How To Prepare For A Family Vacation Abroad

As countries around the world start to re-open their borders to international travellers, many people may wish to plan to spend quality time with loved ones on a trip abroad. Travelling with family members in the new normal could be an unfamiliar experience, so it is important to prepare in advance so that you have everything that you may need on hand.

Here are some tips you can include in your travel preparation checklist to ensure a hassle-free and memorable family vacation:

1. Research your travel destination and airport requirements

With the uncertainties surrounding the pandemic, make sure to review the latest airport regulations, travel restrictions, and COVID-19 quarantine and testing requirements when planning your family vacation.

a) Stay informed with the latest travel advisories

In order to be fully prepared for any unexpected announcements and/or travel cancellations, follow the latest news and updates from official websites and authorities. These include advisories from your airline, immigration authorities and the Ministry of Health, both in Malaysia and the country you are visiting.

Please refer to latest travel advisory at MyGOV: https://www.malaysia.gov.my/portal/content/27742

b) Check if COVID-19 test is required prior to, on and/or after arrival

To avoid unexpected delays on your family vacation, remember to check if a COVID-19 test is required prior to, on or after your arrival. Some countries may require you to take a COVID-19 test even if you are just transiting through the airport.

c) Ensure that your vaccination is locally accepted

Before booking your family vacation, ensure that the vaccination you and your family received is accepted by the destination country, if vaccination is a requirement for entry. 1

It would also be good to keep researching from time to time as government guidelines regarding COVID-19 travel requirements may change with little advance notice, or even during your trip.

For more information on Malaysia’s embassies abroad, visit the following link: https://www.kln.gov.my/web/guest/home.

2. Essential document check

While forgetting essentials like pants or socks may be annoying, they are easily replaced. Aside from packing necessities, confirm well in advance the documentation you will need across different legs of travel to and from your family vacation. Remember to print out hard copies of any documents that may be required – it is better to be safe than sorry!

Depending on your destination, you may need to download local apps showing your vaccination status prior to boarding the plane. This way, your vaccination status in the local tracking apps, e.g., MySejahtera (Malaysia), TraceTogether (Singapore), Thailand Plus (Thailand), will be verified in advance, and you will be updated with the latest and most relevant information once you touch down at your destination.

3. Pack hygiene products

While you are on your family vacation, remember to regularly sanitise your hands and maintain good hygiene habits. On top of your regular packing checklist, you should also include disposable face masks and travel-size hygiene products such as hand sanitisers and antibacterial wipes to use as needed throughout your vacation. Remember to keep hand sanitisers carried in your hand luggage to 100mls or under.

Pro-tip – Pack antibacterial wipes to clean surfaces that children might frequently touch when travelling, including armrests and tray tables, and remember to sanitise their hands as well.2

Remember that while you might be allowed into a country, not everything may be operating at full capacity just yet. Do some groundwork beforehand on mask usage policies in addition to the types and sizes of masks available locally and where to get them.

4. Get insured

More countries around the world are mandating that inbound visitors have travel insurance that includes coverage for COVID-19-related medical expenses, 3 including Singapore (min S$30,000*); Thailand (min US$50,000*). This means, for example, if you are considering travelling to Thailand for your family vacation, you will need a travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage and a sum assured of at least US$50,000, 4 or you might be declined entry into the country.

Protect your family with AIG’s Travel Insurance with coverage for COVID-19 medical expenses up to RM700,000 and a quarantine allowance of up to RM500 per day. COVID-19 protection is included in certain travel insurance plans for just as low as RM39 per trip.

Learn more about AIG’s Travel Insurance here: https://www.aig.my/personal/travel/travel-insurance and enjoy a safer and smoother family vacation. 

Citations:

1. https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/covid-travel-checklist/index.html
2. https://www.umassmed.edu/news/news-archives/2021/05/vacation-planning-with-a-covid-19-safety-mindset/
3. https://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/insurers-see-rising-demand-travel-insurance-more-countries-make-it-mandatory
4. https://www.thaiembassy.com/travel-to-thailand/covid-19-insurance-for-thailand

* These are the requirements as at date of the article and they are subject to changes in local regulations.