Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy of Matilda
Solo Traveler Story: 'I Safely Traveled To 3 Countries During The Pandemic'
We all are waiting for the days that we can hit the skies and jet set across the world again. For some travelers that is already happening.
With a handful of countries currently open to tourism, and COVID-19 restrictions in place, people are finding safe ways to get back to doing what they love.
We sat down with Canadian travel influencer Matilda, to learn more about her multi-country adventure during the pandemic.
Note: Always follow safety protocols and adhere to any entry requirements when traveling.
Travel Noire: Where did you go, and how did plan differently for this trip in comparison to pre-pandemic trips?
Matilda: I looked for countries that met the following criteria: open to Canadian citizens, had fewer cases per capita than Canada and lower death rates per capita, direct flights (I was trying to mitigate my chances of exposure), had strict entry requirements and mandated safety protocols.
In the end I decided on Barbados, Aruba and Curaçao.
Travel Noire: Did you do anything to prep for your trip?
Matilda: I took a COVID-19 test 3 days before departure, which was mandatory for entry into Barbados. I packed disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer, bought masks and snacks for the flight since in-flight services are currently not available. I also researched what activities were still open/available.
The Barbados government has a pre-approved list of hotels that are allowed to welcome tourists. That means not all hotels are currently available to book. There are, however, a variety of options at different price points.
Travel Noire: Once you were on the ground, how were the COVID-19 restrictions? Did you feel safe?
Matilda: The COVID-19 restrictions were impressive. All restaurants, groceries stores, and any other indoor activities had hand sanitizer at every entrance and usually had someone at the door reminding guests to use it.
Masks were mandatory indoors and staff at restaurants, grocery stores etc. were following those protocols and enforcing them. It was evident that the governments in Barbados, Aruba and Curaçao were making a significant effort to protect its citizens and tourists.
Travel Noire: What was your favorite part of the trip?
Matilda: Snorkeling with turtles at Carlisle Bay. It was a 45-minute excursion that takes you out on the water by boat. I also really enjoyed the locals in Barbados and how friendly and welcoming they were to me.
Travel Noire: What is something that changed due to COVID-19, that you actually want to stay once world gets back to “normal”?
Matilda: Tourist activities weren’t as crowded as they usually are. The lines to see popular tourist sites or to do activities were short or nonexistent. While this affects business owners and the tourism industry, I will miss it once more people begin to travel again.
TravelNoire: What was the process like exiting Barbados and entering Canada?
Matilda: Leaving Canada was normal, but returning was a bit more complicated. When I returned, I was required to download and complete a registration on the ArriveCan App and fill out a quarantine plan (14-day quarantine on return from international travel is mandatory). Without proof of completion of these steps, you cannot board the plane.
Once you arrive to customs, they ask for proof of your registration on the ArriveCan App and ask about details of your quarantine plan, such as where you plan to stay. Since I have returned home, Canada has now added the requirement for a negative COVID-19 test on top of the 14-day quarantine.
Travel Noire: Do you have any advice for other Canadian travelers?
Matilda: Keep up with new developments at home. Download the ArriveCan app before you even go on your trip. Trying to download it last minute at the airport before your return, can be a nightmare.
Travel Noire: Where is the first place you want to go when the world opens up?
Matilda: I want to take a Euro trip for sure. France, Italy, Spain, The U.K.— I want to do it all. Europe is currently closed to U.S. and Canadian travelers.
To check out more of Matilda’s adventures, you can follow her on Instagram at: @moonshyyne.