Over the weekend, I braved a Travel Expo and was greeted by a crowd-filled convention hall, with would-be travelers of all ages ready to take to the skies and seas in the next six months.
Revenge Travel is clearly alive and well, even with higher airfares, costlier accommodations, plus travel extras including insurance against Covid-19. I’ve taken a few trips in the past year when borders around the world started opening up, and have come to realize that one of the headaches is coping with the ever-changing travel requirements.
Because border restrictions are fluid, it makes it harder to decide on just when to fly. Unlike in 2021 and 2022 when you could rebook tickets at no cost, now there are charges including rebooking fees plus taxes and the fare difference. This means that the travel deal you snapped up could end up costing you a lot more if you had to change your travel dates.
To help you get to your vacation (and back) worry-free, consider these travel hacks to keep both you and your wallet healthy.
#1 Keep your distance for 1 to 2 weeks
Many of the ticket rebookings are from people getting sick just before their travel dates. When you have planned your vacation, try to limit your outings between one to two weeks before. When you go out, practice physical distancing and wear masks if possible to keep all viruses away, not just Covid-19.
#2 Stock up on Covid-19 home test kits
Should you develop symptoms, it’s good to have these test kits handy. You can take one to help you decide if you will stick to your travel dates, or consider changing them. Best to also travel with test kits so you can check anytime during the trip if you get a fever or the sniffles. Test kits can also be expensive abroad so it’s a good idea to bring your own just in case.
#3 Monitor Covid-19 travel restrictions to your destination
More and more destinations are easing their Covid-19 travel restrictions, and you should monitor these online. But I found out that there can be too many websites, some not so up to date, and many are not the official ones. You can check with your travel agency, or from the airline if you booked with them directly. But even then, it can be quite confusing.
One useful hack I am happy to share is to just check with Philippine Airlines here: https://www.philippineairlines.com/covid-information-hub/covid-requirements This site can help you determine what you need before you leave the Philippines, plus what you need before you go back.
#4 No Boosters? Unvaccinated? Don’t pay for that Covid-19 test yet
Travelers who only received the 2nd dose series or single dose vaccine for Covid-19 used to be asked to present negative RT PCR or Antigen Test result valid within 48 to 24 hours prior to departure. That is also changing. Some countries no longer have any restrictions and do not even ask for proof of vaccination.
On a recent trip to Japan with an unvaccinated companion, we did not have to present any proof of vaccination on arrival but had to comply with a different set of requirements on our way home. Entering Manila, unvaccinated travelers need to present a negative Antigen Test result taken within 24 hours prior to departure.
#5 Not all Covid-19 tests are equal
If you have to present a negative RT PCR or Antigen Test test on arrival at any airport, you need to make sure that the test is acceptable to their standards. Governments provide their list of accredited testing centers, and these centers must be able to provide a certification valid for travel use. Sadly, there are also a number of “testing centers” that are not accredited but will tell you otherwise so be careful.
If you need to present a test on arrival to Manila and did not get one, not to worry – you can take a test at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport for P600. We decided not to pay JPY50,000 for an RT-PCR test in Tokyo, and decided to take the risk on arrival, which saved us a lot of money. But of course, we were also confident all of us were free of Covid-19 on arrival.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.