Whatever passport you hold, these tools hold the answers…
Lots of people are dusting off their passports in hopes of some travel this year. It may not be what was expected, or even by autumn, but for many, the desire to explore is returning.
Now that airlines are beginning to nail safety measures and destinations are finding intelligent ways to ensure visitor safety, the big question is: where can you go? The answer is about two clicks away. Maybe three, because the best resource now has a CAPTCHA to ensure you’re not a robot.
Timatic From IATA
The International Airline Transportation Association, aka IATA is a huge force in global aviation, and Timatic, a powerful tool being offerd up by IATA is the benchmark airlines use in deciding whether passengers fit into the rules required by a given destination to board a flight, like visas and any other things they may need in advance.
In the current world, knowing which countries will – and will not – have you is kind of a big deal, because who wants to buy a vacation only to be told they’re not eligible to board their flight or enter the country?
Knee jerk moves spooked travelers as countries changed the rules overnight in the initial days of covid, throwing chaos into the movement of people, but as things begin to normalize, most of the changes are positive ones, with more people welcomed back by the day. In fact, Colombia, Japan, South Africa and Zimbabwe all announced exciting reopening’s to travel in the last 10 days.
Using IATA’s Free Resource
When it comes to keeping up with the changes, there’s one tool, and pretty much only one tool you need to have the best information at the time. That’s IATA’s interactive travel restriction map, which allows you to click on a country – let’s hope your geography doesn’t suck – and see current restrictions.
Speaking of geography, be sure to brush up on yours before clicking on the map. It can be seriously hard to find some destinations, though it’s worth the work. I dare you to find the Maldives.
IATA briefly tried to charge for this service, before realizing the greater good was in keeping it free for you to use, so that you just might travel again! Using the tool, you’ll instantly see what’s required, and if you’re currently eligible to visit.
Let’s take… The Maldives.
It’s important to remember that rules are changing by the day, though less so now, fortunately. For travelers, entry restrictions are mostly being lifted now, for the better. It does make it hard to plan though.
Countries which say “all flights are suspended” today may change in days, weeks or months, so it’s important not to give up on your first search.
A perfect example? Asia, where countries are rapidly reevaluation their desire to allow foreign tourists back in. South Africa is reopening in October after promising to close for all of 2020. Basically check back regularly, and particularly to make sure you have everything you need before you fly.
To be extra sure that the information you’re presented with from the IATA resource is accurate, it never hurts to check TravelBans.org, or Dragon Slayer, two more great entry restriction tools for travelers.
If a country were to introduce mandatory testing, a health declaration or a new visa before you’d be allowed on a flight, the IATA interactive map would be an early place to find that info and track it down.
Airlines are great, but the burden of what you need to have ready before you travel isn’t on them, it’s on you. Basically, they can keep you from boarding a flight, even if they didn’t tell you about this extra thing you might need.
If you do plan to travel this year, be sure to read up on handy tips to keep you safe while flying, and also on some of the fantastic deals going around from hotels to flights which aim to build up buzz about the return of travel.