**Please note the federal government is expected to give an announcement about the removal of testing before and after travel later this week. 

Although restrictions have lifted in Alberta, it’s still a little bit tricky to determine just what exactly you will need to hop on a plane to visit loved ones or even go on a vacation. Kahla Rakai, Manager at Direct Travel Service in Ponoka answered a couple of questions about travelling during these uncertain times.

Before you travel somewhere, she says it would be a good idea to look up the location’s current COVID-19 mandates and to be sure that you have proof of vaccination.  There continues to be certain protocols in places upon your return to Alberta and Canada when you leave the country.

“The big thing is you need a test to come home. There's two ways to complete that test. You can take a rapid antigen test the day before or the day of that you're flying home or coming home, or you can do a PCR test 72 hours before your flight home or before you cross the border,” said Rakai.

You can receive rapid antigen tests at some drug stores free of charge or you can get a PCR test done by a medical professional. Rakai says most commonly PCR tests are completed by Dynalife in Canada but you may have to do a little research to get them in other parts of the world. Sometimes all-inclusive hotel concierge may set up COVID tests as well.

Before you arrive home from international travel, you will also want to download the ArriveCanApp in order to provide contact information should you test positive with COVID-19 following the trip. Not using the ArriveCanApp can result in some fines as you head back into Canada. 

“Hopefully, all those tests come back negative and you won't have any issues the thing you have to be aware of is if those tests come back positive. You are going to be extending your vacation a little bit,” said Rakai.

At this time, fully vaccinated people only need to isolate for a minimum of five days or until symptoms resolve whatever is longer. The unvaccinated will need to isolate for 10 days or until symptoms resolve.

As per the Government of Canada’s restrictions, unvaccinated people are not able to able to board a plane without a special exemption, even within Canada.

“There are avenues to get special exemptions but that's a case by case basis. It's really weird you have to book your ticket and then get the exemption and it's like but what if I don't get the exemption? It's not easy to get an exemption and I haven't had anybody do it yet,” she noted.

Although more and more Canadians are travelling, Rakai says people are still hesitant to leave given the uncertainty with travel.

“There is some still some resistance to the testing. Business owners and people who are unsure about job security and stuff like that are choosing not to travel because they're worried about getting positive tests when they come back,” she added.

Rakai says the best way to ensure you know just exactly what you need is to book through a travel agent who will be able to help you figure protocols, testing, and other confusing parts about travel at things time.