Travel during COVID-19 pandemic

Is it SAFE to travel during a pandemic? Well, I had to travel in the middle of a pandemic from UAE to India. To my good luck, I was in a charter flight and there were only those people whom I know. Read till the end to know the full story.

I started my trip by flying to Germany from Goa, India and from there I’ve been travelling in Europe and the UK. After two months I travelled to the Middle East via Suez Canal in Egypt. The Suez Canal is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea through the Isthmus of Suez. It is often considered to define the border between Africa and Asia. Everything was normal and life was good back then. I went to Jordan and I had a great time exploring Jordan. Take a look at my blog from Jordan.

It was amazing to see Egypt and Israel from Jordon but I couldn’t visit there as my itinerary said I’m heading to UAE. I explored Dubai, Abu Dhabi and some more places with my cousin by car. My best and scariest moment was on the world’s fastest roller coaster in Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi.

I also visited Oman, Bahrain and Qatar during my time in the Middle East. I celebrated Christmas in Manama, Bahrain with a Goan family who invited me for lunch and New Year in Abu Dhabi in the Ferrari World.

2020 started with shocking news from China and I happened to know this while watching CNN. I had to write to my Chinese friends asking how they are doing. Thank God, they were doing fine. A month later the virus started spreading around the world as most people travel by flight with the virus but they were unaware. Many countries started reporting COVID-19 cases and the Middle East was planning to put some restrictions soon.

The first country to stop tourist from my itinerary was Bahrain. I was visiting Oman and UAE. Soon the UAE announced that they will not allow tourists coming from another country. Luckily we could stay in Dubai, UAE. However, going out was getting risky. I did travel to some places around Dubai before the lockdown.

I was kind of stuck in Dubai on a cruise ship. I had a quality time making plans and writing my book “How did I travel to China” now available on AMAZON. Also, take a look at my blog from China. Challenging time was when I had to travel back from Dubai (UAE) to India.

Mask was mandatory when I went outside and the gloves were optional. However, I did wear gloves and within an hour my hands were feeling uncomfortable in the rubber gloves. Weather was hot and humid in Dubai. Very unpleasant to travel wearing mask and gloves. I had to bear it as it was mandatory while travelling.

When I reached the airport. It was very uncomfortable to take care of my luggage and also PPE as mask needed adjustments from time to time. Keeping the travel documents & hand sanitiser handy was a must as I was in a public place and I needed to clean my hands often even though I was wearing gloves.

During the security check, I was reminded that 2 meters distance was mandatory. A couple of things to keep in mind while travelling and on the other hand, I had to make sure every-time that my travelling documents are intact and I can’t lose them. I wanted to get the security check done faster in order to walk with fewer things around.

After the security check, I managed to get it done without any over-weight issues. I don’t like paying extra for the luggage. After all the checks, I decided to change my gloves. Emirates staff provided me with a Travel Hygiene Kit. It contained masks, gloves, hand sanitiser and hand sanitising antibacterial wipes. Nice kit but it added to my luggage and I had another thing to take care of now.

I walked around the airport and shopping was different as there were barriers everywhere to keep a distance. Touching things in the shops were not allowed and people were suspicious of the other travellers.

Before boarding the flight I was provided with a face shield and some were given a full-body covering if they were sitting in between other passengers. I had a window seat and face shield was more than enough for me during the journey.

I was wearing a mask, gloves and the face shield. I’m not used to wearing a mask and I had to get used to it as it was mandatory to wear it all the time throughout the journey. Challenging but this was the modern travelling time in the middle of a pandemic.

We were thankful that we at least have a flight and I saw some other travellers who were at the airport saying their flight is cancelled. Can’t do anything.

I was travelling on 13 July 2020 at 13:00 from Dubai – Bombay. The flight duration was less than three hours and a meal was served during my journey. Everything was wrapped and easy to eat. I had to skip some drinks which were served openly in the flight.

When I reached Mumbai, it was a feeling of coming from space. A bit anxious about city life in Mumbai as it wasn’t the best time to travel. Keeping good hope I moved ahead and making sure that I wear gloves all the time. Security check at the Mumbai airport was kind of annoying and they were taking very long for a small task.

I was stopped from leaving the security check for not having the Aarogya Setu App. This app is mandatory on all the airports in India. Aarogya Setu is an Indian open-source COVID–19 “contact tracing, syndromic mapping and self-assessment” digital service, primarily a mobile app.

After the security check and the immigration check, I travelled to the JW Marriott for seven days quarantine period. Lived in a closed room for seven days and all the meals were delivered door to door in the hotel. I spent most of my time making a coffee and relaxing in the bathtub.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my blog and I’m sure you got a fair idea of travelling during the pandemic. I have to say that it’s not complicated but can get challenging if you are not used to wearing the mask all the time. Travel only if it is mandatory and please avoid unnecessary travels. Stay safe and stay blessed.

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