You are currently viewing How to travel during the pandemic (simplified version)

While we finish preparing our new upcoming pandemic travel resources page (including much more video content), here’s a quick recap of how to travel with the new rules. It’s really not as complicated as it seems if you take a few minutes to read.

You can subscribe to our free newsletter to receive all travel rules updates (they often change), and you’ll also get first access to the new COVID-19 resource page (well, at the same time as the 85,000+ Canadian travelers already subscribed).

So far, both of us Flytrippers co-founders have taken over 100 different flights and been to 20 countries since July 2020, so it’s definitely possible to travel at this stage of the pandemic if you want to travel and join the revenge travel craze (better late than never)!

Here’s how, a simplified version.


Visual summary of how to travel

Here’s an infographic summarizing the rules since the June 20th changes.

See full-size image


Let’s take a brief look at each element.


2 sets of rules

You always need to look out for the same 2 sets of rules for any destination and type of trip. The process is quite simple, really; just these 2 sets of rules to follow, and that’s it!

And rules might stick around for a while, so unless you really don’t like to travel, you have to get used to them and take a few minutes to become independent and be well prepared! I’ll say it again, it’s really not that complicated, and Flytrippers will help you get it all figured out!

2 sets of rules for travel (image credit: Flytrippers)


1st set of rules: Entering your destination 

To enter other countries:

  • Each country has its own rules

If you want travel to be as easy as possible, go to one of the:


Also, there is only one official source for all entry rules: the IATA website. All the rules! Once again: very simple!

Yes, it’s the same source for every country in the world, so it’s easy to know where to look!

However, that is written by bureaucrats and for all nationalities in the world, so it’s not always easy to understand the rules even if it’s easy to find where all the rules are.

To help you, you can find the rules in simpler terms for Canadians specifically in our guide to entry rules for each country (we spend many hours updating it regularly, and we can send you the next version directly by email).

We link to the IATA website in every country’s rules in our guide so it’s easy to double-check the most recent rules for almost every trip (for tips on edge cases like transits, exceptions, etc. stay tuned for our tips in our upcoming new resource page).

Again, it’s very important to ignore everything you read from random people on the Internet. They might know the rules from when they went to a country, but rules can change every single day (also, the person might just have no clue what they’re talking about too; very likely).


2nd set of rules: Entering Canada

To enter Canada (ABSOLUTELY nothing about this set of rules has changed on June 20th, contrary to the common myth):

  • Declaration to fill in the ArriveCAN app or website
    • It’s easy and will take you no more than 5 minutes
    • Pro tip: a NEXUS card will speed up the arrival process
  • Randomized arrival testing (SUSPENDED UNTIL “MID-JULY” AT LEAST)
    • Tests are free taxpayer-funded (over $1 billion)
    • No requirement to isolate while waiting for results
    • Few travelers are selected
    • Travelers with proof of a positive test are exempt
  • No mandatory vaccination, same as it’s always been since the start of the pandemic (for Canadians)
    • Canada’s definition of “vaccinated” is 2 doses (or 1 dose of Johnson & Johnson)
  • Pre-entry test required only for unvaccinated travelers
    • 3 options: negative antigen test, negative molecular test, positive molecular test
      • Negative antigen test: the day of your flight or the full day before (NOT “24 hours”)
      • Negative molecular test: within the last 72 hours
      • Positive molecular test: within the last 10 to 180 days
    • Children under 5 years old are exempt
    • Children from 5 to under 12 are exempt if they travel with a vaccinated parent
    • Travelers only transiting through Canada are exempt
    • Entry by land without a valid test is “allowed,” but you risk getting fined
    • Virtual self-tests with supervision are accepted
  • Additional rules for unvaccinated travelers
    • 14-day quarantine (some kids are exempt)
    • Mandatory testing upon arrival (on days 1 and 8)

That’s it!

Our ultimate guide on Canada’s entry rules is available for the more detailed version of that.


Concrete example of travel rules from A to Z

While you await our new resources page with a detailed FAQ section, you can read our complete guide on how to travel to the United States to see one very concrete example from A to Z.

And for any other country in the world, follow the same guide by replacing the USA entry rules with the other country’s entry rules (refer to our guide to every country’s entry rules). Simple!


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Traveling doesn’t need to be complicated. Plenty of countries have no test requirements. Canada’s rules are fairly easy to understand. Basically, if you’re vaccinated, you have to fill out a form in the ArriveCAN app. That’s it. Pretty simple, right?

What would you like to know about pandemic travel? Tell us in the comments below.


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Featured image: San Blas Islands, Panama (photo credit: Angel Silva)

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Andrew D'Amours

Andrew is the co-founder of Flytrippers. He is passionate about traveling the world but also, as a former management consultant, about the travel industry itself. He shares his experiences to help you save money on travel. As a very cost-conscious traveler, he loves finding deals and getting free travel thanks to travel rewards points... to help him visit every country in the world (current count: 64/193 Countries, 47/50 US States & 9/10 Canadian Provinces).

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. Sam

    “Pre-entry test required only for unvaccinated travelers” – does this include unvaxxed foreigners? I thought unvaxxed foreigners are now allowed to entry Canada at all at this time. Pls clarify. Thank you

    1. Andrew D'Amours

      Hi, no unfortunately only Canadians can enter Canada without being vaccinated.

  2. Murray

    Are there any rules that prohibit multiple trips between Canada and USA if fully vaccinated and no COVID symptoms? I entered back into Canada 30 March from USA and plan to enter USA again 6 April for another week. Thanks

    1. Andrew D'Amours

      Hey, no such rules 🙂 I’m going to the US tonight to test out the borders and I’m flying back Thursday. Only issue is if you are selected randomly for an arrival test after the first trip, and if you’re positive.

      1. Ed

        Your ‘only’ issue you mentioned here is exactly what happened to us yesterday when arriving at the US Land border. Be warned! I caught Covid in Canada before we left, developed symptoms in US, took a Rapid Antigen test (as we were curious if I had it or not) and found out I had it. It threw a massive curveball for the remainder of our trip and definitely tainted our first trip to the US in over 2. 5 years. As long as the random testing requirements remain and the consequences for testing positive do as well it will give us pause before planning another trip to the US. The border officer asked if we had any symptoms. It was then that I could have lied and said No and we drive off or I tell the truth. Well I told the truth that I had tested positive mid week and now despite all being vaccinated (and with all having minor cold like symptoms), all 4 of us had a virtual covid testing appt early this morning. We must all quarantine for 10-14 days depending on what our test results are. Secondary testing in 8 days may be required. We are being treated like we are unvaccinated crossing the border. My wife and I cannot go to work, my kids cannot go to school for longer than if we stayed in Canada and we are now essentially prisoners in our homes. I am glad all your back and forth travel to the US has worked out for you, unfortunately that was not the case for me and my family. I am letting you know this so your other readers can read about what can potentially happen if you travel. International travel is different now (even with pre -testing requirements removed) and am skeptical it will ever return to normal again. As you can imagine I am totally pissed off at what happened to us. I wish before I left I had thought more about what would happen if one member of our family tested positive in the US and was randomly selected for testing at the border. I had focused too much on the pre testing requirements being dropped and not possible negative situations. There is more that needs to go before travel can be as it was again. For me that day cannot come soon enough.

  3. Nicole

    My daughter tested positive on her swab 24 hour prior to flight from Norway to Toronto. We didn’t upload it to arrive can app. Can she swab daily until she is negative then upload that negative and fly or will she have to wait till April 1? She has never done a PCR. We fall right between the old rules and and new ones and nobody can answer us!

    1. Andrew D'Amours

      You can always enter Canada if you have a valid negative test so yes. As long as she follows the local isolation rules too, if any.
      And as long as she has no symptoms of course, but that rules applies whether or not you have a test, it’s completely separate.

  4. Greg

    We are traveling from Barbados via Toronto and connecting to Edmonton. Unfortunately, we have a 12 hr layover in Toronto. We have been told that we cannot leave the airport because of Covid rules. Is this accurate or a pre-April 1 rule?

    Looking at the Air Canada Stopover program it has been discontinued because of covid and it is on the website that we can’t leave the airport.

    1. Andrew D'Amours

      Honestly, I’ve never heard of such a rule in the 2 years of this pandemic really. Don’t see why you could not leave the airport.

  5. Ed

    The Rapid Antigen test has to be taken within one full calendar day? So for example, if we are driving back from the USA on Mar 31, the test has to be taken on Mar 30 sometime? If taken on the 28th or 29th it would not be valid?

    1. Andrew D'Amours

      Exactly. The day you enter or the full calendar day before. But in the US it’s much wiser to get a free NAAT (Walgreens ID NOW test) 72 hours before entering since the results are just as fast.

  6. Marlene

    You can board a plane in canada without a vaccine. Aeromexico out of Vancouver for eg!

    1. Andrew D'Amours

      Well, not according to the official rules at least. But enforcement is the airlines’ responsibility and it is possible that not 100% of passengers will be checked, there’s no guarantee they won’t either. We’ve seen testimonials from travelers who were denied boarding by Aeromexico specifically, so unless they recently decided to not follow federal law, it’s a gamble :S

    2. Michelle

      Which airport? Just curious as I know folks that are not vaxxed that have travelled to Mexico and couldn’t figure out how or if they lucked out. I am vaccinated but know someone that isn’t and I thought it was up to the airline, not the airport but that’s not what I keep reading. Thanks!

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