Be a SMART Traveler. It’s Easier Than You Think!

Last updated August 18, 2023

Travel is back with a vengeance, especially as governments loosen pandemic-related restrictions. That being said, we all still need to be a SMART traveler—staying alert and self-aware, and extra careful with cleanliness. 

Have we got tips for you! Using an acronym makes it way easier to remember and prep before a trip. 

So be a SMART traveler with these simple tips to use as a “checkpoint” before jetting off on your next wellness vacation.

S. Stay Flexible

woman using smartphone while waiting for flight

Even though travel is open in most areas and back to full flights, that comes with flight changes, cancellations, reroutes and all the other “joys” of traveling that we may have forgotten about in our zest to get moving freely again. 

Be a SMART traveler and have a back-up plan for the back-up plan. Look at multiple flights, have a secondary destination in mind, look up two different testing sites both at home and at your destination, and be ready for anything to go left or right. 

I personally will book two flights for trips that are questionable, leave at least one hour—no less—between connectors, and have a secondary week or hotel in mind when I’m booking.

M. Make Extra Copies

woman of color on laptop booking travel plans

Have your passports, vaccinations, migration forms, VeriFLY and government entry documents completed as best you can prior to arriving at the airport and have multiple copies. 

As a SMART traveler, I always have a printed copy of my vaccination card and typically the negative COVID test when traveling back into the states in addition to photos saved on both my phone and in a folder on my laptop. 

A. Accessible to Americans

COVID-19 Vaccination Record card, Passport of USA and Medical Mask. Immune passport or certificate for travel concept.

Born American, I didn’t give this one much thought prior to 2020. After the past two years, no matter what country you were born in, we were all locked out from one border for another based on case status and levels of infections. 

Even as most countries are opening, I find it beneficial to double check twice if the country I’m traveling to is open to the United States (first and foremost), then checking what mandatory documents and requirements I need to enter and move about the country. 

Things change quickly for regulations, so a SMART traveler should always check when booking as well as 72 hours prior to take-off. 

R. Read Fine Print

read the small print magnified before you travel

Sneaky always is the fine print in all documents, but especially now where cancellations and credit policies can be missed in haste. 

Ensure that your documents are up to date, cancellation policies for airlines, hotels, travel insurance or any other add on work in your favor. Or, at least that you’re aware of. 

The worst case you’d end up losing and paying for the entire booking without going because you didn’t read the details. Although I haven’t done this with travel, I did this once signing a lease for an apartment and ended up paying the price heavily for it. 

Hard mistakes we make to always read between the lines and below in the tiny text.

T. Travel Insurance

Travel insurance documents to help travelers feel confident in travel safety

I typically haven’t purchased traveler insurance in the past, but with the changes that happen on the drop of a dime these days, I would highly consider it. 

Should I be in a country where the regulations require a quarantine, or if it’s international travel and I cannot risk paying for the additional days and costs should I—worst case scenario—test positive for some reason on a test. 

An option for some, see if your credit card covers you for insurance for travel. If not, the SMART traveler way is to purchase separately for a minimal amount daily. 

Are you a SMART traveler? What’s one tip you may add to this acronym to share? Lastly, help spread the word with fellow SMART travelers to keep us back on track for clearer airways moving forward. 

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