Tips on how to travel international with new COVID-19 requirements

Breaking down what you need to know

HOUSTON – AAA Texas said international travel has increased and every country has new requirements to get there.

Here are some tips to understanding how to travel with COVID restrictions.

Apps and QR codes needed for proof of vaccination

You will most likely need a vaccine card, AAA recommends you take a photo of it to have a back up.

Some countries may have a specific app where you upload your card: DigiD, Travel Pass, Verifly and Navica are come examples.

You can also check your medical provider’s patient portal or MyChart. You can also request one through the vaccine administration management system (VAMS).

“The airline will have you upload that onto their app or a third-party app, which of course has to go by HIPPA guidelines to protect your privacy and then that will usually be reviewed by someone, and then once they approve that then that will generate a QR code that you show at the airport when you arrive at customs to make sure they can let you in,” said Daniel Armbruster, AAA Texas spokesperson. “There are places in Europe that require you to have your documents uploaded to a certain app which then they generate a QR code for you and that prints out what we call a vaccine passport or your vaccine certificate.”

Negative COVID test

AAA Texas said the most common mistake travelers are making right now is not taking a COVID test within the specified time frame. Some countries require a test within three days of travel, but to re-enter the U.S., it has to be within the day of travel.

“Make sure that you’re following the one day rule and not getting it mixed up with some countries are three days,” Armbruster said.

AAA tips to Know Before Traveling in 2022

• Anticipate the expenses associated with delays and cancelations including the possibility of having to stay longer if stranded.

• Pack N95 or KN95 masks, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and disposable gloves in your carry-on and make sure it is easily accessible.

• Purchase travel insurance that specifically provides coverage for travel interruption and additional expenses due to COVID-19.

• Notify credit card providers of your travel details (specify location and duration) to reduce the risk of frozen cards due to unusual activity.

• Have photos of your vaccination card and other important documents (like your passport) on your phone as a backup.

• Understand your destination’s COVID-19 restrictions and requirements including if you will need to take a test ahead of leaving and/or returning home. If so, make an appointment for a COVID-19 PCR test at least one month before departure and make sure the date of your results adheres to the timeline set by your destination (i.e. one day, three days). AAA suggests requesting a QR code from the PCR tester since more destinations require this.

Use a trusted travel advisor

The internet gave travelers the independence to book their flights, cruises, hotels, tours, rental cars, etc., yet it also forced them to go it alone when something went wrong. As recent events have shown, travelers benefit from having an expert in their corner when all or part of their trip is delayed or canceled without much notice.

A trusted travel agent can:

• Save you time, money and stress by handling the details, researching any travel restrictions or changes and coordinating plans within your travel group.

• Provide advice and advocate for you before, during and after a trip. Their extensive knowledge, training, expertise and experience help you better understand the current landscape, which at times is complicated.

• Match the right travel insurance that meets your specific needs and budget.

• Advocate on your behalf when you need to cancel or reschedule travel due to situations beyond your control.

• Quickly find alternative flights or accommodations for you if you find yourself stranded in a crowded airport.