REALLY need to get to a European country and don't have a passport for said country, you can access most countries from the US/Canada via Serbia or the UK. However if you're coming from the US the safest bet is to stop in Canada first where you will have to account for a 14 day quarantine before your next destination. It's a long haul.

Keep in mind, travelling anywhere greatly increases your chances of contracting COVID, as well as the continual spread of the virus. Also, if you were to contract it abroad know that insurance will most likely not cover your expenses, and consider the quality of medical care in the countries you plan to be in.

For example, friends of mine have a trip to Jamaica for this fall they plan to keep. It is legal for tourists to go to Jamaica but the rules so far state they must take a COVID test upon landing and quarantine for 48 hours until the results arrive. If results are negative, you are in the clear to enjoy their vacation. But- if the test comes back positive you cannot fly out and will have to endure the virus in a Jamaican hospital (luckily I've never had to go to a hospital there, so I can't comment on their health care system but just be aware that you could be somewhere with care much different than you're accustomed to!)

Hope this was helpful and answered some queries. All this info was gathered by word of mouth and personal experience. If you travel across borders often you'll know the decision of whether you're granted entry ultimately falls upon the customs agent you get paired with at the border - can be a bit like Russian roulette 😅 If you have any information not mentioned here, or if you have questions or found this helpful please comment below!

And if you do need to get somewhere essential, we wish you a very SAFE journey. Wear your masks and wash those hands! 👽♥️





Sydney Binnington
Sydney Binnington

Author

Founder of Canalien & Co. Avid traveller. Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario 🇨🇦. Currently living in Atlanta, Georgia 🇺🇸 🍑


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