My Fulbright Story: Take-Off

As I’m flying over the Pacific Ocean at an altitude of 38,000 feet, the realisation of soon calling Boston home for the next few months begins to settle in. It has definitely been a long time coming.

Many of you would have heard about Australia being known as ‘fortress Australia’ during this COVID-19 pandemic. For the sake of brevity, it has been tough. And for some states, even tougher. 

But Australians know how to handle difficult situations and our shared community spirit is why we have one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. These efforts are in part, what has allowed Australia to begin opening up and why after nearly 2 years, I am able to sit on this plane.

But travelling during COVID-19 will certainly look a little different than normal. If you’re thinking of travelling in the near future, here are my top tips for travelling smoothly and safely.

Hope for the best. Prepare for the worst. 

To save you stress from unexpected COVID-19 disruptions, try to organise your travel plans as early as possible and book flexible flights. 

If you need a visa, give yourself as much time as possible. In obtaining my J-1 visa, I faced several COVID-19 delays including U.S. Consulate relocations and Omicron outbreaks (that was a slightly stressful few weeks of waiting in the dark). 

Depending on your flight destination, you will likely need a negative COVID-19 test result in the lead-up to your flight. I pre-booked my test through Histopath and had my results within 6 hours. 

If you’re looking to further safe-guard your trip, some travel insurances such as Qantas and Covermore include changes/cancellations due to COVID-19. 

Mask up!

I’m not going to lie, wearing a mask for over 24 hours is not pleasant. Not to mention the many elaborate discussions on which kind of mask is most appropriate. In general, since the premise of face masks is to protect other people, we should take comfort knowing that mask mandates means that those around us are indeed protecting us and vice versa. 

Personally, I prefer using N-95 or KF-94 masks for in-flight use. They reportedly offer high protection whilst also being reasonably comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.

Sanitise. Clean. Sanitise

If you’re like me, this pandemic has turned hand sanitising into autopilot mode. So much so that I ended up packing less in-flight snacks in favour of Dettol and alcohol wipes (*cue gasp!*). Then there’s the whole ritual of wiping down my plane seat and surrounding high contact areas. (I hear Naomi Campbell does the same, so surely it’s not that crazy 😊)

If you prefer an extra layer of protection, I’ve been enjoying New Zealand-owned brand Zoono, which offers hand sanitisers and surface sprays that reportedly protects your hand for up to 24 hours and surfaces for up to 30 days.

Bonus tip: clip your hand sanitiser to your carry-on so you don’t have to rummage through your bag to find it!

What are some of your travel tips? Where would you most like to travel to? Let me know in the comments below!

This post is not sponsored. All views are my own.

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