Wanderlust during a Pandemic. Things to Consider.

If you’re anything like me, October is the month that turns our attention sharply towards warmer climates and continued sunshine.  I rejoice in the beautiful colour change and tolerate the falling temperatures.Day dreams of which countries jungle I would be lost in only a few months from now enter randomly and herald a big grin each time.

Enter stage left…the much unwanted world-wide guest that has now much overstayed its surprise visit.

For the first time in my life..and in modern history the world has been shut down. International and even inter country borders have closed as everyone struggles to contain this “novel” virus that affects everyone on the planet whether directly or indirectly.  It’s been a further wake up call to live every day well and enjoy life NOW because you really don’t know when it will no longer be possible. Apparently for more reasons that just your death..lol? Ugh.
Back to October and wanderlusting! What’s a girl to do. We are now 10 months into the year with no real end in sight. Winter is making it’s not so subtle approach and things are getting real. If I’m thinking it, then I know all my Summer loving friends are thinking it too.

So what’s my best advice for people that are thinking about traveling this winter? The situation is evolving and unpredictable but you know we are thinking about it so let’s be realistic . I’ve put a list together of some of the key things to consider and research for anyone considering travel during the winter of 20/21 with the information I have now, in October.

Length of Trip

Many casual travelers, and especially those in the America’s have limited time to travel. Usually 1 to 2 weeks taken sometime in the peak of winter doldrums. It’s an annual tradition that helps many Summer lovers through the dark days here in Canada.

Unfortunately with pandemic spikes, entry requirements/  restrictions all this will cut into your time away. Canada currently requires a 14 day quarantine when you return from international travel. There is no way of knowing how long this will extend, so booking any travel into the next 6-8 months will need a further indoor staycation and time away from work.

Depending on the destination you choose, you may also need to quarantine up to 14 days on arrival. There is also the other end of the spectrum with countries such as Cuba with no special entry requirements. Personally, I would rather go to countries that HAVE entry requirements and safeguards in place. Jumping through hoops isn’t fun but it usually achieves the purpose and increases the likelihood of a safe trip destination.

So the quick one week getaways are more like 3 week extended holidays..mostly in your house. Not terribly cost efficient for most. Unless you are a long term traveller or have extra holiday weeks to burn, the best thing would be to wait. If you are lucky enough to be able to leave for a month or the winter…there is hope.

Trip Intentions – KEY

Travelling for me usually means exploring and seeing as much of the coast and jungles as possible. Skipping through countries and borders without a care in the world. We are Canadian and enjoy a powerful passport so flexibilti and country hopping are easy!

Enter 2020. I’m going to go out on a limb and say it criss crossing a country and stopping at every tourist attraction is your intention…you should stay home. Any travel plans that are undertaken to other countries should include the same respect and health precautions you would take where you live.  Many countries, although open to some tourists still have COVID cases and if they don’t, that could change at any time. Ping ponging from one place to the next, coming into contact with a huge number of people is simply irresponsible and puts the residents of the country you are visiting at risk, not to mention yourself. This is the time to pick one place, one area for the duration.

That sounds like a resort right? Maybe? Resorts can be like cruise ships and you couldn’t pay me to get on one of those now. I’m talking a place on your own, without shared entry or bathrooms. Your own kitchen and less contact with strangers than you would normally while on vacation. I would take the same precautions that you would insist on in Canada anywhere else. Socializing is a huge part of travelling and it’s a big reason that will sway many to stay to home

So if you’re prepared to jump the hurdles of travelling and intend to stay in one place., there is hope. For everyone that needs to socialize, move around and explore. This is your winter for planning and daydreaming. Stay home until the coast is clear.

Who is accepting Canadians?

Canadians have a strong reputation of being respectful and cautious. Couple that with our decent response during the pandemic and keeping our numbers okay, we have the luxury of entering quite a few countries now and in the near future. International air travel has never been closed which was a huge surprise to me. Land borders have closed but air travel for vital..and not so vital reasons has been happening all this time. Crazy, huh. The picture is courtesy of Flytrippers and shows the advisories in place.

Now as Autumn begins, many countries are actually starting to even market to Canada and many of the existing border restrictions are starting to drop. There are usually hurdles to get into most with new entry requirements but the option is there.

So which countries are open, or opening to Canadians that choose to travel?


  • Albania – July 1
  • Antigua and Barbuda – June 4
  • Armenia – August 12
  • Aruba – July 1
  • Austria – September 28
  • Bahamas – July 1
  • Barbados – July 12
  • Bali (Indonesia) September 11
  • Belarus – July 15
  • Belgium – September 25
  • Belize – October 1
  • Bermuda – July 1
  • Bosnia – September 12
  • Brazil – July 30
  • Bulgaria – July 16
  • Cayman Islands – Sept 1
  • Colombia – Sept 21
  • Croatia – July 1
  • Cuba – July 1
  • Curacao – July 1
  • Cyprus – July 16
  • Czech Republic – July 15
  • Denmark – July 4
  • Dominica – August 7
  • Dominican Republic – July 1
  • Dubai  – July 7
  • Ecuador – August 16
  • Estonia – July 6
  • France – July 1
  • French Polynesia – July 15
  • Germany – July 2
  • Ghana – September 1
  • Greece – July 1
  • Grenada – August 1
  • Guadeloupe – July 1
  • Guatemala – September 18
  • Iceland – July 15
  • Haiti – July 1
  • Honduras – August 17
  • Jamaica – June 15
  • Jordan – September 8
  • Kosovo – June 28
  • Latvia – July 1
  • Lithuania – Aug 1
  • Luxembourg – July 1
  • Maldives – July 15
  • Malta – July 11
  • Mexico – June 8
  • Montenegro – July 8
  • Netherlands – July 1
  • Nicaragua – Oct 1
  • North Macedonia – July 1
  • Pakistan – October 5
  • Panama – October 12
  • Poland – July 15
  • Portugal – July 7
  • Romania – July 7
  • Rwanda – June 17
  • Serbia – May 22
  • Slovakia – September 18
  • Slovenia – July 17
  • South Africa – October 1
  • Spain – July 3
  • Sri Lanka – undecided
  • Sweden – July 4
  • Switzerland – July 20
  • Barths – June 22
  • St. Lucia – June 4
  • St. Maarten – July 1
  • St. Vincent and The Grenadines – July 1
  • Tanzania – June 1
  • Tunisia – June 27
  • Turkey – June 12
  • Turks and Caicos – July 22
  • Uganda – October 1
  • United States – June
  • U.S. Virgin Islands – June 1
  • Zambia – July

   Check out current VIRUS  data on the WHO website

Each country and region will be listed. Check individual country homepages for current Travel Restrictions

In Country transportation & Restrictions

Life is different with a world wide pandemic and things that we usually take for granted may not be available to us. I am a huge budget traveler and usually will always take overland public buses, trains and shared transport for a few reasons. Huge savings is the first followed closely by cultural immersion and doing as the locals.  Unfortunately some of the things we love about travel are not a good option during these times. I was actually in Panama travelling when things started to go bad in March. I had left on New Years, long before the threat was even known to most people. Almost overnight things changed, options or lack thereof changed.  It was a crazy time but relying on public transport, I would have been in huge trouble.  Borders were imposed between regions, beaches were closed to the public. Movement can be hard.

Be prepared to lay out extra cash for private or semi private transport. Leave time for delays and closures. Many tourist countries will still have shuttles and public transport running. Research the COVID history of the place you are visiting. If you’ve selected one of the virus free countries and can jump through all the hoops, life will be easier once you arrive but you should still be careful as things coukl change. If you have made a decision to go to countries that still have the virus, like our own home. I do not recommend public transport in most countries. Arrange your wheels in advance and be prepared with a plan B.

Country Exit & Entry Requirements

Each country has its own set of special rules & requirements for COVID in addition to their normal entry conditions It’s very important to research the ever changing requirements and sometimes TIGHT deadlines required for testing before travel. Most countries will require you to complete health questionnaires, have COVID testing before you board the flight and sometimes again when you arrive or a week after.   Special insurance policies may be required that include specific coverages. Costa Rica for example has new insurance requirements that only their own national insurance INS can offer (at a big premium) or a select few international carriers.
Our own country currently has a 14 day isolation order for international travelers. As you can see the amount of time and cash you need for any kind of travel this year has gone up. Sign up for the Canadian consulate and register your destination. Each country has it’s own toursim page to follow for up to date. information. Use google translate to sort out most of what you don’t understand .

Quality of Health Care in the country / Health Insurance

Wellness and health should always be considerations when picking adventure destinations..That fact was highlighted even more so after I got hospitalized with Dengue fever a few years ago. No matter how careful you are, things can still happen. I’m not just talking the virus here but all the other bumbles and stumbles that life can throw at you.  Many a scooter accident, broken ankle and the like happen to tourists all the time.
Be aware of the ability of the area to administer quality medical care! If something happens, will you need to be transported to a bigger city? Will you need to be flown home? Will the services that you need be possibly impacted by other needs?

Each country and region can vary greatly in medical care available. If there is an outbreak, if you are infected with a bad case of Covid, where will you go?
If you break a leg, get Dengue..get an infection. Where will you go?  Will the resources be strained and unable to help less urgent medical needs?

The travel insurance you purchase is one of the most important planning steps . Take the time to read the fine print and get reviews from other travelers that have had to use the insurance. This is especially true these days with countries requiring VERY SPECIFIC coverage to let you enter the country. Be very wary of assuming that your usual credit card or work policies will over adequate coverage, it probably won’t. . In times of pandemic, many policies become void and you may be stuck taking care of any bills out of pocket. Having a bullet proof policy is vital before stepping on that plane!

This is not to scare anyone but a reality to be aware of should anything happen. Successful trips require some pre planning for emergencies if not your actual trip.  After my bout with Dengue, this has become a priority and much research goes into my choices before I will book the trip. In times of uncertainty you want to be able to access the help you need.  In terms of my Dengue, that meant avoiding countries with current and historically bad outbreaks like South East Asia 🙁  When it comes to this current virus, if you can pick a destination with low to no cases with great healthcare you are off to a great start.

Coping Skills/Resources – What is things get worse while you are travelling?

Travel has always been an adventure. You leave the comfort of known surroundings and culture where you are able to anticipate most of lifes happenings for the unknown.  It is part of the thrill and part of what makes travel such a growth experience. Things happen and you have to deal.  Most times, it’s easy things like missing a bus. Not understanding the language or getting lost.  Circumstances that are easily mended with patience and charades 🙂

Depending on the destination, there can be other inherent risks. Every traveler should always review their government website for travel alerts and things to be wary of before deciding to book a ticket each and every time.

The difference with the situation we face at present is that it is NEW and easily spread. That means that even if you choose to visit a country with little to no known cases, that could change while you are there. How are you able to handle stressful situations?  When this all began I was in Panama. When I entered from Costa Rica there were mere whispers of some virus and absolutely everything was usual. In 6 more days, things would change overnight and panic started to spread. All of a sudden islands were closing and kicking tourists off without anywhere to go. Public transportation options became risky and scare. Borders started closing and marital law threats…it was chaos.

Are you okay with thinking on your feet and the ultimately higher expenses that will come when things go wrong? I’m a budget traveller and always have been but all of sudden it just didn’t matter. Health trumps everything else.  I ended up taking private shuttles and a hopper plane ( cha ching) to catch my direct flight home from San Jose. Did I mention my first hopper flight cancelled on me with less than 24 hours to my international flight and almost left me stranded? LOL It was an awesome adventure in the end that I still need to write about BUT expensive and stressful.  If you choose to travel during a pandemic, despite your best planning things may go awry. Just be prepared to deal with whatever comes your way.

When I travel, I always expect the unexpected. Things just never go the way we envision them in our heads.  Even during “normal years” 🙂

So that’s my take on travel right now. Be patienct, do lots of research and be a RESPONSIBLE traveler now more than ever if you make the choice to go. Things will be different in most destinations. The countries that depend on tourism want us back but it is up to us to wait until the right time and to behave there like we would here. For others it is the time to staycation and time to research so many destinations.

In the end it’s about having fun, experiencing what this beautiful world has to offer and hopefully coming back a with nothing  more than when you left this year. Whether that’s in your own country or abroad 🙂 

Stay safe & happy adventures where ever you are xo

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