Travel Safety During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Business travel is an integral part of any exporter’s day-to-day activities and whilst we may be in the middle of a global pandemic, for many of us, we need to keep our employees mobile. So how do we do that whilst maintaining the health and mental wellbeing of our employees?
The travel situation remains highly dynamic so it’s important to stay abreast of the situation at your destination as well as any transit hubs. This interactive map from Maiden Voyage shows the current global status as well as the requirements and restrictions per country.
Once you’ve ascertained that your destination is open for business, here’s some top tips on keeping yourself and your employees safe and well.
1/ Map your end-to-end journey as part of your pre-trip planning to ensure you understand what is required at each step of the way.
What are the airline requirements such as the wearing of masks, health declarations or even pre-travel COVID-19 testing?
2/ Your journey may take longer due to additional measures that have been put in place, factor this in when planning your trip to take account of the increased risk of travel fatigue.
3/ Ensure that your accommodation has thoroughly documented COVID-19 guest safety procedures, clearly documented on their website. We recommend that you check-out reviews to ensure that they are complying with strict safety procedures. You might wish to consider using a serviced apartment to limit your exposure to others.
4/ Make sure that you are fully up to speed with the requirements of those you are meeting, the etiquette required from both a cultural and health perspective and that their offices are open to visitors.
5/ If this is your first trip after a significant period of lockdown, the shock of being back out on the road, away from your loved ones may take its toll. Make sure you schedule in some quality time for video calls to reduce any risk of separation anxiety.
6/ Don’t discount using a Travel Management Company [TMC] to book your travel. TMCs often have closer ties with hoteliers and airlines so may be able to pull some strings that you can’t in case of emergency or need for repatriation. Many TMCs have an SME offering and will save you time sourcing travel providers.
7/ Plan in advance what you would do in an emergency, are taken ill with COVID-19 symptoms, you are quarantined or borders close whilst you are in country. Make sure that your business travel insurance is up to date and that you have your membership details and contact numbers with you. Likewise, make sure you have the details of your embassy with you.
8/ Remember to pack PPE, gloves and anti-bacterial hand gel and continue to use all appropriate measures as you would at home, such as regular handwashing, wearing of masks and using anti-bacterial gel. We recommend taking a thermometer with you to monitor your temperature.
9/ Some medications are banned in certain countries, these include standard cold and flu remedies so do check before packing. Pack extra prescription medication in case of travel disruption or quarantine.
10/ When arriving home reflect on how you are feeling, with the heightened focus on COVID-19 it’s easy to overlook other medical conditions or tropical disease infection. You may need to work from home for a period to protect your co-workers, or if you are shielding a loved one, you may wish to quarantine at an alternative location.