Ready, Jet Set, Go: Before You Head Off On Your VTL Trip

Updated: Mar 23

With new vaccinated travel lanes (VTL) opening up across the world day by day, pent-up travellers finally can sate their wanderlust and head out on trips around the globe. But even as border restrictions ease, there are many requirements for each country that should be kept in mind when planning a trip, as well as other crucial information that you should have on hand before embarking on the plane.

We’ve compiled a list of the most important things you should prepare before you jetset off on your long-awaited trip. Due to the fluid nature of the travel situation, make sure to check the latest updates for both your origin and destination country’s travel protocols before you set out.

  1. Eligibility for VTL and Proof of Vaccination Ensure that you are eligible for travel under the VTL scheme to your destination country, and have proof of your vaccination status on hand. Most countries require digital vaccine certificates issued by either the origin or destination country - for Singaporean travellers, this certificate is issued by Notarise. Make sure that your booster status is also reflected on your vaccination certificates; otherwise, have the certificate updated.

  2. Passport and Visa Have your passport and travel visas on hand. Countries that were visa-free in the past might now require a visa before you can visit, such as to South Korea from Singapore. Don’t leave out the visa application from your travel prep!

  3. ART/PCR Testing Schedules When planning your trip itinerary, take note of the days that you need to take a Covid-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test and/or a Antigen Rapid Test (ART) – for the latter, do check whether it is self-administered or professionally administered, and whether medical supervision for the administration is necessary. As a general rule of thumb, a PCR test is required 2 days before boarding your departure flight, and an arrival test is mandated in most countries. Some countries might require more testing throughout the duration of your trip. Check your destination country’s protocol and make the necessary test bookings in advance so that you can factor them into your trip planning.

  4. Covid-19 Resources Download the local Covid-19 mobile apps required by each destination country, if any. Have on hand a list of testing and quarantine facilities near your accommodations when overseas, and be aware of the local regulations to follow if you should (knocking on wood) test positive during your trip. Be sure to pack in some ART tests to self-administer should you start feeling unwell.

  5. Prepare for the Worst The likelihood of coming down with Covid-19 while overseas is far from zero. Make sure your travel insurance covers Covid-19, and bring along some medication to treat the symptoms if you do fall ill. Be prepared to bring your work laptop along for the possibility that you might be unable to return home in time, and consider planning ahead for possible quarantine arrangements on the off-chance that you do test positive while on the trip.

  6. Availability and Compatibility of Contactless Systems Before you set off, find out what contactless systems are available at your various trip checkpoints - be it checking into your lodgings or payment methods at a restaurant. Ensure that your mobile devices are compatible with the local system, or look for service providers that have universal compatibility. The less you encounter areas and items with high touchpoints and human density, the less likely you will come into contact with potential virus carriers. Similarly, should you be unfortunate enough to come down ill (be it Covid-19 or not), reducing your physical exposure to other people will keep them safe as well.

  7. A sense of excitement and adventure! For many, it’ll be the first time in a while that you’ll be travelling, be it for work or play, or a long-overdue visit back home. Whether it’s a familiar destination or one you’re visiting for the first time, bring with you a sense of wonder, and soak up the sights and sounds. The pandemic has changed many things in the world around us, and travelling in these times is a valuable reminder for us to treasure what we have in the moment.

Travel might have gotten a bit more tedious to pack and plan for, but we believe that with ample preparation and anticipating situations before they happen, it can be just as - if not even more - rewarding to travel now as in pre-pandemic times. So pack your bags, get out there, and see the world – safely and responsibly, of course!

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