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Fully Vaccinated? What You Should Know Before Planning to Join a Surfing 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 surfing camp?

In this article, we’re sharing useful information that may just help you plan your surfing 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 surfing 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 sometime 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 others’ health and safety.

 

What Type of Travel Is Recommended for a Surfing 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-path and away from condensed cities. Thankfully, there are a lot of surfing destinations that offer the perfect setting not only away from the hustle & bustle of cities, but also to be fully immersed in nature.

Also, it is easy to combine other outdoor activities such as yoga, diving, or kayaking, with surfing.

»Read more: The Best Off-the-Grid Surf Spots You Need to Check Out

a guy arranging surf boards on a car

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 discover local gems.

»Read more: Traveling Safely - Your Guide to Surf Camps in the COVID-19 Era

 

What a Vaccinated Traveler Should Expect When Planning a Surfing 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 has started the application of the EU Digital COVID Certificate on July 1, 2021.

Residents and citizens 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.

On December 21, 2021, the European Commission adopted new rules relating to the Digital Certificate. The certificate is valid for 9 months (270 days) following a primary 2-dose vaccination series or 1-dose series for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, for intra-EU travel. The certificates that include booster shots, as of this time, have no expiration date but this may change per new scientific data. The new rules apply from February 1, 2022. 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

 

Portugal

surfing in portugal

Travelers from the European Union, Schengen Associated countries (Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland), Brazil, UK, USA, as well as from countries authorized for non-essential travel subject to reciprocal confirmation (including but not limited to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Peru) are allowed to enter mainland Portugal for both essential and non-essential travel.

For those arriving by air, starting on July 1, 2021, a PCR negative test (taken 72 hours before boarding), or a rapid antigen test (taken 48 hours before boarding) is mandatory before entry even for those with a vaccination certificate. There’s no need to present a test result if they have a recovery certificate issued by a third country or as part of the EU Digital Covid Certificate.

Children under 12 do not need to present a test.

All passengers must also fill out a Passenger Locator Card before boarding.

The same requirements apply to passengers flying into the Azores via international flights. For those flying domestically, an EU Digital Covid Certificate or negative test or certificate of recovery is required. They also must fill out a questionnaire.  

Passengers flying into Madeira, need to show an EU Digital Covid Certificate or negative test or certificate of recovery. They also need to register on this site.

EU passengers arriving in mainland Portugal by land from low or moderate risk countries must hold an EU Digital Covid Certificate. Citizens from outside the EU or EU countries considered red or dark red risk level, must present an EU Digital Covid Certificate or a negative test.

It is mandatory to present EU COVID Digital Certificate at major cultural and sporting events, bars and clubs.

»Read more details from official resources

 

 

Spain

surfing in Lanzarote, Spain

Photo credit: Lanzasurf

All passengers arriving in Spain by air, except children under 12 years ago and those in international transit, regardless of country of origin, must have the following documents:

  • EU Digital covid certificate or EU equivalent to show you have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or have a negative test result or a certificate of recovery. You can check if the certificate is valid on this site or in the Spain Travel Health app -SpTH- (Android, iOS, Huawei). Upon arrival at the airport, follow the signals indicating the orange way.
  • QR SPTH: if you don’t have an EU Digital certificate or equivalent, you must fill in the SPTH Health Control Form manually and enter the data proving vaccination or that you have a negative test or have recovered.

If you travel from a third country, make sure to check if you can travel to Spain.

If you arrive by sea, you’ll have to show a health certificate whether it’s EU, EU-equivalent, or third-country without the need to complete the health control form. 

»Read more details from official resources

 

Africa

 

Morocco

a group of surfers in morocco

Starting on February 7, 2022, international flights to Morocco are allowed to resume.

Travelers must present a vaccination pass and a negative PCR test result, taken no later than 48 hours before departure. Upon arrival, they’ll be screened by rapid tests. Random groups of travelers will also be given PCR tests.

Some travelers will be required to an additional test after 48 hours.

While in Morocco, travelers need to abide by the local laws and restrictions. Masks are worn in all pubic & common areas, including in natural parks and green spaces.

»Read more details from official resources

 

Asia & Oceania

 

Sri Lanka

surfing in sri lanka

Photo credit: Surfers Paradise Weligama

The paradise island of Sri Lanka is open to travelers from all over the world.

There’s no minimum number of days required for a stay, nor there is restrictive quarantine required.

Fully vaccinated travelers can stay at any type of accommodation and there’s no on-arrival PCR test required. However, a negative PCR test with a negative result taken within 72 hours before traveling to Sri Lanka is required. Travelers who have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 3 months and are vaccinated can present a negative antigen test taken within 48 hours of travel.

Non-fully-vaccinated travelers will stay in a “flexible bio-bubble” at approved hotels and are able to visit approved tourist sites. Unvaccinated travelers will stay at a “tourism bio-bubble” accommodation for 7 days / 8 nights.

All visitors (vaccinated and unvaccinated) must pay the mandatory local COVID-19 insurance of 12 USD with a one-month cover of US$50,000.

All travelers must submit the mandatory Health Declaration Form.

»Read more details from official sources.

 

Indonesia

getting ready to surf in indonesia

 

All foreign travelers who want to enter Indonesia must show a negative RT-PCR test result taken at most 48h before departure time.

Fully vaccinated travelers are not required to undertake quarantine.

But the quarantine remains in place for travelers who are not fully vaccinated or cannot show proof of vaccination. These travelers will quarantine for 5 days.

Only authorized hotels can be booked for quarantine purposes. Re-testing will be conducted two times during quarantine (upon arrival and at the end of quarantine time).

International travelers under the Travel Corridor Arrangement (TCA) are exempt from quarantine.

Travelers are allowed to enter through Bali or the port of Riau Islands. The requirements include:

  • proof of vaccination;
  • a negative RT-PCR test result;
  • a short-visit visa;
  • travel insurance of minimum US25,000 which includes COVID hospitalization;
  • conformation and payment for accommodation while in Indonesia.

All passengers must have an electronic Indonesia Health Alert Certificate (e-HAC), which can be generated via the “Peduli Lindungi" app (available in Apple Store or Android Play).

»Read more details from official sources.

 

Australia

surfing in Australia

Photo credit: Soul Surf School

Australia will reopen to all fully-vaccinated visa holders on February 21, 2022. 

Travelers need to comply with the quarantine and post-arrival testing requirements in the state or territory they plan to travel to. 

A negative COVID-19 test result is required for traveling or transiting through Australia. You must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR or other Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) test taken within 3 days before the departure of your flight, or a negative Rapid Antigen Test taken under medical supervision within 24 hours before the departure of your flight, to the airline when you check-in.

Non-fully-vaccinated visa holders will require a valid travel exemption to enter Australia and will be subject to state and territory quarantine requirements.

All passengers arriving by air into Australia must complete the Australia Travel Declaration (ATD) at least 72 hours before departure.

»Read more from official sources.

 

New Zealand

surfing in new zealand

Photo credit: Surf N Stay New Zealand

Entry to New Zealand from all countries remains strictly controlled. 

However, New Zealand’s borders are reopening in a phased approach for fully vaccinated travelers in 2022.

From February 27, 2022, fully-vaccinated New Zealand citizens and other eligible travelers in Australia can enter New Zealand and self-isolate on arrival. Eligible travelers must have spent the previous 14 days in Australia, must meet the health requirements before arrival, and include New Zealand and Australian citizens, residents, or permanent visa holders, as well as people who are exempt from border restrictions.

»Read more from official sources.

 

The Americas

 

Costa Rica

getting ready to surf in costa rica

Photo credit: Selina

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.

Beginning April 1, 2022, the Health Pass and travel insurance requirements will be eliminated for all travelers. However, a travel insurance policy is recommended to cover medical expenses and lodging in case of a COVID-19 infection. 

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.

 

Mexico

surfing in mexico

Photo credit: Oasis Surf & Spanish School

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

The inbound land borders with the USA are open for vaccinated travelers only. 

US citizens can fly into Mexico without any restrictions. However, please be advised that a negative COVID-19 test, taken 1 day 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. 

 

United States

surfing in Hawaii, USA

Photo credit: Go Nuts Hawaii

Passengers must be fully vaccinated to travel to the United States by plane if they are non-US citizens or non-US immigrants. They are required to show a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from the disease. The test should be taken no more than 1 day before travel.

Passengers are considered fully vaccinated, 2 weeks (14 days) after an accepted single-dose vaccine, 2-dose series, as well as if they’ve been part of trials (not placebo).

If you are not fully vaccinated, you might be able to travel based on criteria for an exception (including children under 18 years old and persons with valid visas where vaccines have limited availability) and must take a test no more than 1 day before departure.

»Read more information from official resources.

[Last Updated: February 8, 2022]


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