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How to Use Tech to Prepare for Travel in an Epidemic

Once you locate the logistics and exit, you will have more homework to do. Do not expect your favorite airport restaurant or lounge to operate normally. Before leaving home, check your airport website to see what’s open near your terminal; If your options are lacking, pack a meal. Likewise, when you arrive at your destination, be sure to check the websites for restaurants and tourist spots that you expect to visit for their hours. The travel industry is far from returning to normal.

To make travel easier, airlines may be required to present a vaccine passport to passengers, with digital documentation proving that they have been vaccinated. Airlines are testing mobile health apps including CommonPass, ICC AOKpass, The Travel Pass app of VeriFLY and the International Air Transport Association to ensure that travelers can present their health data in a secure, verified manner.

Most apps will, in theory, work like this: If you are vaccinated at a medical facility, the app connects to that facility’s database to retrieve your information. The app then loads a QR code, which is a digital bar code, verifying that the vaccine was administered. You can then show that bar code at the airport check-in counter, boarding gate or immigration control.

A lot is still in the air with the vaccine passport for widespread use, Mr. Harteveldt said. Airlines, government agencies and cruise lines are still testing the app to determine which products are the most reliable and easy to use. If different parties need to download different passport applications, things can get chaotic, and many experiments may fail. The vaccine passport has set up a fierce political debate over the legitimacy of the need for digital credentials for the vaccine, which is volatile voluntary. (The Biden administration has stated that it will not insist on mandatory vaccination credentials or a federal vaccine database.)

So the best we can do right now with a vaccine passport is nothing. Do not upload your data to any app yet – but when it comes time to travel, check your airline’s website for updates on the vaccine passport and follow the instructions.

The rest of your travel tech prep will be largely the same as it was in Kovid’s time. Pack an additional battery pack, charging cable, and a security pin to eject your SIM card. Then do the following:

Unlock your phone Your phone must be unlocked to work with a foreign SIM card. Many new smartphones are unlocked by default, but you should call your carrier to confirm that your device will work with other wireless carriers.

Buy a foreign SIM card. If you are traveling abroad, you can temporarily avoid paying expensive international roaming charges for your carrier by using a foreign phone plan. When you arrive at your destination, you can usually buy a SIM card at the airport or cellphone store and insert it into your phone; You can also order a SIM card online and have it delivered to your home before traveling. (Work with some new smartphones eSIMs, Which is essentially a digital SIM card for connecting a separate phone plan. I have mixed experiences, including eSIMs that fail to activate when I reach my destination, so I prefer a physical sim.)