Hello, Doug and Joyce here,
Some of you know we recently traveled to Uganda with a stopover in New York on the way back. We won’t bore you with our travel log (but if you want that, go to Doug’s Facebook page). Instead, we thought we would share with you some of the perspectives we gained traveling during a pandemic.
Please note all of this is from the viewpoint of fully vaccinated people.
We travel quite a bit, but the most stressful 48 hours in our travel lives was the time between the mandatory pre-departure Covid test and when we got the results. A positive test at that point ruins the whole trip. You cannot leave the country. Be aware you probably will feel the same stress! We took the additional precaution of imposing a personal lockdown for a couple of weeks before our departure, where we limited in-person interaction with others. (See below for a discussion of travel insurance when traveling during the pandemic.)
Once we got out of the country, we had a great travel experience! We are tourists, traveling to tourist destinations. If you’re planning travel for another purpose, such as charitable work, there probably would be different parameters to worry about.
So, if you travel as a tourist, you will find we are in a one-of-a kind travel sweet spot. We found our destinations uncrowded (even New York), and everyone was very happy to see us, especially in Uganda, a poor country where tourism is a big part of the economy.
If you limit your destination choice to places where they are taking the pandemic seriously (such as Uganda and New York), you will likely find, as we did, that everywhere you go as a tourist, people you interact with are taking all precautions. Once at our destination, we felt very comfortable and were able to relax and enjoy our time there. They don’t want you to get sick! They want you to go home and tell people to come.
We booked the most direct flight to Uganda we could find. If you make a stopover where you leave the airport transit area, you could trigger additional testing. We didn’t want that risk.
We thought we would be tested again upon arrival in Uganda, but that didn’t happen. After they checked our vaccine cards, they practically waved us through customs. It was one of the smoothest entries we have made into a foreign country.
Finally, about travel insurance. If you book a trip through a tour operator, you likely reach a point before departure where the entire tour cost becomes non-refundable. So, you might want to consider trip cancellation insurance, but check the fine print to be sure it covers the pandemic. You may need to upgrade to the very pricey “cancel for any reason” insurance if you really want to be sure you’re covered (but again, check the fine print). And don’t forget to purchase your insurance within a short time after your first trip deposit. Otherwise, a cancellation due to a pre-existing existing condition might not be covered.
That’s about it. We hope you find this helpful in getting yourselves back out there!