COVID-19 (Coronavirus) may impact your travel plans. Wherever you're going, you'll find the latest advice here.

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Your coronavirus (COVID-19) travel questions answered

What are the travel regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic? What does COVID-19 travel insurance cover? Who needs to quarantine during coronavirus? How far can coronavirus travel in the air? To help give you the latest guidance on coronavirus travel restrictions and health news, we’ve answered some of your most frequently asked coronavirus (COVID-19) travel questions. It’s important you have all the information you need to make the right decisions for you.

Coronavirus travel questions Canadians have been asking

Coronavirus travel advisories

What are the travel regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic?

As of March 19, 2020, travel regulations in Canada have been restricted. The Public Health Agency of Canada continues to ask that Canadians avoid all non-essential travel outside of the country. Government officials also advise against booking travel on all cruise ships until further notice, and has extended its ban on cruise ship travel until the end of February 2021.

For information on the latest travel advisories for Canadians, visit the government’s foreign travel advice page.

What are the COVID-19 travel rules near me?

If you’re wondering about local travel restrictions and public health guidance for your region, the Globe and Mail and CBC offer daily reporting on the latest COVID-19 travel regulations for each province and territory. For the most up-to-date information on what’s happening in your town or city, be sure to bookmark those pages.

What is the WHO’s latest travel advice?

Whether you are travelling or in your home city, the WHO (World Health Organization) advises to practice the “3Cs”: avoid spaces that are closed, crowded, or involve close contact. If you are in a closed indoor space, be sure to take precautions. Always practice good hygiene, and routinely wash your hands with soap and water (for at least 20 seconds) or use an alcohol-based gel. To find more public health and travel advice from the World Health Organization, please click here.

Can I travel to Canada from the U.S. during COVID-19?

All non-essential (discretionary) travel to Canada continues to be limited, and many foreign nationals cannot currently travel to Canada for any leisure purposes. These restrictions also apply to people with a valid visitor visa or electronic travel authorization (eTA). The Canada/U.S. land border continues to be closed to non-essential traffic until further notice.

If you are a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, a dual (Canadian) citizen with a valid passport or special authorization, a person registered under the Indian Act, or a protected person, you are still currently allowed to enter Canada. Some exceptions are in place for those requiring travel to Canada, such as immediate family members and persons under compassionate grounds. You can find the full details on who can and cannot enter Canada here.

Please note that the mandatory 14-day quarantine still applies in all cases of travel to Canada, and it is now required that everyone must submit a quarantine plan before boarding a flight to Canada.

Note for all travellers to Canada: As of January 7, 2021, everyone five years or older is required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result to the airline 72 hours before boarding an international flight to enter Canada. You can read the press release here.

family walking through an airport wearing masks
Your coronavirus (COVID-19) travel questions answered

Who needs to quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Under Canada’s Quarantine Act, all international arrivals to Canada must follow the 14-day quarantine rule. All arrivals showing symptoms of coronavirus (cough, fever, difficulty breathing) must isolate for 14 days upon entering the country. If you are not showing any symptoms of coronavirus, you may still be asymptomatic and can still transmit the virus onto others. In this case, once you’ve entered Canada you must immediately self-isolate for 14 days. And remember that your 14-day quarantine plan must be submitted before you board your flight to Canada.

This PDF fact sheet from the Government of Canada has everything you need to know about quarantine measures and how to keep yourself as well as your fellow citizens healthy.

Can I go outside during the COVID-19 isolation in Canada?

In short, no. During your required 14-day quarantine, you are only allowed to stay within the confines of the place where you are isolating. If you have a deck or yard space with your accommodation, then going outside is very possible and encouraged. But you may not go outside in any public space where you could come into contact with (and possibly infect) anyone outside of your quarantine bubble.

Can my family members come to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic?

If you are a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or person registered under the Indian Act, your immediate family members may come to Canada if they plan to stay for 15 days or more. Any extended family members (such as an exclusive dating relationship) must get written authorization from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Any trip less than 15 days must be for a non-discretionary purpose.

Please note that in all situations, the mandatory quarantine, providing a quarantine plan, and proof of a negative test result still applies. Who is considered an immediate and/or extended family member? Read more about uniting with family members here.

Travel restrictions during COVID-19

Where can I travel during coronavirus?

Any non-essential travel outside of your region is still discouraged at this time. That being said, some countries borders remain open to international tourism. Quarantine rules, health checks, and other restrictions will apply to anyone travelling to certain destinations. If you’re wondering where you can travel right now, the latest restrictions and openings for Canadians can be found here.

Do I need a COVID test to travel?

Depending on the destination you plan to travel to, a COVID-19 test might be required before departure. If you are doing a multi-destination trip, then you will have to do a local COVID test (if needed) in the country you are visiting before leaving for your next country. You can check the latest testing requirements by country with this Where Can I Go map.

Where can I find a COVID-19 testing station near me?

As this is handled at the provincial level, check your local government website for a list of the COVID-19 testing stations and requirements in your region.

Want to know if there are any reported coronavirus exposures near you? Find out the latest information on infections in your area by downloading the COVID Alert App. Users can safely track and report COVID-19 exposures via Bluetooth technology.

“Many providers have introduced flexible booking policies for future travel. When searching on Skyscanner for flights you can identify those fares covered by flexible booking policies by the ‘flexible ticket’ icon on the flight listing. You can also adjust your search to show only flexible bookings.

If you are looking for updated travel insurance coverage, study the fine print, and again, consider speaking to a representative on the phone or by email to be sure of what you’re covered for. If you don’t have cover in place you should ensure you do before booking any future trips, also taking extra care to be sure that the policy covers you for travel to your desired destination.

It’s also advisable to check any consular and repatriation agreements between your home country and the country you want to visit. In some cases, countries might not have official measures in place to ensure you can return quickly from your place of travel if there is an emergency.”

Martin Nolan, Senior Director, Legal & Public and Regulatory Affairs at Skyscanner

How much is coronavirus travel insurance?

In recent months, a number of travel insurance companies have added COVID-19 medical insurance to their plans. Like all types of travel insurance, coverage will vary depending on the type of plan you purchase. Note that those travelling to the U.S. will typically have higher travel insurance fees. There are a number of travel insurance options for Canadians at the moment, and it is possible to be covered for medical expenses while abroad.

Many airlines, such as Air Canada and WestJet, have recently added complimentary COVID-19 emergency medical insurance to eligible flight packages. To find out if your trip is insured, check with your airline.

illustration of people skipping rocks in a lake in the Canadian Rockies
Your coronavirus (COVID-19) travel questions answered

Your coronavirus health questions answered

Can coronavirus travel by air?

Is it commonly known that coronavirus is spread through air droplets. This can happen when an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks, shouts, or sings. Once released, these droplets can remain in the air for seconds up to a few minutes. Because some droplets can travel over two metres, practicing physical distancing is very important to help stop the spread of coronavirus. You can read more about the latest science of airborne transmission on the CDC website.

Are masks effective against the COVID-19 virus?

If used correctly, face masks have been proven to help limit the spread of air droplets and particles that carry coronavirus. According to the World Health Organization, medical masks should only be used by hospital workers, those who’ve been infected with COVID-19, and those who take care of someone who’s suspected or confirmed with COVID-19. Fabric masks are appropriate for daily use outside of these situations. When purchasing a face mask, look for one with at least three layers of material in order to be effective. And, always make sure your mask fully covers both your nose and mouth.

How long does coronavirus live on surfaces?

Early studies showed that coronavirus can live on surfaces for a few hours to a few days. This is why it is important to practice frequent hand-washing to help keep yourself and others safe, as well as sanitizing the high-touch surfaces in your home on a daily basis.

a woman sitting waiting for her flight while wearing a mask, face shield and reading a book
Your coronavirus (COVID-19) travel questions answered

COVID-19: Travel by plane

How is it travelling by plane during coronavirus?

“Travel providers are reacting to new consumer concerns by implementing and improving hygiene standards to instill confidence and differentiate themselves as people go through the travel booking experience. Airlines and airports have introduced a slew of new measures to keep travellers safe. It’s also recommended that you take plenty of personal protective equipment with you to reduce the risks associated with flying during coronavirus.”

Jon Thorne, Director of User Satisfaction at Skyscanner

How clean is the air you breathe on an airplane?

The air you breathe on a plane is almost certainly cleaner than the stuff you’d be breathing indoors on land. It may not be as pure as getting out to nature, but it’s better than the air you breathe in cafés, shops, or grocery stores. This is down to the efficient air circulation systems and HEPA filters that are found on the majority of modern commercial flights.

What does HEPA stand for?

HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air and is a common type of filter used on planes. What they do is essentially remove any impurities in the air, no matter how small including the tiny COVID-19 microns. In fact, in NASA research, HEPA filters remove impurities of that size with a 99.97% efficiency.

masks and hand sanitizers falling out of a suitcase
Your coronavirus (COVID-19) travel questions answered

What does the future of air travel look like?

“Expect more electronic security measures as you move through the airport, with infrared cameras, body sensors, and temperature screening in place in some cases to avoid infections spreading. Consider downloading apps to ensure that you don’t have to carry paper documents (primarily check-in, security, boarding, and hotel confirmation). Also, consider taking most of your foreign currency in electronic form. Multi-currency cards with e-wallets mean you can avoid international bank fees and use contactless payment over cash.”

Dave Thomson, Chief of Staff Product and Design at Skyscanner

What if my flight is cancelled?

In accordance with the Canadian Transportation Agency, the type of delay or flight cancellation depends on the airline’s level of control in the given situation. The specific situation will determine how much compensation you get as a passenger. For example, if your flight is cancelled in a situation within the airline’s control, the airline must communicate key information to you, pay compensation for the inconvenience, and offer alternative travel arrangements or a refund. You can read more about this in our recently updated flight cancellations guide.

As a result of the uncertainty due to the COVID-19 situation, many airlines are offering flexible travel booking options, so that can be a good way to avoid these fees. If you have flights booked that haven’t been cancelled yet, rather than paying to move them, it could be worth waiting to see if the flights are cancelled nearer the time so the change to your booking or refund doesn’t come at a cost.

Have baggage guidelines changed during coronavirus?

Baggage guidelines haven’t changed much due to coronavirus. Most major airlines are typically allowing the same number of carry-on and checked bags as usual on their flights, and the appropriate baggage fees will apply. Due to stricter sanitation policies during coronavirus, airlines are recommending that passengers check all of their bags for flights in order to keep things clean on board as possible. Air Canada’s already implemented touch-free bag checks in major airports in the country with plans to expand in international airports. Check out this checked luggage and carry-on baggage guide for more info on baggage policies.

a backpack, skies, luggage and a beach ball all grouped together
Your coronavirus (COVID-19) travel questions answered

I booked with Skyscanner. Who should I get in touch with to cancel or make changes?

This depends on who you bought your travel from. There are two ways to buy travel through the Skyscanner website or app: buy from a partner or book with us. Skyscanner’s partners’ are the travel agencies, airlines, hotels, and car hire companies you can book with through our site and app. If you booked with a partner, you’ll need to contact them to cancel or make changes to your booking. If you booked your travel with Skyscanner on our site or in the app, then check your booking confirmation for details on all the ways to get help. Not sure who you bought your travel from? Check your confirmation email or your bank statement for details on who the payment was made to.

So there you have it, your coronavirus travel questions answered!

Want to read more?

This page was last updated on January 8, 2021. To our knowledge, the information on this page was correct at the time of publication. However, given the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the information will vary by location and change at short notice and over time. We will do our best to keep this page up-to-date, however, this cannot be guaranteed.

This page has been created for general guidance only and has not been designed for you or any specific circumstances relevant to you. It is highly recommended that you check your government’s latest travel advice before travelling or making any decisions to travel.