Traveling abroad is constantly a challenge since the COVID outbreak in 2020. Many countries have travel and border restrictions since then. For the family who happen to separate from each other have to cope with the stress being apart until the permit is granted to leave or to enter the country or both before they are able to unite.
In mid of 2021, many European countries have opened their border for those who are vaccinated and only few with almost no restriction. Some countries have blanket ban based on the nationality; some blanket ban based on the travel destination where the travellers travelling from; and, some blanket ban based on the above both. However, with the surging numbers of the contracted COVID patients in many countries, more stringent measures are introduced and make the trip to go abroad a difficult task. Worse off if two travel partners are carrying a different passport from different countries.
In the last many years, I have been accumulating points to maintain the status with the airliner on their loyalty programme. It was all good until the pandemic hits and some airliner shut down their operations completely or maintain their operation with minimal route or numbers of flights to sustain in the aviation industry. The rewards from the membership is therefore limited.
Apart from the flights constantly rescheduling or cancelling, you just never know if you can travel as planned. The price of the flight also has increase tremendously since the outbreak. Some airliner has also reduced the service on board even though they have been charging more now.
When the flights are cancelled, some airliner provide cash refund and some in the forms of voucher. Different airliner has different rules, terms and conditions. The terms and conditions are constantly changing, and not easy to keep up with.
When you are thinking that it is hard just merely to handle the flights, the border and the travel restriction of each and every countries are also constantly changing. Some even provide less than 24 hours notice of change. Some countries are expecting a negative PCR test or antigen test upon arrival. For example, documentation issued within 48 hours for antigen test and 76 hours for PCR test and tested negative. If one is traveling far, with many layovers and transits, to arrive within 76 hours are a real challenge.
Many international airport also has limited shops open and many of the lounge under the loyalty programme is either shut or provide only with limited service. All these are part of the protocol and regulations set by the local authorities to curb with the COVID outbreak situation.
Challenge in traveling is not only limited to air travel only, it affected those who travel by ships or boats as well as by land.
It has been one and half years that I have been staying at home most of the time. I have not seen my loved one and family for long time too. I leave home only for the essential needs. During the pandemic, I was diagnosed with a growth in my belly and had been through a major surgery last year. Lockdown do not do me much harm as I was recuperating at home. However, it can be stressful and challenge at time and depressed when I cannot do what I wanted to do such as travelling after staying at home too long.
Going into the mid of 2021, I am looking forward for a change instead of sitting at home counting the days. I shall gear up everything and pack my suitcase for trip. I was fortunate to complete recently with two COVID vaccine jab. No one can stop the COVID virus from spreading since they are constantly mutate and spread, but I can try to enjoy more outdoor activity, continue wearing a mask, practise social distancing and use sanitiser frequently when I am out.
Travel will never the same again during the pandemic. However, I am still with open hearth that each and every trips will still a rewarding one and I shall be a cautious, sensible and responsible travellers wherever I go.