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Contributor Jesse Clark of Soulful Travel offers advice on things you might not have thought of when planning travel, post-COVID.
With vaccines being rolled out and COVID-19 restrictions loosening worldwide, you may be considering traveling again. A vacation can be a wonderful way to shake off pandemic stress and reconnect with the world after months of staying home.
Before you book your tickets and pack your bags, beware that post-pandemic travel is a bit different from what you might be used to. Read on for a quick guide to considerations to keep in mind as you start planning new adventures in the “new normal.”
Is your dream destination open to tourists?
While many countries have opened to tourism, not all have. As of March 2021, one in three tourist destinations were still closed to tourists, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Check government websites regarding entry restrictions of any country you plan to visit. Even if a country is open, there are likely new entry requirements, like COVID tests or proof of vaccination.
Do you want to deal with air travel — or is a road trip more your speed?
According to UCLA Health, air travel poses a higher risk of COVID-19 infection than driving. This is mostly due to the fact that airports and airplanes expose you to many people, often in enclosed spaces. If you aren’t comfortable flying, opt for a road trip instead. If you drive, make sure your vehicle is ready before you go. For longer trips, get a tuneup to avoid potential breakdowns. For more tips on how to equip your car, consult Ride Digest.
Can you find COVID-friendly accommodation?
In light of COVID, you may also want to reconsider your accommodation when you travel. Large hotels mean interacting with many people, increasing your exposure chances. You can minimize your risk by staying in an Airbnb or small boutique resort instead. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest staying in a private house or vacation rental as a safer alternative to hotels.
Has your luggage been packed with health and hygiene in mind?
When packing your luggage, include a COVID checklist. You might want to pack extra masks, plastic gloves, and hand sanitizer. Make sure you have the right type of mask to meet the requirements of your chosen destination. Some countries require FFP2 models. Keep these items readily available while traveling. For example, if you’re flying, stash them in your carry-on, not your checked bag. If you’re driving, have them up front, not in the trunk. If you’re looking for a new travel backpack, our friends at Dive In have a great set of reviews on the best travel backpacks.
How are you adapting your usual travel practices to protect against COVID?
You may want to adopt added precautions to stay safe and healthy when traveling. For example, when you get off public transportation or out of a taxi, you probably want to wash your hands or use sanitizer as soon as possible. These shared vehicles contain many high-touch surfaces full of germs. As Nature explains, although COVID has largely been determined to be transmitted via air, touch-based transmission can’t be completely ruled out.
Are you upholding non-COVID-related best practices for travel?
Best practices designed to promote safe, efficient, and convenient travel will make your trip more comfortable. For example, if you’re taking a road trip, make sure you’ve got a full tank of gas before you leave. If you’re traveling by air, check the Transportation Security Administration’s quick tips on how to pack for a fast security check. If you’re traveling to countries without safe drinking water, steer clear of produce washed in tap water.
The world and the way we see it has changed in the face of COVID-19. However, travel is still possible. Keep the above considerations in mind as you prepare to rediscover the world.