SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — With the advent of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, many saw their travel plans cut short, postponed or cancelled entirely. Entire countries closed their borders to outsiders, and some are still limiting who can come in.
Vaccination has offered a renewed hope for those looking to travel, but many countries and modes of travel are now requiring proof of vaccination. KELOLAND News spoke with Lorie Buus, a travel consultant with All About Travel, to find out what you need to now if you’re planning a trip.
In terms of travel options that require vaccinations, the big one Buus points out is the Cruise line industry. “If you want to do any type of cruising, whether it be river cruise or ocean cruise, they are requiring those who want to travel — to be totally vaccinate,” she said.
While you can currently travel quite freely within the borders of the United States without having to show vaccination status, Buus says there is one exception. “Right now Hawaii is one [state] that is requiring vaccination to travel to without any of the other requirements such as quarantine days.”
When it comes to travelling on cruise lines, Buus says the process is fairly straightforward. “There’s actually a form,” she says. “Some cruise lines are using an app called VeriFLY — you fill everything out, it’s all part of your profile with that particular company — there’s a way that you upload your proof of vaccination through that app.” Another vaccine passport app mentioned by Buus is Clear.
According to Buus, this type of “vaccination passport” is nothing new when it comes to international travel.
“International travel deals with this anyway,” she said. “People have been having to show proof of certain vaccinations for years — there’s several places that require a certain vaccination of some sort and you have to provide that proof. People have done it freely for years.”
Buus attributes the attention that vaccine passports have gotten lately to the widespread nature of a global pandemic. “It’s just a little more widespread,” she said. “It’s on a larger scale.”
Buus notes that many countries also require foreign travelers to get a visa. “You cannot get the visa unless you have proof of your vaccination,” she said.
When travelling, Buus recommends treating your vaccine card the same way you would treat your passport. “Most people that travel internationally will travel with their passport, but they’ll also travel with a copy of their passport, and more than likely they have a photo of their passport stored in their phone.”
Buus says having these backups is important in case your card is damaged or destroyed. In terms of protecting your card, often simply made from paper, Buus recommends getting a small clear sleeve or even a zip-lock bag to carry your card.
Buus says the most challenging part of operating a travel agency in the pandemic has been the nature of change. “Things are changing daily. When somebody calls me and asks me ‘can I travel to Aruba?, can I travel to the U.K?., can I travel to Germany?’ I truly go and research every destination every time. I do not rely on my memory because it changes that often.”
If you are planning to travel outside the country, the U.S. State Department recommends looking over their Traveler’s Checklist to find out specific information about your destination including necessary documentation.