May 16, 2022

Model Desac

It’s Time to Fly

Travel: Five quick getaways for those looking to leave B.C.

9 min read

Now that the Canadian government is dropping its pre-arrival testing requirement, here are five ideas for quick travel getaways if you’re itching to pack your bags and get out of B.C. for a bit.

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As of April 1, Canadian officials will say ‘bon voyage’ to the pre-entry testing requirement for travellers entering or returning to Canada, which means perhaps it’s finally time to book that long-awaited trip.

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Previously, travellers were required to show a negative molecular COVID-19 test before entering Canada, in addition to being fully vaccinated. In late February 2022, that testing requirement was loosened to accept rapid antigen tests which can cost much less but must be taken in a shorter time frame before boarding a Canada-bound flight.

At the same time, the Canadian government also eased its recommendation, no longer advising Canadians to avoid non-essential travel.

Even so, many Canadians put off travel, fearing that a positive test before returning meant being stranded in another country and grappling with added costs. But now, with the pre-entry testing requirement dropped, there could be more restless travellers hitting the road or taking to the skies.

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So I don’t have to show a negative COVID-19 test at all to return to or enter Canada?

While the Canadian government no longer needs all inbound travellers to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, random travellers may still be selected for mandatory testing on arrival at a land border or airport, including those who are fully vaccinated.

However, you’ll no longer need to quarantine while awaiting your test results, so long as you’re fully vaccinated. But you should still take precautions to wear a mask and be mindful of your whereabouts for a period after returning or arriving to Canada.

Travellers will also need to continue submitting their vaccination status and declaration using the ArriveCan app. Those who are not fully vaccinated may still enter Canada under certain exemptions. More information can be found online here.

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Here are a few easy ideas for where to go on your next trip out of B.C. As always, be sure to check your destination for full details on entry requirements.


Bellingham

Travellers line up to enter Canada at the Peace Arch border crossing in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada Aug. 9, 2021.
Travellers line up to enter Canada at the Peace Arch border crossing in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada Aug. 9, 2021. Photo by JENNIFER GAUTHIER /X07099

Is your Trader Joe’s stash running low? Never fear. While the U.S. has for some time dropped the requirement for a negative COVID-19 test before crossing the U.S. land border, Canada’s own testing requirement until now meant those milk-and-cheese cross-border runs weren’t quite so simple.

Now, with no testing requirement on entry or re-entry, you can stock up on all the Trader Joe’s goodies you want.

Vaccination? The U.S. still requires all travellers to be fully vaccinated and to show proof of vaccination before crossing the U.S. land border.

Pre-entry test? The U.S. does not require a pre-entry COVID-19 test before travellers can enter the U.S. via land border.

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Cost? Other than the high price of gas, this is one day trip that is likely still within budget.


Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii is pictured in this file photo.
Honolulu, Hawaii is pictured in this file photo. PNG

Beginning March 26, the state of Hawaii will be ending its Safe Travels program. That means travellers arriving from U.S. airports will not face any COVID-related requirements upon landing in Hawaii, though indoor mask mandates will remain in place statewide. For travellers arriving from foreign airports — such as those of us flying out from YVR — you’ll still have to adhere to U.S. federal requirements.

Vaccination? The U.S. still requires all air travellers to be fully vaccinated and to show proof of vaccination before boarding a U.S.-bound flight, though Hawaii will not have any entry requirements at the state level. Not to mention, Canada’s own proof of vaccination requirement before departing from a Canadian airport is still in place.

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Pre-entry test? All airline passengers to the U.S., ages 2 and up and regardless of vaccination status or citizenship, will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within one day of travel before boarding a flight. Alternatively, U.S.-bound travellers can show documentation from a doctor that shows recovery from a COVID-19 infection within the last 90 days.

Cost? Flights from Vancouver to Honolulu had been as low as $350 round-trip in recent months but with the upcoming end to the Safe Travels program, the cost of flights to Honolulu has slowly been creeping back up to the $600 range which is what’s normally expected for that route. However, there are still a few $450 round-trip flights scattered here and there throughout the spring.

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Disneyland (Anaheim, Calif.)

Mickey and Minnie are ready to welcome you back to the Disneyland resort in Anaheim, Calif.
Mickey and Minnie are ready to welcome you back to the Disneyland resort in Anaheim, Calif. Photo by DISNEYLAND RESORT / HANDOUT /PNG

Are you among the parents anxious to have your kids experience the magic of Disney before they grow out of that perfect window of innocence and excitement? Well, if you’re willing to tackle the pre-departure testing requirement for you and your kiddos before heading to the U.S., 2022 is not a bad time to visit Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif.

While counties across California still have varying levels of COVID mandates in place, Disneyland is in Orange County and as of early March 2022, masks are recommended indoors but not required in Orange County. Masks are, however, needed on board resort trams, the Monorail and some areas of Disneyland.

Vaccination? The U.S. still requires all air travellers to be fully vaccinated and to show proof of vaccination before boarding a U.S.-bound flight. Not to mention, Canada’s own proof of vaccination requirement before departing from a Canadian airport is still in place. The Disneyland resort does not require vaccination to enter.

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Pre-entry test? All airline passengers to the U.S., ages 2 and up and regardless of vaccination status or citizenship, will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within one day of travel before boarding a flight. Alternatively, U.S.-bound travellers can show documentation from a doctor that shows recovery from a COVID-19 infection within the last 90 days. The Disneyland resort does not require a pre-entry test to enter.

Cost? Flights from YVR to LAX are mostly typical right now, hovering around the $375 mark. Flights from YVR to SNA (John Wayne Airport), which is about 20 minutes from the Disneyland resort and a much more convenient route, are up and down throughout the spring and summer but there are still some $300 round-trip flights available though not all are direct. Disneyland is not currently running its annual Canadian resident ticket promotion but don’t let that stop you if the flights are right.

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Mexico

The tower at Casa de la Torre is pictured in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
The tower at Casa de la Torre is pictured in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Photo by HANDOUT /HANDOUT

If enduring the pandemic in rainy Vancouver has got you feeling blue, tacos and sun in Mexico might be for you. The sunny destination is open to tourism and for many, visiting an all-inclusive resort is just the right type of low-stress vacation needed, after having already navigated the logistics of pandemic air travel.

The country has maintained some of the loosest border restrictions during the pandemic.

Vaccination? Mexico does not require vaccination to enter, however, Canada’s own proof of vaccination requirement before departing from a Canadian airport is still in place.

Pre-entry test? There is no requirement to show a negative COVID-19 test or quarantine before entering Mexico though some states and cities will have more strict guidelines. Many resorts may also ask guests to fill out a health declaration upon check-in.

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Cost? Flights between YVR and PVR in Puerto Vallarta are currently high, coming in around $600 or so for a round-trip flights. The average cost of flights are usually closer to the $500 to $550 range. But check around, some resorts may be offering deals to entice tourists to visit as international travel picks up again.


Las Vegas

Viva Las Vegas.
Viva Las Vegas. Photo by iStock /GETTY IMAGES

Not everyone feels lucky but if you do, consider Las Vegas. For some, spending time inside at a casino isn’t ideal but perhaps you’re among those who don’t mind the filtered air atmosphere of the Bellagio.

As of mid-February, the state of Nevada has lifted its mask mandate though they are still required in health care settings and federally still mandated on airplanes and public transport.

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Vaccination? The U.S. still requires all air travellers to be fully vaccinated and to show proof of vaccination before boarding a U.S.-bound flight. Not to mention, Canada’s own proof of vaccination requirement before departing from a Canadian airport is still in place.

Pre-entry test? All airline passengers to the U.S., ages 2 and up and regardless of vaccination status or citizenship, will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within one day of travel before boarding a flight. Alternatively, U.S.-bound travellers can show documentation from a doctor that shows recovery from a COVID-19 infection within the last 90 days.

Cost? Depending on which airline you choose, round-trip flights down to Las Vegas can be found as cheap as $180 with Flair Airlines or more typically in the $350 to $450 range with larger airlines such as Westjet, United or Alaska. Non-stop will, of course, cost you a bit more, perhaps closer to $500 at this time.


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