I finally went on a vacation after 2 covid years! Like many of you, I have missed travelling so so much. So we took advantage of The Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL) and the seasonal flights to Vancouver for our winter holiday.
I would be lying if I say there were no anxieties travelling in the midst of a pandemic. From pre-departure PCR swab test to on-arrival test to quarantine plan in the event that we tested positive during the trip… It doesn’t help when omicron is spreading like wildfire and the horrific stories we read from the news about other travellers.
Travelling During Covid-19
If you have been pondering on taking a vacation with VTL but not sure if it’s worth the risk, I’m here to share a little experience and thoughts. First of all, let me just say that our trip has been nothing short of amazing. It was smooth, safe and most importantly, the anxiety of catching covid was not present at all when we were in Canada. Life seems pretty normal except that everyone has to wear a mask most of the time which we’ve been so used to by now. So all our worries prior to the trip was in fact unnecessary.
I am so glad that we made it safely for the trip and enjoyed the winter seasons, discovered good food that I’m gonna share here and some information on travelling on VTL.
This seafood restaurant serves authentic cantonese food with it’s origins from Hong Kong. The roasted meats were especially good.
Perfect dinner choice on a cold day and very reasonably priced.
One of the top ramen places to visit in Vancouver. They have interesting menu including gluten-free and vegan options. We love the brussel sprouts tempura!
I have a love affair with crepes and this one with French onions, cheese and a side of creme fraiche was sublime.
A delicatessen and cooking school, we love the grain bowl with Korean fried chicken and grilled sandwiches. They serve great coffee too!
Quite a fancy place that is known for their Canadian reserve Angus beef from Alberta. Our favourite has to be the BC Albacore Tuna with edamame hummus.
Chanced upon this in Chinatown that serves really good Italian sandwiches.
A nice place for cocktails and food was great as well. We had 2 servings of this finger-licking good chicken wings 😛
Tipping Etiquette in Canada
Although tipping is not compulsory, it is a social practise for customers to tip those working in the service industry and hospitality sector. Not tipping can be seen as cheap or rude in Canada. Typically, waitstaff in Canada expect to receive a tip of 10% to 20%, sometimes more at high end restaurants.
Cashless Payments in Canada
From what we observed, majority of the places moves towards cashless payments. So I don’t think it’s necessary to change too much CAD currency. You might want to consider temporary increase your credit card limit in this case.
Proof of Vaccination for Dining
It is a requirement to show your vac cert and ID for dine-in. Save a copy of your vaccination certificate and bring along your physical ID. Some places are fine with digital ID but some places that serves alcohol still require physical ID.
To be eligible for quarantine free travel between Singapore and Canada, here’s what you need to do.
First thing first, you need to have proof of vaccination follow by a negative pre-departure PCR swab (ours cost S$107) within 72 hours from your departure time. Use Notorize to get your certs digitally authenticate. Upon which you will get PDF of both your vaccination and pre-departure test certificates. After which you MUST use ArriveCAN app to submit your travel information for entering Canada. And you are set to fly.
Upon arrival in Canada, fully vaccinated travellers only need to do an arrival test if they are selected for randomized arrival testing at the border. From what we observed, majority of the travellers seem to be selected. 3 out of our group of 4 was selected for randomized arrival testing. However, it is nothing to worry about. Firstly, there is no fee for the arrival test and secondly, it was pain free and not invasive type. Lastly, the test is conducted in the airport and there will be clear paths to guide you on the correct lanes to go to. There are a lot of booths so process was really quick and fuss-free.
For pre-departure from Canada back to Singapore, proof of negative PCR/ART (ours cost CAD85 for ART) within 2 days (48 hours) of your flight departure time is required. You can make an appointment at approved clinics or healthcare service centers. We found one just 5 mins away from our hotel and the process was quick. Took us about 15 mins from registering to getting tested.
You will have to submit your Health Declaration Arrival Card before arriving in Singapore. You will need to undergo a supervised ART (S$15) within 24 hours from your time of arrival. And that’s about it.
*Do note that the information on travelling on VTL is ever-changing so do check on the latest news for updates.
Thoughts on safe travelling
Travelling now is definitely not the same as pre-covid but this should not deter you from stepping out to explore. For me, it was truly a wonderful trip that is not only beneficial for my mental health, I also felt super recharged with fresh perspectives for a future that now feels a lot more hopeful.
Apart from sharing these travel information and photos, I will also be posting some recipes inspired by the trip in the next few posts. Stick around!
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