Traveling amid the pandemic allows for a change of scenery after being cooped up at home for so long. But family trips now—especially with kids in tow—require meticulous planning and following health protocols. Check out this travel guide to ensure a safe and fun family getaway.
What are the requirements for my preferred destination?
While we now have greater mobility in terms of intrazonal and interzonal travels, guidelines still vary across different local government units (LGU). It’s best to check the official Facebook page or website of your destination’s LGU or visit the travel requirement pages of airline companies with domestic flights. Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air, and AirAsia have dedicated pages about travel requirements for the routes they currently service as well as their respective in-flight protocols.
You can also check travel policies for your preferred destination via Safe, Swift and Smart Passage or S-PaSS. Close to a hundred provinces and highly urbanized cities are using this online system developed by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Regional Office VI. Depending on your destination, you may need to secure a Travel Coordination Permit (TCP) or a Travel Pass-through Permit (TPP) from the site.
If you’re traveling internationally, you may need to get a “yellow card” or what is officially known as the International Certificate of Vaccination (ICV). SM Supermalls has partnered with the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) to help outbound travelers from the Philippines obtain a yellow card. Read this quick guide for more information on how and when to get one.
Does everyone in my family have to be vaccinated?
While vaccination is not a requirement for travels, there are spots that accept fully vaccinated tourists without having to present negative RT-PCR test results, such as Cebu Province, Lapu-Lapu City, and Catbalogan City. Spots like Bohol, Iloilo City, and Negros Occidental require vaccination certificates obtained through VaxCertPH. You can also find SM VaxCert Booths in the following SM Malls: SM Southmall, Director's Club (Mon to Fri, 9AM to 5PM); SM City Clark, 2nd level, Cinema 1 Lobby (Mon to Fri, 10AM to 3PM); and SM Seaside City Cebu, Lower GF, Mountain Wing Atrium (Mon to Fri, 9AM to 6PM).\
Other places such as Clark Freeport Zone, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Tarlac, Masbate Province, Southern Leyte, Tacloban City, Maasin City, and Misamis Oriental require a vaccination card from visitors. Someone is considered fully vaccinated if two weeks have passed since getting the complete dose. If anyone from your family isn’t vaccinated yet, here’s a list of COVID-19 vaccination sites and schedules in SM Supermalls catering to adults and minors aged 12 to 17.
Do we need to get tested before we travel?
As some destinations now accept individuals with fully vaccinated status in lieu of getting an RT-PCR test, getting tested before travel is usually required for the unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. Domestic tourists can avail of free swab tests at the Philippine Children's Medical Center if your destination or staycation hotel requires presenting a negative test result. There are also drive-thru collection sites in selected SM malls for saliva RT-PCR tests. Take note that you need to make a booking for both options before proceeding to the test sites.
What local spots can we visit and what are their respective requirements?
The City of Pines is open to fully vaccinated tourists from Metro Manila. Each member of the family has to bring their vaccination card or certificate, a valid government-issued ID, and register at visita.baguio.gov.ph to schedule a visit at least a day before your trip. The travel request is approved after the booking at your accommodation establishment is verified. You will then be issued a QR-coded Tourist Pass (QTP). There will be a triage upon arrival to the city for health screening and verification of the QTP and documents.
Minors aged 12 to 17 who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated must present a negative COVID-19 swab or antigen result conducted within 72 hours prior to arrival, while testing for minors aged 11 and below is optional.
Prior to your visit to the popular island, each member of the family will need to accomplish the online health declaration form at touristboracay.com, have confirmed hotel booking at a Department of Tourism accredited establishment with Certificate of Authority to Operate, present a government-issued ID and an S-PaSS Travel Coordination Permit, travel details, and a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours (except for kids two or below).
In the Queen City of the South, you and your family each need to present a valid ID and vaccination card with QR code. For vaccination cards without QR code, you need to present a VaxCert or an official vaccination certificate issued by the local health officer of your LGU.
Those unvaccinated or partially vaccinated must present a negative RT-PCR test result taken within the last 72 hours or a negative antigen test result or a negative saliva test result taken within the last 48 hours.
What health and safety essentials do we need to prepare for the trip?
Here are a few things you can get to help you and your kids have a safe trip.
We Bare Bears Safety Essentials (₱100)
Equip your child with his or her own hygiene kit. This We Bare Bears-themed set has an alcohol bottle, a mask case, and a pouch bag.
Safety 1st Health Care Kit Seville (₱1,119)
This kit has the essentials that your baby might need while in transit. The set includes a nasal aspirator, medicine dropper, thermometer, alcohol wipes, and a contact card. Plus, the case is reversible!
Dermaid Wound Care Set (₱149)
A first-aid kit comes in handy for cleaning and disinfecting wounds, scrapes, and scratches. Each set includes hydrogen peroxide, povidone iodine, sebo de macho, distilled ethyl alcohol, and cotton buds.