Travel reporter’s first overseas travel report after COVID-19


A pile of documents for vaccination, PCR testing, travel insurance, etc.
If you want to travel even in the era of With Corona, you need to be tested for COVID-19 4 times.

With Corona (step-by-step recovery of daily life), the daily life of travel reporters also began to recover. From October 24th to 31st, I went to the Czech Republic for overseas coverage. We have summarized the entire process of overseas travel that has changed since we entered with Corona.

What documents and expenses are required for the trip?

International travel now favors vaccinated people. Conditions vary slightly from country to country, but most countries that allow foreigners to enter and leave the country exempt self-isolation for those vaccinated, and only exempt self-isolation for those vaccinated when they return to Korea. Vaccination certificates are required to be exempt from self-isolation. If you want to be recognized overseas, you need to prepare in English.

In many countries, a negative COVID-19 PCR test, issued 72 hours before entry, is a mandatory document. So was the Czech Republic. A negative confirmation letter must also be prepared in English, but public health centers and screening clinics only issue in Korean, so I had to visit a hospital where English is available. The price ranges from 100,000 won to 150,000 won depending on the hospital. There are hospitals where you can visit by appointment, and there are hospitals where you have to wait in line for an on-site examination. You will also have to go back to the hospital the next day to receive the test results. Recently, a company that provides a COVID-19 PCR test service has been created to reduce the hassle. Through an agency called Covid Test World, I booked a visit time in advance and received a test result map online.

Documents prepared before departure for travel to the Czech Republic. Travel Insurance English Certificate, Vaccination Certificate (English), COVID-19 PCR Negative Result Confirmation Certificate (English), Czech Online Pre-entry Form, EU Digital Vaccination Certificate / Reporter Goeun Son

EU Digital Vaccine Certificate is required for travel to Europe. The vaccination certificate (in English) issued in Korea must be converted back to the EU digital vaccine certificate, which can be applied for online before entering the country. In the case of the Czech Republic, through the Unicare Medical Center, it was possible to obtain a pre-issuance of 1,000 Koruna (about 55,000 Korean Won). However, since November, the issuance of short-term travelers has been suspended, and it is limited to visa holders and business travelers. In the Czech Republic, an EU digital vaccine certificate is not mandatory. Depending on your travel itinerary, we recommend that you check the restrictions in each country in Europe.

Last but not least, I applied for an online advance registration form before entering the Czech Republic. By accessing the entry application site announced at the Czech Embassy in Korea, entering the appropriate information in the form, I was able to receive a QR code right away. If you prepare the vaccination certificate, PCR test negative confirmation, EU digital vaccine certificate, and online advance entry form, print out 2-3 copies and save them on your mobile phone, you are ready to leave. Compared to the time when I could travel freely with just one passport, there were so many things to prepare. For your reference, it is recommended that you prepare your travel insurance certificate in English.

Many shops in the duty-free area of ​​Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport are still closed. / Reporter Go-eun Son
Many shops in the duty-free area of ​​Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport are still closed. / Reporter Go-eun Son

Changed immigration landscape

The morning of October 24th at Incheon International Airport was still quiet. However, we recommend that you arrive at the airport 3 hours before your flight departure. This is because it takes quite a while to check the documents prepared for departure at the check-in counter. Unlike before when mobile or non-face-to-face check-in was done and only luggage was checked in, now at the counter, the necessary documents are checked one by one before departure. It took about 40 minutes, including waiting time, to check in with a total of 7 people.

However, the time required to pass through the departure hall has been significantly reduced compared to the previous one. The crowded Incheon International Airport departure hall was very smooth, with the expected number of passengers departing between 100 and 300 per time slot. So was the duty free shop. Duty-free shops in the duty-free zone were not fully operational either. Only some duty-free shops and stores were open to welcome customers. The duty-free goods delivery hall, where you had to take a ticket and wait, was also crowded. Duty-free items ordered online could be picked up at the delivery hall without a long wait. However, due to a decrease in demand, the number of goods stocked in duty-free shops decreased compared to the past. There is a high possibility that the product you are looking for may not be found unless it is some classic product that is in constant demand.

To the Czech Republic, it was a journey to Prague via Finnair via Helsinki. At Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport’s transit checkpoint, I submitted another PCR-negative certificate, vaccination certificate, and an online pre-entry application. Rather, upon arriving in Prague, Czech Republic, all you need to do is submit an online advance entry application form.

The scenery in front of Charles Bridge that was crowded with people on October 28th, Czech Independence Day / Reporter Go-eun Son
The scenery in front of Charles Bridge that was crowded with people on October 28th, Czech Independence Day / Reporter Go-eun Son

With Corona Preview

Although the Czech Republic makes it compulsory to wear a mask indoors, such as shopping malls, public transport, and shops, it is not compulsory to wear a mask outdoors. So, while staying in the Czech Republic, I was able to take off my mask and live my life as before. He also carried a vaccination certificate and PCR negative confirmation, but was never asked to enter tourist attractions such as restaurants or museums. However, as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Czech Republic is increasing, from November 1st, measures have been strengthened to check the documents when entering multiple facilities such as restaurants and cafes.

Corona 19 PCR test center located in Prague city / Reporter Go-eun Son
Corona 19 PCR test center located in Prague city / Reporter Go-eun Son

In order to enter Korea, they had to undergo another Corona 19 test 72 hours before departure. If you do not have a negative result confirmation, you cannot board the plane at the departure airport. When I searched for Prague Corona Test on Google, I was able to find possible testing stations in Prague city. The price was around 10,000 won. You can also pick it up at Prague Airport. The basic test, which receives results by e-mail within 24 hours after the test, is about 110,000 won, and the express test, which is issued quickly within 2 hours, costs about 400,000 won.

Incheon International Airport Quarantine for Overseas Arrivals (left) and Corona 19 PCR Negative Confirmation Vaccination Certificate, Special Quarantine Report and Health Status Questionnaire (Right) / Reporter Go-eun Son
Incheon International Airport Quarantine for Overseas Arrivals (left) and Corona 19 PCR Negative Confirmation Vaccination Certificate, Special Quarantine Report and Health Status Questionnaire (Right) / Reporter Go-eun Son

After entering the country…an unfinished journey

When you arrive at Incheon International Airport, it is best to get off the plane as soon as possible. They go through quarantine as soon as they get off the plane, because it took a lot of time to check the vaccination certificate, the COVID-19 PCR negative confirmation, the health status questionnaire written on the plane, and the special quarantine report. After the quarantine officer has checked the documents, he can enter the country as an exempt from self-quarantine only by attaching the ‘Domestic Vaccination Completed’ and ‘PCR Submitter’ stickers to the passport.

You must check your health status for 14 days on the quarantine report/self-diagnosis app operated by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / Screen capture
You must check your health status for 14 days on the quarantine report/self-diagnosis app operated by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / Screen capture

It doesn’t end here. On the first day of arrival, he received another PCR test for COVID-19 at the local public health center and had to wait at home until the test results came out. I was able to receive the test results by text message within 24 hours, and I was able to receive a negative confirmation and do free activities. You must also undergo the last PCR test for COVID-19 on the 6th or 7th day of entry. You must also download the ‘Quarantine Report/Self-diagnosis’ app managed by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 14 days after entering the country and submit your health status in relation to fever, cough, sore throat, and shortness of breath every day. After receiving two negative tests after entering the country, if there are no symptoms for 14 days, all necessary travel procedures will be completed.

By Son Go-eun, staff reporter [email protected]

Copyright © Travel Newspaper Unauthorized reproduction and redistribution prohibited


www.traveltimes.co.kr

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *