Travelling across the globe during the pandemic

Hello, everyone! 😊 My name is Jelica Milojičić and I am currently a student of a master’s programme of research psychology at the University of Belgrade. I love meeting new cultures, trying new food and above all getting to know new people. During my high school and bachelor studies I used to travel a lot, either via EFPSA or by my own arrangements, and not a year has passed since 2012 that I haven’t travelled abroad. Unfortunately, the Covi19 pandemic has struck the world and all my plans for travelling abroad in 2020 deteriorated. Fortunately, my sister lives in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and the universe has given me the chance to be back in the clouds and experience travelling again after 14 months of not leaving the country. Now I want to share my experience with you – how is it to travel halfway across the world in the midst of a pandemic.  

I decided to go to Dubai in January 2021, and I can say for sure that travelling is not the same as it was before 2020. I had travelled to Dubai in 2017, so I can compare my experience with that trip. Before going to Dubai this year, I had to prepare myself in multiple ways. I had to be in self-isolation for 10 days, before the trip, meaning that I couldn’t see my friends before the trip. I had to take a covid19 test in my country 72 hours before travelling, which had to be negative and I had to keep checking for the health-regulations in UAE to see if anything changed before my flight. None of that existed in 2017. Then, when I arrived at the Serbian airport, I had to show my negative covid19 results at the border and keep my mask on all the time. So, in total, I wore a mask for 12 hours on the day of the journey from Belgrade to Dubai.

In Dubai, restrictions are loosened, but people there still must wear masks at all times – whether you’re in the streets or the mall, the mask is obligatory and if you’re not wearing it you could pay the fee. Most of the touristic places were open, but I also had to check that on that daily, because rules have changed several times during my one-month stay in UAE. When it was time for me to come back to Serbia, I had to take the covid19 test, 48 hours before coming back to Serbia which was a quite fast and pleasant experience because Dubai is well organised when it comes to testing. Nevertheless, I still got the chance to experience the Dubai desert safari, the top of the Burj Khalifa, The Palm Jumeirah, the Dubai beaches, the food in Dubai, to meet some of my sister’s friends, to experience the nightlights of Dubai’s skyscrapers and to enjoy the trip. 

I have several tips for you guys if you want to travel in the months to come. First, you need to check the government regulations of the country you’re visiting concerning covid19 and keep checking them even the day before your departure. Second, I recommend isolation before travelling, just to be sure you’re not infected with covid19, and because for most countries you need negative test result, and the isolation will ensure you of one. Third, prepare multiple masks for your transit, because if you spend 4, 6, 8, or 12 hours in the transit from your home to your hotel or place you’re staying in, in the visiting country, it’s safer to change masks than to wear only one the whole time. Fourth, prepare the hand sanitisers and alcohol for the trip, because you will be travelling through places where a lot of people are going through. Fifth, get infor med about covid19 testing in the visiting country, so you could return safely to your own country. Sixth, be as safe as you can, try avoiding crowded places, any public spots where there is a high risk of getting infected, and make sure that the place you’re staying in follows the government’s regulations about covid19. Seventh, check the regulations of your own country, because some countries require quarantine for all people, no matter the negative covid19 test result. And finally, enjoy the experience of travelling during the pandemic, because hopefully one day you’ll get the chance to say, “I have travelled during covid19 and it was intense!” 😊 

The next trip I’m planning is the EFPSA MeetUp (which I am super excited about) in Turkey at the end of March this year. I hope that I will be vaccinated by then, but regardless, I will make sure to follow all the guidelines EFPSA and the Turkish government have for me.


Author: Jelica Milojičić
Master’s programme of Research Psychology at the University of Belgrade


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