To travel or not to travel? How to safely plan your next trip amidst the Covid-19 pandemic?
COVID-19 has altered the travel domain drastically.The COVID-19 pandemic has taken all the travel plans to a standstill. All we did in 6 months was post throwback pictures and miss travel. I even started envying the locusts, who traveled freely across India.
We are all tucked inside our homes due to the worldwide lockdown. Its been months we didn't step out of our houses. As the country adapts the new normal, we still have a long way to go as the number of people infected keeps growing across the world and travelling comes with its own risks. Yet the threat of the virus can only deter people for so long and putting a stop to the entire tourism industry is not entirely feasible.
Many of you will be wondering, ‘is it safe to travel now?’. The truth is, it depends. If we are all careful and sensible and practice physical distancing and abide by the rules, then it should be ok. Travel will boost local economies around the world, and is good for your mental health and well-being, especially after lockdown. We have been craving to step out, go for a trip for a while now but let's face it, its not going to happen anytime soon. Frequent travelers know the struggle! It isn't easy to be at home all day long. However, it’s completely normal to feel apprehensive about travel and still not want to go. As things have started to resume slowly travel will recover in stages and freedom to travel will vary, not only country-by-county but by region. How can we travel responsibly during and after the COVID-19 period?
Here are a few tips to plan a safe trip -
1. Check the rules -
Rules and restrictions for travelling and quarantine are different in every country, and change on a daily basis. Check the rules of your home country and your destination for travelling and for local rules during your trip on official government websites before travelling anywhere some have requested a period of quarantine, others require medical certificates declaring that you are Covid-19 free, etc. It is best to follow these guidelines to the letter to ensure that you are able to have a safe trip without any unforeseen consequences.
2. Check symptoms before you start your travel -
Check your symptoms and make sure you are completely healthy before you embark on your travel plans. There’s a variety of places offering coronavirus testing, including urgent care centers, travel clinics, fire stations, pop-up sites, most hospitals, and pharmacies. This is to prevent others from getting infected because of your negligence. You can take the help of a coronavirus symptoms checker to ascertain that you are not showing any apparent symptoms of the virus.
3. Travel closer to home –
In this environment of insecurity, people are also more likely to prefer places close to home, so that they can easily come back home if necessary. This means people will plan for weekend destinations nearby their cities or within the city. If you are still sceptical about vacationing to far and wide location, stick to off-beat and less famous locations near you to avoid getting infected. You could avoid a long time on flights and the jostling crowd. You might even stumble upon mesmerizing places while exploring off-beat locations. It reduces your exposure to the virus and gives you a view of your own country.
4. Get a travel insurance –
Getting a travel insurance is a good tip, coronavirus or not. Being in an unfamiliar place and facing something untoward can happen to even the most experienced and careful people. Although travel insurance is mandatory while you travel to some countries, you can do away without it in some other countries. A travel insurance will help you cover your medical expenses while you are abroad. It will also help cover for passport loss, baggage loss, flight delays and flight cancellations and keep you safe.
5. Keep hygiene a priority –
The important lesson we have learnt during this pandemic is the need for personal hygiene. Keep practicing washing your hands often. Do not touch your mouth, eyes and nose. Wear protective gear, maintain social distancing, avoid conversations with passengers, eat home cooked food and avoid using the washrooms as much as possible. Take every step to ensure your own safety
6. Pack differently –
Make a list of things you need to carry to have a safe journey, from now on you will have to make space for the following items as well: a. Face masks and protective gear. b. Handwash. c. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol). d. Disinfectant wipes (at least 70% alcohol) for surfaces. e. Thermometer to monitor your temperature.
Carry small disposable objects like a toothpick to press elevator or ATM buttons, and carefully dispose them after each use. Ensure that all your documents are in order and covered in plastic that can be cleaned. Even on long trips, carry all toiletries etc, so as to avoid having to purchase them from local stores. These products are necessary that can help you prevent getting infected.
7. Reach the airport earlier than usual -
Because of the additional guidelines due to COVID-19, the check-in and boarding process may consume longer time than usual so I would recommend you to reach the airport at least 2 hours prior to your departure. Prefer a web check-in in order to avoid direct contact to the self check-in kiosks.
8. Avoid overly crowded places –
The importance of social distancing cannot be stressed enough. You cannot predict whether the person coming into close proximity with you might have the disease or not. A lot many could be asymptomatic. Hence the best measure is to maintain social distancing with people while travelling. Avoid overcrowded places like attractions, restaurants, and maintain social distancing. Prefer places with lesser people to avoid spreading of the virus.
9. Choose your stay wisely and differently -
Opt for home rentals, villas, and private accommodation to ensure hygine and safety norms more appealing choices than hotels. Key cards, buffet breakfasts, cash payments might be a thing of past as people look for alternatives. There is less chance of you coming into contact with other unknown parties, whereas a lot many people come and go in a hotel increasing the chances of coronavirus exposure.
10. Be Responsible and Enjoy
Lockdown lasted a while, and so here’s to some new, safe, adventures, stick to the rules and contain the spread of the virus,only then we will be allowed to continue to travel. If things get bad again, lockdowns will happen again, and travelling will stop. So be a responsible traveller and enjoy your trips.