The first quarter of each year is the time when we deal with our New Year’s resolutions. Many of them concern traveling, and since the winter weather in Poland can be very capricious, some people dream of snow-covered alpine slopes at this time, others want to soak up the atmosphere of foreign metropolises, yet another see themselves under a palm tree on a hot, paradise beach. Regardless of whether you choose to explore the world on your own or decide to buy an organized trip at a travel agency, before going on a holiday abroad, it is worth getting acquainted with some rules that will allow you to prepare well for the trip and reduce unnecessary stress associated with traveling during the Covid-19 pandemic. We invite you to read the first part of the article, from which you will learn, among others, what to consider when choosing a destination during a pandemic, when and where to verify information and how to get an appropriate vaccination certificate. Please keep in mind that this article is about the Polish reality, which does not mean, however, that it does not provide you with universal information about traveling during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Setting priorities
Italy, Mexico, Egypt, United Arab Emirates … Before you spontaneously buy plane tickets or book a hotel room, it is worth spending a time thinking about what is important to you, and whether you are able to adapt to the entry requirements of a given country. If a safe journey and stay is your priority, it is worth choosing a destination where not only full vaccination, but also a PCR test is required. If you do not want to spend additional money on testing the whole family, a better choice may be a destination where the results of cheaper antigen tests are accepted or where there is no obligation to present the test for Covid-19 at all. Unvaccinated people who are not convalescents, who do not want to spend their holidays in quarantine, have to temporarily limit their trips abroad to countries that do not impose special entry restrictions for them. When traveling during a pandemic, it is also worth considering whether, in the event of an illness, the country to which we are going is able to offer medical care at the appropriate level. If you put health before adventure, it might be better to choose the sunny Canary Islands over very popular Zanzibar.
- The principle of limited trust
Once you have established your expectations, you should read the terms of travel to the destination of our choice. If you want to book your holidays via a travel agency, be sure to read the information on the entry conditions available on the travel agency websites. Be inquisitive and verify the information on the hotlines of travel advisors. Read the information for travelers available on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs carefully. If you can, please read the conditions of entry to the chosen country on the government websites of that country. Please note that individual regions of a country may have their own guidelines. … and ask again and again, check, and confirm the received information.
- Transfers and airline requirements
Destination selected, you checked that the country of travel does not require any vaccination or test (in several sources), you are already packing your suitcases … One moment! You must check whether the airlines you choose do not have their own epidemic requirements. It may turn out that you will not avoid, for example, a PCR test not only from Poland to abroad, but also before boarding on the way back. If you plan to transfer to another plane, check if the country where the transfer takes place, has no specific requirements or restrictions.
- Changes, changes, changes
Change has been the only constant when traveling since the Covid-19 pandemic began. Despite careful verification of the destination, it may happen that a few days earlier, or even on the day of travel, you will be surprised by a sudden change in regulations, be it in Poland or in the country of your destination. Take it easy, but also be up to date to react appropriately, if possible. If you did not buy tickets for the plane in the “half free” promotion, seriously consider purchasing appropriate travel cancellation insurance.
- Covid passport
Single-dose vaccination, first dose, full dose, complementary dose, booster… It’s easy to make a mistake. Remember that vaccination evidence (Covid passport) is available in Poland for download at pacjent.gov.pl. The QR code is generated separately after each dose is taken. If a country requires proof of vaccination with two doses, and you have already received the third, print the document confirming the intake of two doses with the appropriate QR code (why waste time explaining the situation at the border). Please also bear in mind that the Covid passport has a specific validity, and individual countries outside the Schengen area may introduce their own regulations regarding the type of acceptable vaccinations and their validity.
We invite you to read the second part of the article, in which you can read, among others about the types of Covid-19 tests and their validity, and about additional requirements related to departure and return from abroad.
If you use organized forms of travel, the travel agency has certain obligations to inform you about the rules related to travelling and to ensure the conditions of travel and accommodation in accordance with your booking. If you believe that your travel agency has not provided you with comprehensive information, was misleading or the standard did not correspond to the offer, you can submit a complaint. The first actions related to the complaint should be taken already during the vacation. If you need legal advice related to your trip, including submitting a complaint to a travel agency and taking further actions, please contact the Law Firm via the contact form available here.