Life is short and the world has so much to offer, even when troubled by a pandemic. Whether you have summer travel plans, or you need to travel for work or business, planning and traveling during a pandemic can seem risky. With a little effort, thorough planning and consideration, pandemic travel plans will be as memorable and enjoyable as travel plans before COVID-19.
Safety is the top priority. Safety preparation isn’t just for you and your family; it’s also for the people you visit and even employees serving the travel industry and working at the destination you choose to visit.
Your travel plan should take precautions into account. You’ll also need to organize all personal safety equipment that needs to be carried with you. Be sure to look for rules published by international or state governments and airlines. This will ensure that you have a safe trip even during a pandemic.
Tips for Travel Planning
Here are few tips for cautious travel planning during a pandemic:
View health and safety rules first
Check all travel safety rules and regulations before booking your tickets. Learn of any travel restrictions or Covid-specific rules enforced at the place you will be traveling through and at your final destination. Whether you’re an avid traveler or relying on tour companies, consult your travel and health authorities and stay updated with the latest safety norms and regulations as these change regularly.
Set up Google Alerts for your travel destinations and follow local news channels of the country or regions to get the latest updates. You can also cross-refer health department and government websites on how far you can travel, with how many people, and whether you can cross borders with or without health or vaccination certificates.
Get tested and cleared for Covid
If you or anyone in the group have Covid-like symptoms, however mild, get tested and treated. Obtain a clarified health certificate before you travel. The most common Covid symptoms include: fever or chills, muscle aches, sore throat, cough, runny nose, difficulty breathing, loss of taste or smell, and vomiting or diarrhea.
Check which test reports are required for specific regions: RT-PCR test, Rapid Antigen Test, or Antibody (or serology) test. Carry proof of vaccination with you to walk through the airport security. This is not only for you, but for the health and safety of others you come in contact with.
Plan your itinerary accordingly
This holiday season, consider visiting places that are not as crowded or that receive less visitors and tourists. To practice social distancing, try to avoid major cities and hotels that are crowded.
Opt for beaches over urban jungles, visit national parks and reserves, and search for outdoor activities and award-winning eateries with more outdoor spaces.
Many service industries have adapted to open-air services like massage or spa therapies. Before you make your travel plan, ensure that the accommodation provider is taking the necessary steps to make the place less conducive to spreading Covid.
Determine your mode of travel
Even passing through an airport is an overwhelming task as it involves being indoors in proximity to strangers for a couple hours or more. If you want to avoid such a risk, it’s best to skip air travel altogether and plan a road trip to your holiday destination.
If you decide to rent a car, check to make sure it’s been thoroughly sanitized before you drive off the lot. If you don’t wish to visit gas station stores or washrooms on your journey, be sure to bring disposable utensils and food items with you on your way.
Check on the flexibility of booking
Before you book your tickets and confirm hotel accommodation, check if they have flexible cancellation policies for last-minute changes. Most travel service providers have stringent cancellation policies, which is why Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) is your saving grace. It reimburses you for canceling for any reason without significant financial loss.
Always be sure to double check details before you leave on a trip. Ensure that your hotel or lodging accommodations are Covid-safe and know what health and safety protocols they follow. Book accommodations with more open spaces and largely open-air services like outdoor dinner areas and activities.
Carry travel essentials
Don't forget to pack disposable masks, disinfectant wipes, and hand sanitizer. Covid can be passed through the air from person to person, so be sure to bring the necessary precautions to avoid this.
Wearing masks and keeping social distance can help reduce the risk, but you should also avoid touching your face and wash your hands frequently. Carrying your own disinfectant wipes is also helpful. On reaching your accommodation, check to clean all exposed surfaces such as door handles, light switches, cupboard handles, taps, and toilet flush buttons.
Avoid using hotel linens, if possible
Pack your own pillows and linen if possible, as Covid may spread onto linen, pillows, and other surfaces, even if a person is asymptomatic. Respiratory viruses such as the coronavirus are more likely to penetrate pillow covers and cling onto the microfibre stuffing.
Make contactless payments
Avoid touching cash and coins that are handled and exchanged by many people. This may transfer disease-causing microbes from one person to another. Making contactless payments will help maintain social distance. However, sometimes carrying cash and loose change is unavoidable, especially if you’re quarantined or under lockdown in small towns and cities.
Secure your trip with travel medical insurance
The pandemic has reinforced the requirement to have a travel insurance plan that covers you for all the possible risks, including quarantine benefits, Covid screening, and even medical evacuation. A few popular plans include CoverAmerica-Gold, Atlas America, and SafeCruise. If you’re considering these travel insurance plans or any others, be sure to read all documentation and policy details before you buy. You want to make sure that the policy you purchase is right for you and your needs.
When it comes to travel, it’s important to be prepared for ever-changing Covid-safety rules. It’s also important to be aware that some areas will have more medical resources than others. Insurance is crucial during the pandemic. Getting vaccinated or wearing masks are preventative actions you can take for your health. Traveling with travel medical insurance coverage is another precaution that can not only provide peace of mind, but can also help you avoid financial loss.