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Fully Vaccinated? What You Should Know Before Planning to Join a Wellness Holiday

by Cris Puscas

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Will you be fully vaccinated soon? Or have you taken your COVID-19 vaccination and are looking to travel sometime in the near future?

As vaccines are being rolled out across the world, it brings the promise of a return to our pre-pandemic life, or, at the very least, something close to it.

That said, it’s important to keep in mind that while these shots do come with some protection against the virus, some regulations, such as lifting the mandated use of masks, may not be happening as soon as we’d hoped.

You’re probably wondering, under these circumstances, how to best plan and pack for a vacation – say for a much-awaited wellness holiday?

In this article, we’re sharing using useful information that may just help you plan your trip with an added peace of mind. You’ll find insights on:

  • How COVID-19 vaccines work;
  • The types of vacations that are “safer” to take;
  • The entry requirements for the top wellness destinations favored by our customers.

What Should a Vaccinated Traveler Keep in Mind?

From what we’ve gathered from authoritative sources, all of the available COVID-19 vaccines are quite effective at reducing the risk of serious symptoms or death from contracting the virus. (source)

However, you can still get infected, and there’s not enough data yet available regarding transmission.

The good news is that recent studies have shown the vaccines likely reduce virus transmission to other people in addition to protecting the person who received the shot. (source: Reuters ; Forbes)  

Should you choose to travel sometimes soon, it’s highly advisable to continue to take health & safety precautions, such as wearing a mask, washing your hands often, and maintaining the practice of physical distancing.

While it’s not mandatory, you should also consider getting tested 3 to 5 days after arrival and self-isolate for 7 days, even though you are fully vaccinated. We are still unsure as to how much protection the vaccines offer against the new variants of the virus (and the strains continue to emerge), so, it’s always better to be safe.

In short, being fully vaccinated does give you more ‘freedom’ and peace of mind when it comes to travel but it’s in you & your fellow travelers’ best interest to maintain precautions when traveling.

Not only is it crucial for us to ‘adhere’ to local rules but also to keep personal consideration and precaution for the sake of your and other’s health and safety.

What Type of Travel Is Recommended for Wellness Holiday?

Even if you are fully vaccinated, these days, the type of travel you choose to take matters more than ever.

Domestic travel has been returning slowly but steadily starting last summer. With the rollout of vaccines, countries that are likely to reach herd immunity faster, may be a ‘safer’ choice for locals and non-locals alike.

Many travelers are now choosing destinations that are off-the-beaten-paths, those that are away from condensed cities, and often, these places are immersed in nature.

A wellness holiday in nature is a great choice for any traveler. Some retreats are easy-going while others go above and beyond to offer a wealth of activities. But no matter where you choose to go, it is easy to combine other outdoor activities such as walking, cycling, or running with your yoga, fitness activities, meditation, and more.

going on a road trip

To get to your travel destination, road trips are recommended as non-public transportation is ‘safer’ than using public transportation. In fact, according to the CDC, fully vaccinated travelers who go on a road trip and are moderately careful at the destination, would have a relatively ‘safe trip’.   

Another way to lower risk is to choose to visit a country that is waiving restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers. At the time this article was written, only a handful of countries have gone this route, but, as summer approaches and the vaccine passports are likely to become a reality, more and more countries would consider this option to open for travel.

Many travelers are eager for this to happen, too. According to a survey by The Points Guy & YouGov, 49% of Americans would prefer to visit a destination requiring COVID-19 vaccination. (source)

Lastly, should you choose to travel internationally, it’s better to focus on visiting one country, rather than opting for a multi-country itinerary. Now is the perfect time to focus on slowing down, taking longer to explore a country, immerse in its culture and traditions, and discovering local gems.

»Read more: Traveling Safely - Your Guide to Wellness Retreats in the COVID-19 Era

What a Vaccinated Traveler Should Expect When Planning a Wellness Holiday in Top Destinations?

While countries across the globe are starting to slowly ease restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers, we strongly advise those who decide to travel to seek out local resources before they take any decision to book a yoga retreat or holiday.

Currently, there are no standard recommendations across the countries and the information constantly changes.

That said, across the world, “vaccine passports” are already used as a standard way to prove a traveler’s COVID-19 status.

The European Union is implementing, as of July 2021, the EU Digital COVID Certificate. Residents of the member states, as well as residents of Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Iceland, and Norway, can download an app that contains proof of their status: have been vaccinated, have recovered from the illness, or have a negative test. The app generates a QR code to be scanned upon entry into the country and to various events, etc. The app is free, and the document is issued in the native language of the country and English. More details here.

Likewise, IATA (International Air Transport Association) has already implemented the IATA Travel Pass Initiative. Only passengers flying on airlines that are part of the trail can use it, though. More details and a list of those airlines can be found here.

Elsewhere in the world, countries are also looking into opening borders for travelers who can prove their status. Do expect that the requirement to get tested might still linger for a while, especially with the emergence of new variants of concern.

It’s also important to keep in mind that while the entry requirements into a certain country might not include showing a negative test, the airline might require one to board the plane. Do your due diligence and check the requirements ahead of time so that you can plan accordingly.

Disclosure: Please be aware that the information below is valid at the time this article was published and changes in travel requirements & restrictions can occur at any time.

Europe

Spain

Meditating in Spain, Fuerteventura

 

 

All passengers arriving in Spain by air or sea, including those arriving in transit to other countries, must complete a Health Control Form before departure and obtain their QR to present it at boarding and health controls on arrival in Spain.

Residents of European Union (EU), Schengen Associated States, Andorra, Monaco, The Vatican (Holy See) or San Marino, holders of a long-term visa issued by the EU or Schengen Associated State who are going to that country, as well as residents of third countries listed in this annex are allowed entry.

All travelers must have a negative rapid antigen test (taken 48 hours before arrival); or a negative NAAT test (nucleic acid amplification tests, e.g.: RT-PCR, taken 72 hours before arrival); or a vaccination certificate; or a recovery certificate issued at least 11 days after a positive test result.

For residents of the UK coming directly from the country, in addition to the vaccinate certificate, diagnostic certificates of NAAT tests are also be considered valid.

Passengers younger than 12 years are exempt from showing any of the above documents.

While Spain as a whole hasn’t introduced the COVID Digital Certificate, the region of Galicia and the Canary Islands have. But neither government has confirmed what tourists have to show to be granted access to indoor bars, restaurants, and cafes.

»Read more details from official resources

France

Effective from June 9, 2021, the movement of travelers between France and foreign countries has resumed under new terms and conditions. The countries have been classified, based on health indicators, as follows: green, amber, and red. The lists may change depending on the global evolution of the pandemic.

There are no restrictions to enter from a green list country, but travelers must present the proof of vaccination and a sworn declaration of their health status or, if not vaccinated, a negative PCR or antigen test taken no longer than 72 hours before departure.

Unvaccinated travelers from amber countries must give a compelling reason to be allowed in the country and must self-isolate for 7 days (followed by a PCR test at the end of the isolation period). Vaccinated travelers face no restrictions. However, all passengers from amber countries must present a negative PCR or antigen test taken no longer than 72 hours before departure, as well as present a sworn declaration of their health status.

Only travelers with a compelling reason to enter France will be allowed if they are from red list countries. All travelers must present a negative PCR or antigen test taken no longer than 48 hours before departure. Unvaccinated travelers must also quarantine for 10 days.

As of August 9, while you are in France, you need to present a health pass for access to certain events and places. More details can be found here.

»Read more details from official resources

Portugal

yoga in portugal

Travelers from the European Union, Schengen Associated countries (Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland), Albania, Australia, China, South Korea, United States of America, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand, Republic of Northern Macedonia, Rwanda, Serbia, Singapore, Thailand, and Taiwan are allowed to enter mainland Portugal for both essential and non-essential travel.

Starting on July 1, 2021, they may present the EU Digital COVID Certificate upon entry or a PCR negative test (taken 72 hours before boarding), or a rapid antigen test (taken 48 hours before boarding). They must also fill a Passenger Locator Card before boarding.

Passengers from the UK are allowed for both essential and non-essential travel. All UK passengers (aged 12 and older) arriving in mainland Portugal must show a negative PCR test result taken no longer than 72 hours before departure or a lateral flow test taken 48 hours prior to departure. To avoid the 14 days quarantine, proof of vaccination is required. It’s also required to fill in the Passenger Locator Card.

Passengers from Brazil, India, Nepal, and South Africa are allowed only for essential travel.

Passengers flying into the Azores and Madeira should provide either a PCR negative test result (72 hours before boarding) or an immunity declaration (if they’ve had the disease), or the EU Digital COVID Certificate. They also must fill a questionnaire if they fly into the Azores; and register here if they fly into Madeira. Free tests need to be performed on arrival into both archipelagos to avoid quarantine.

It is mandatory to present EU COVID Digital Certificate at major cultural and sporting events, bars and clubs, when visiting health facilities, as well as when you travel by air or sea.

»Read more details from official resources

Africa

Morocco

International flights to Morocco have been resumed since June 15, 2021. Travelers may enter Morocco under certain conditions, depending on their country of departure.

The countries have been classified under two lists (A & B) under the recommendation of the Ministry of Health.

For travelers from list A countries, a vaccination pass or certificate attesting that the person is fully vaccinated is required. Those who are not vaccinated, must present a negative PCR test result at boarding (taken no longer than 48 hours before departure). Children under 11 are exempt from the requirements.

Travelers from list B countries, must present a negative PCR test result (taken no longer than 48 hours before departure) and a signed declaration of where they’d undergo the 10 days mandatory quarantine.

The list of countries can be found in the official link below.

»Read more details from official resources

Asia

India

retreat in india

Photo credit: Yoga Vidya Mandiram

Effective November 15, 2021, passengers that hold E-tourist visas and tourist visas issued on or after October 6, 2021, are allowed entry.

Passengers must complete a self-declaration form before departure and must have a negative RT-PCR test taken no longer than 72 hours before departure. The results must be uploaded at the time the self-declaration form is completed.

All passengers arriving from Brazil, South Africa, and the UK are subject to a molecular test upon arrival and another test on day seven, at their own expense.

 

»Read more details from official resources

 

Thailand

yoga teacher training in thailand

Thailand is now open to travelers from any country and territory around the world.

There are two entry options for travelers from overseas: the Alternative Quarantine system or the “Sandbox” program.

Starting from October 1, 2021, fully vaccinated visitors under the “Sandbox” program visiting Phuket, Surat Thani (Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan and Ko Tao), Phang-Nga (Khao Lak and Ko Yao), and Krabi (Ko Phi Phi, Ko Ngai, and Railay) are now required to stay within the destination for seven days, and afterward will be able to continue their journey to other parts of Thailand.

Under the Alternative Quarantine system, international travelers will be subject to 7-10 night quarantine at their own expense at an approved facility in Bangkok and 12 other provinces. Those fully vaccinated undergo a 7-day quarantine.

Passengers entering the country must have a negative test taken at most 72 hours before departure; or a vaccination certificate showing they’ve been fully vaccinated at least 14 days before departure.

All passengers arriving or traveling through Thailand must have insurance to cover medical expenses in Thailand with a coverage cost of at least 100,000 USD.

»Read more from the Tourism Authority of Thailand  

Indonesia

meditating in indonesia

Visitors are not permitted to enter Indonesia unless they are from specific categories, including travelers permitted under the travel corridor arrangement (TCA) bilateral agreement scheme: United Arab Emirates (UAE), the People's Republic of China, the Republic of Korea, and Singapore.

Effective on July 6, 2021, international travelers (except those traveling under TCA) who can enter Indonesia are required to have a vaccination card before departure to Indonesia which is presented upon check-in and arrival in Indonesia. Visitors must register their vaccination here, before travel.

All travelers are also required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test and an electronic Indonesia Health Alert Certificate (e-HAC) barcode and present them upon check-in and entry at the airport/quarantine authorities. Please install the “Peduli Lindungi" app on your phone to generate the barcode.

All travelers are subject to an 8-day quarantine. Two PCR tests will be administered during this period. After the mandatory quarantine and if testing negative, all travelers are recommended to undertake 14 days of self-quarantine.

Those traveling domestically are also required to show a vaccination card the (first dose is acceptable) and a negative PCR test or rapid antigen test.

»Read more details from official sources.

The Americas

Mexico

yoga in mexico

Photo credit: Michèle St.Amour / Chakaura

Mexico is open for travelers and there’s no need to provide a negative test or quarantine upon arrival.

All travelers should fill in the “Questionnaire of identification of risk factors in travelers”.

The inbound land borders with the USA are open for “essential travel” only and does not prevent US citizens to return home. 

US citizens can fly into Mexico without any restrictions. However, please be advised that a negative COVID-19 test, taken at most 3 days before departure, is mandatory to board the flight back to the USA.

Alternatively, documentation of recovery from the COVID-19 infection within the last 90 days, is required. (Official source).

»Read about the COVID-19 restriction and control measures in Mexico here.

Costa Rica

exercise on the beach in costa rica

 

Travelers from countries around the world can travel to Costa Rica by air, as long as they meet the visa and COVID-19 entry requirements.

There’s no requirement to take any test before or after arrival, or quarantine upon arrival.

However, all travelers should complete the digital health form. And it’s mandatory for them to purchase travel insurance, covering the accommodations in case of quarantine and medical expenses due to COVID-19 illness.

If the traveler purchases international insurance, a certification in Spanish or English should be issued and should include the validity, a minimum coverage of US$2,000 for accommodation expenses, and a guarantee of coverage for medical expenses.

Kindly note that visitors must abide by the re-entry rules of their country of origin (including the need to show negative tests upon boarding return flights).

»Read more details here.

United States

meditate in USA

 

With specific exceptions, travelers from the following countries / areas are not permitted entry in the USA: China, Iran, European Schengen Area, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Brazil, and South Africa.

All travelers who may enter, including US citizens returning from abroad and those transiting through the US, must have a medical certificate with a negative COVID-19 viral antigen, NAAT, RT-LAMP, RT-PCR, or TMA test result. The test must have been taken at most 3 days before departure.

Alternatively, if the passenger has a medical certificate with a positive coronavirus test result issued at most 90 days before departure and has been cleared to travel, they don’t need to provide a negative test result.

All passengers must complete a disclosure and attestation form before departure. Those arriving into Massachusetts, must complete the Massachusetts Travel Form, whereas those arriving in New York State, must complete the New York State Travel Health Form.

»Read more information from official resources.

[Last Updated: October 11, 2021]


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