The resumption of international travel: Everything an Indian traveller should know – The Financial Express

The Financial Express

By Arun Bagaria,
We have suppressed our wanderlust for long enough and it feels so good to smell travel in the air. After having been through the pandemic restrictions and very few international travel opportunities, Indians can now look forward to exploring the world. Think white sand beaches, snowy heights, bungee jumping in Vegas or snorkelling in Maldives. If you are the peace loving kind then you can lounge around and bask in the winter Sun in coastal France or maybe you can go history shopping in ancient castles and museums all over Europe. Whatever you might be dreaming of, the time has come to start planning your trip.
The revival of travel is being brought about by vaccination drives all over the world. India is rapidly moving towards the mark of administering 1 billion doses of the vaccine, and with each day the numbers of fully vaccinated people are increasing too. However, before you pick up the phone to call or WhatsApp your travel agent, let’s take a look at the various travel regulations in place at the leading international destinations. This will help you plan your trips better and in a hassle-free manner.
No Quarantine Destinations
Travellers that show a negative RT-PCR test report of no more than 72 hours before boarding don’t require to undergo quarantine on arrival in Maldives, South Africa, Russia, Venezuela, Iceland, Egypt, Kyrgyzstan etc. However, if someone is found positive upon arrival then they would require mandatory isolation/quarantine etc., as necessary. To travel to countries that don’t have an air-bubble agreement with India, you will first need to travel to a destination that has such an agreement with the country and operates flights to the eventual destination. After that, you can take further flights to reach the country of their choice.
The ‘Green Pass’
The biggest and the most empowering impact has come from the EU member countries. Sixteen European Union countries have a ‘Green Pass’ scheme in place for the Indian travellers who have received both their doses of Covishield. These are, France, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Hence, now you no longer need to postpone your dreams of a Swiss honeymoon, watching the Northern lights, exploring coastal Europe or spending a romantic evening in Paris as long as you have the ‘Covishield’ protection!
The Quarantine Zone
As of now, there are countries that require Indian travellers to mandatorily undergo quarantine on arrival such as UK, Qatar, Mexico, Turkey. You also need to have a negative RT-PCR report of less than 72 hours before boarding and to go for a compulsory COVID-19 test on arrival. For instance, if you travel to England, you need to undergo quarantine for 10 days even when you have negative test reports of less than 72 hours, and will have to take another COVID-19 test on or before day 2 and then on or after day 8. Only when these tests come negative, you will be allowed to freely explore the UK.
Upcoming changes in international travel
Traveling to the US will become much easier by November for the fully vaccinated Indians who test negative in an RT-PCR test taken less than 72 hours before boarding. US president Joe Biden has announced that they will be removing the country-based blanket rules of mandatory quarantine in effect currently and focusing on a person-to-person approval based on vaccination and testing status.
Traveling in the new norm
With such easing of travel norms by leading global destinations, international travel is going to gain momentum for Indians going abroad as well as the citizens of other countries coming to India. However, no matter how much we wish for the limitless fun and food experiences that international tourism offered in the past, we have to now move around cautiously whether we travel to a foreign destination or to an unexplored domestic location. There is still a need to observe COVID-19 appropriate behaviour for one’s own safety. For instance, wearing face masks/face shields, maintaining social distance and practicing hand sanitization and other hygiene practices is of utmost essence. We must remember that the virus is still not completely eliminated and travel shouldn’t facilitate its spread.
You need to keep track of constantly changing norms, and a plethora of rules and regulations especially if you wish to embark on a European trip or any other multi-destination journey internationally or even domestically. This is where the travel agents are proving to be an ideal support system by offering personalized support and regular updates on changes in regulations. The travel agents are also going the extra mile to curate best itineraries and allied services to ensure that the travellers get a hassle-free and memorable experience on their much-awaited foreign trips in the new normal!
(The author is Co-Founder, TravClan. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)
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