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Responsible and Safe Travel during COVID-19

September 27, 2021 - 3:26 pm
Responsible and Safe Travel during COVID-19
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Planning to travel during COVID-19? Read on for some tips.

With many countries preparing for tourism reopening and easing some travel restrictions, people are finding it hard to resist the need for a staycation, workcation, or vacation. So the travel industry has been adapting to cope with the new demands of travel in the corona era.

If you are committed to travel responsibly and are willing to take all the precautions to keep yourself and others safe, there is no reason to not get on a plane and have a lovely holiday in an exotic destination.

However, things may be different from what you've been used to. So here are tips to make travel during COVID-19 more secure and memorable in the right manner.

1. On Vaccination and COVID-19 Tests

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash.
  • Some countries accept tourists that are fully vaccinated, with the typical requirement that 14 days must have elapsed since your second jab. Not all vaccines are equal, so check that the destination you hope to visit accepts the brand you've received and sometimes even the batch number.
  • Even if you are fully vaccinated, it is still important to assess COVID-19 spread levels in your community, as well as the place you are travelling. Select locations that are safe and follow stringent guidelines of sanitisation and safety at all times. This will help you have a relaxed mind during the trip and also safeguard yourself and your family from the deadly spread of the virus.
  • Check how many COVID-19 tests you might be required to take and how much each of them costs. Factor in the possibility that travel rules could change mid-trip and you might be required to self-isolate at home or a designated hotel.

2. On Travel Requirements

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash.
  • Check thoroughly the entry restrictions for all the destinations you will visit or transit through and keep checking them—right up to when you travel and while on the trip itself. If you're planning to travel around inside a country, remember that different regions or states might have different rules.
  • While you might be allowed into a country, life may still be far from normal there. So do your homework beforehand. Find out what tourist attractions and hospitality services are open and where and when mask-wearing is mandatory.
  • Confirm in advance what documentation you will need to present at different legs of your journey. Print out anything that requires to be in hard copies (or simply as backup). Or download any required or recommended apps and load them up with the relevant information.

3. On Flights and Airports

Photo by Lisanto 李奕良 on Unsplash.
  • When you travel during COVID-19, the airline you previously used frequently may have changed travel rules since you last flew with them. Book flexible, refundable flights and accommodation wherever possible or reconsider the trip. And don't neglect to get up-to-date travel insurance. Some destinations require it before entry (be sure to check the COVID-19 small print).
  • Cheap vacations and budget flights might not come back for a while. Expect or prepare for price hikes when it comes to the cost of flights, car hire, accommodation, food, drink, and just about everything.
  • Once you're at the airport, there may be delays due to COVID-19 testing wait times and the implementation of social distancing measures.
  • Many airport stores will likely be closed, so you might not be able to pick up last-minute items such as toiletries or snacks. If it's an item you 100% need for your journey, purchase it before you travel.
  • Not all airlines block middle seats to prevent the transmission of the virus. If that's a priority for you, research beforehand and prepare to pay a bit extra with a premium carrier.
  • Practically all airlines, however, will have reduced their inflight service. Check beforehand what will be available and if you need to book meals in advance or notify the airline of dietary requirements.
  • Bear in mind that many airlines would require contactless payments, so have your bank card or phone ready for in-cabin purchases.
  • The cabin crew will also be keen to reduce passenger movement in flight, so you may not be able to get up as often as you have been used to. Use lavatory facilities on the ground before you board. Bring any travel pillows or other requirements to make sure you settle in comfortably when you're on board.

4. On the New Necessities and Staying Safe

Photo by Tetiana SHYSHKINA on Unsplash.
  • Besides your regular packing checklist, prepare disposable face masks and hand sanitiser you can take in your carry-on.
  • Pack your (empty) refillable water bottle in your hand luggage as usual. Note that due to COVID-19 precautions, water fountains may not be back in operation at the airports you visit.
  • Expect to wear face masks most of the time, so choose masks you feel comfortable in that meet the airline requirements. Disposable masks are the simplest choice so that you can change to a fresh one periodically.
  • While other passengers disregard them, social distancing measures will certainly be in place at the airports you travel through. Allow space for other passengers, and give people plenty of space in line at security and other travel checkpoints. If you see other passengers not doing the same, do your best to relax; you're on vacation, after all.

5. On Your Mode of Travel

Photo by David Veksler on Unsplash.
  • Most people find it safer to travel from their vehicle than any other mode of transportation, especially families with kids. Experts also suggest that driving is the safest form of transportation as it substantially limits interactions with other people.
  • If, however, your journey to the airport involves public transport, services may be less frequent than pre-COVID. Drivers of taxis and ride-hailing apps like Uber may be few in many cities, which means longer wait times and higher fares.

6. On Your Activities

Photo by Galen Crout on Unsplash.
  • Vacations are meant to be full of indoor and outdoor activities of fun and frolic. But in these times, you need to be more careful about COVID-19 risks. Choose activities that are safer from the risks. Contact the hotel/resort staff for any in-house activities or safe outdoor tours.
  • Eat at trusted restaurants: Until last year, experts were clear that eating in restaurants was not safe. But with vaccinations in place, indoor dining is now safe, preferably in the in-house dining spaces of the hotel and resort.

Travel during COVID-19 is possible!

Even after following every guideline in the book, you are still exposed to the virus and the risks of its transmission when you travel during COVID-19. Thus, it’s important to be diligent and careful of wearing a mask at all times, maintaining social distancing, and sanitising the spaces and yourself at frequent intervals. Continue taking precautions to protect yourself and others if you must travel.

Featured image: Atoms on Unsplash

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