Essential tips for essential travel

Airplane seats waiting and ready for boarding

Not everyone is ready to get back in the air, but many people still have trips they need to take. Travel is slowly increasing with essential travel leading the way. If you’re in that boat (or plane, actually) there are some things you should know before you go, i.e. essential tips for essential travel.

Most importantly, you should know that the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) has instituted several measures to ensure your security screening experience is as safe and secure as possible.

Wear A Face Covering

People travelling by plane from and within Canada need to bring their face covering. Face coverings need to cover the nose and mouth, be made of at least two layers of tightly-woven fabric (such as cotton or linen) and secured to the head. (Check out Public Health Agency of Canada’s guidelines, including instructions on how to make your mask.)

Use Hand Sanitizer When Out and About

At major airports, hand sanitizing units have been placed by the checkpoints to be used by the public. You can also have one bottle of hand sanitizer up to 355 mL in your carry-on – that is in addition to the 100 mL bottles that fall under the usual liquids’ restrictions. Keeping hands clean is especially important to help prevent the virus from spreading.

Screening Checkpoint at Security

Temperature screening at an airport in Canada

If you’re flying out of one of Canada’s 15 busiest airports, you’ll have your temperature checked when you arrive at the screening checkpoint. You will not be permitted to proceed through screening if your temperature, after two separate tests, is at or above 38⁰C. Note that if you exhibit symptoms of illness such as a cough or difficulty breathing, you will be required to leave the checkpoint.

While in the queue and the screening checkpoint, you must keep two metres between yourself and other passengers. Hold on to your own electronic or printed boarding pass or other documents of entitlement while they are scanned.

Travel Safely

Travel myths abound but the facts are the facts. Aviation is an essential service, ensuring people and goods get to where they need to go, and CATSA has taken every step possible to ensure this happens safely. You can go to their website for more information, or you can download their app for Android or iOS.

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Returning home after living abroad in the middle of a pandemic

International relocation is never easy. Once you consider all the aspects you have to take care of, and all the issues you’ll have to face, you’ll soon see that it is one of the most complicated projects a person can undertake. Now, add to that the complexity of moving during a pandemic, and you will soon see why most moving companies don’t recommend dealing with it now. But, if you are truly keen on returning home after living abroad in the middle of a pandemic, there is a way that you can tackle it. And to help you make this a bit easier, we are going to go through the major points.

Returning home during the coronavirus pandemic

The important thing to understand about returning home during the coronavirus pandemic is that you need to plan carefully. While certain optimists hope that this will all blow over in a month or two, we could be looking at a pandemic that can take a full year to resolve. During this time, travel is limited, to say the least. Some countries allow their citizens to come back home, while others outright ban travel. And whatever the current situation is in your country, it can suddenly change. After all, two months ago, nobody thought that COVID-19 was anything serious. So, what we strongly recommend is that you plan carefully before you move.

Is it absolutely necessary to travel?

Once you do a bit of research, you will see that shipping your items to your home country can be much easier than completely moving there. If you have friends or relatives that can handle your items, you should consider finding a shipping company and arrange for their pickup. The biggest reason why countries either discourage or outright ban travel is that COVID-19 is highly contagious. Therefore, moving back home is much more dangerous than simply shipping your items. Our advice is to carefully consider whether traveling is the right decision.

How to prepare for the journey back home

If it is vital that you return home, along with your items, you need to prepare properly. First, we suggest that you go over the legal documentation required for returning home after living abroad. The last thing you need is to get stuck in an airport. So, make sure that you are actually able to come back home before you set out on your journey.

If you can relocate back home, you need to find a reliable company that can help you move anywhere. We would like to remind you again that international moving is arguably one of the most difficult types of relocation. Therefore, you need someone capable and reliable to help you out.

Looking for movers

The best place to start looking for movers is online. See which local moving companies offer international moving services and see which ones have the best ratings. Most companies offer free online estimates, but these should be taken with a grain of salt. At best, they will give you an idea of what your move will cost. But, the actual costs will be much more difficult to calculate, which is why they may differ substantially.

Keep in mind that not all moving companies can successfully deal with an international move, so ensure that the movers you hire have dealt with relocations similar to yours. Also, keep in mind that your movers need to work within the constraints that both your current and your home country have put in place. Therefore, your relocation might be much more complicated than you originally envisioned.

Safety measures

When returning home after living abroad in the middle of a pandemic, your primary concern should be staying safe. Luckily, doing so with COVID-19 is pretty straightforward. There are only a couple of aspects that you need to adhere to at all times:

  • Wash your hands as often as possible.
  • Keep your hands away from your face.
  • Wear a mask when spending time with strangers indoors.
  • Practice social distancing as much as possible.

Do this, and you are pretty much guaranteed to remain safe. Now, if you are a part of any high-risk groups for COVID-19, such as those with respiratory problems, you shouldn’t even consider moving. If you are considered at risk, the country you are currently in probably won’t allow you to move in the first place.

Packing

When it comes to your items, you only need to ensure that they are properly packed. In order to do this, there are two routes you can take. You can either choose to pack by yourself, which means both getting the necessary packing supplies and following a packing guide. Or, you can hire full-service movers and let them do the packing for you. If time is of the essence, which is probably the case since you need to move now, your best bet is to go with hiring professionals. That way, you will only have to bring essential travel items with you. By doing so, you will avoid rookie packing mistakes, and you will give yourself more time to prepare for your move.

What is returning home after living abroad going to be like

Once you come back home, you will probably have to spend some time in quarantine to ensure that you are free from COVID-19. The length and the necessity of quarantine will depend on the measures instated by your home country, so make sure to study up on them to know what awaits you. Once you move in, you will probably have to wait a while until you can change your legal documents. And, you probably won’t be able to see your relatives and friends for some time. So sit tight, and try to enjoy the fact that you are home.

Your Pre-Road-Trip Checklist

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The modern world offers few surprises. Taking a trip around the world is just a few clicks away– now you can inspect photos, go to the street view on Google Maps and read exhaustive information about locations on Wikipedia. But who can shake off the call to adventure? Every now and then, the road trip itch needs to be scratched, but it requires meticulous preparation. If you decide to jump into your car and take off with a group of friends or family members, here is a pre-road-trip checklist.

How to pack?

If you are going on a road trip for more than two days, you will need two essential items – a bag or a backpack you can carry around and a proper suitcase. The traveling wardrobe goes into your suitcase – two pairs of jeans, a jacket (and a raincoat for possible rain days) and several comfortable shirts (long-sleeved are better than short-sleeved – you can always fold your sleeves).

roadtrip2

As far as underwear and socks go, the number depends on the number of days you will spend on the trip. Put all your toiletries in a single case –a vanity case or a toiletry bag. It is crucial to pack the one made of cloth and nylon so it can take up less space once you put it in the suitcase.

As far as a backpack goes, put all the things you need to keep within arm’s reach inside – your wallet, money, ID, credit card, additional documentation, smartphone/tablet/laptop or all three if you need them.

How to check your vehicle?

roadtrip3

It’s crucial to check your vehicle and tune it up before the trip. First of all, check your car fluids – which include engine oil, brake, power steering and transmission fluids, and coolant. Even the most fastidious drivers forget to check the windshield washer fluid from time to time, so use this as a reminder.

You do not have to be a car expert to know what sort of engine oil you need – when you pop the hood, it should be printed out on the engine. Take a piece of throwaway cloth and use a stick to dip it into the engine oil to check how fresh it is. Smearing the stick across the cloth will show you how dirty the oil is and if it warrants changing. The staining should be minimal and it should not smell burnt. When it comes to reliability, Castrol engine oil is a safe bet.

If the coolant level is low, pour in more antifreeze, and check whether it already comes with a 50/50 water ratio mix. Also, do not forget to check if seat belts, doors and brake lights are in pristine condition. If you come across more than a few minor problems, you should probably go to the local car service shop and get the help of professionals.

How to leave your home?

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You need to secure your household against potential break-ins. Cancel your mail and newspaper deliveries while you are gone or ask the neighbor to collect them for you – a pile of papers invites robbers to your front door. Additionally, ask a neighbor to park in your driveway while you are out of town and put motion detectors on your exterior lights. Secure all doors and windows before you leave, and turn on the house alarm (if you have one). Empty and unplug the freezer and the refrigerator (for long trips) unless someone will be living in your household and taking care of it while you are gone.

How to create a playlist?

Every true road trip has to include a playlist of appropriate songs. Heartland and blue-collar rock, glam and arena rock classics, new age and post-punk revival, as well as (yes, we are going there) country music are just some of the beloved genres of the road. Bruce Springsteen, Journey, Kansas, U2, and the Killers are nearly unavoidable if you are driving along the expansive landscapes. Johnny Cash, John Denver, and Willie Nelson are country favorites that garner a whole new texture around 30 miles per hour.

Road trips are the closest things we have to adventures right now – and just like adventures, they come with a risk of unpredictable situations and even dangers. Go through a checklist of the necessities in order to prepare properly. It will take a little time for preparations before your trip, but better to be safe than sorry.

This article was written by Roxana Oliver, a travel enthusiast and an occasional blogger from Sydney, Australia.