What is it like to Travel Internationally During the Pandemic?
I had a few trips planned at the start of the pandemic that had to be cancelled or postponed. It did not take long for me to miss the adventure, learning, and new experiences. I think I watched every single travel related show on Netflix and Hulu and I went through soooo many travel clogs on YouTube. I even went on VR explorations. Though these were fun and interesting, nothing can substitute experiencing it yourself.
Once restrictions started to be lifted, so did my spirits, but the idea of traveling was still a scary one, as much as I really wanted to.
What if I get sick? What if restrictions go back in place and I'm stuck somewhere else? What if things get cancelled in the middle of my trip? How do I keep up with the requirements? What if I don't take the right test?
All of this on the usual thoughts before travel.
Is it safe? What is appropriate to wear? Will I be okay with jet lag? Will my dog be okay at home without me (especially since we've spent every day together recently)?
Despite all of this, I decided that it was time to get back out there, and I am so glad that I did! I took a three week journey through Morocco (9 days with G Adventures and 11 days independently- with my husband, of course!)
So what was it like traveling during a pandemic?
All experiences represented were true of regulations for the USA and Morocco at my time of travel. They may not represent experiences now.
In order to fly internationally and to get into Morocco, I had to take a PCR Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arrival in Morocco. I was able to schedule this ahead of time at CVS, and it was free of charge! I especially liked that the test I took was drive through and done by me. I pulled into the drive through at my scheduled time, received a kit, completed the test myself (yay nose swabs), and put the swab into a sealed bag in a deposit box outside. It was a very easy and painless process.
My husband received his results via email about 20 hours later. My results were unfortunately inconclusive and arrived about two hours before my flight. Because I had not received my results, I was very anxious sitting in JFK airport. What if it's positive? What if I don't get them? What if I'm rejected for the flight? Thankfully, JFK airport has a 3 hour result guaranteed Covid test in the airport. Though it was a $200 charge, it was nice to have the quick convenience and assurance. I took the test in the airport and then went to grab a bite to eat. By the time I had finished my overpriced burger, I had negative results and could check in for the flight.
Covid results were checked at ticketing and baggage, upon boarding, and at customs upon arrival. I was not asked for vaccination or covid results while in the country of Morocco.
While there, masks were required indoors until eating or drinking. Most entrances to hotels and restaurants had sanitization centers with available masks and hand sanitizer.
Covid restrictions were not much of a nuisance and I actually found pandemic travel to be even better due to the small crowds. I never waited for entrance to any site, and the famously busy markets were easy and spacious to navigate. There were many locals out, but tourists were rare to see, which I especially liked.
Returning to the US had similar requirements. We had a nurse come to our hotel two days before our flight home. She did the ever so dreaded nasal swab right in our hotel lobby and we received results later that day. Again, results were checked at ticketing and baggage, during the boarding process, and in customs upon arrival.
Overall, the process of being tested was not ideal, but was not an extreme nuisance. It was certainly worth it to be able to get back out and to travel again! I am glad I traveled, and especially enjoyed the lack of crowds and the more authentic experience without other tourists. This is a unique time to travel, but I would do it all over again (and have a few more trips coming up)!