On Monday we talked about why it is so important that we start traveling again as soon as possible. There are so many places in the world, and even in our own country, that rely heavily on tourism. In order to travel safely, there are some measures that need to be taken, such as social distancing, masking, and staying clean. If you haven’t read that post yet as to why we have a responsibility to travel, check it out here.
Once you’re ready to start traveling, and your area has deemed it safe you’re probably wondering what has changed!
Don’t worry, everyone in the travel industry is asking the same questions right now. How do we approach travel post-global pandemic?? While there aren’t any specific rules, here are a few guidelines that will help your trip go smoothly and safely.
Go to the experts
Step one: Work with an agent. Travel agents have the most updated information on policies, know the safest places to travel, and can get you the best deals. Did you know that most places budget the cost of commission fees into their price? So even when you book directly with them you’re still paying the commission fee!
Working with an agent is a free/cheap way to make sure you have the best information and the best deals. Plus we are committed to making your trip the best it can be, answering any and all questions you may have!
I am excited to announce my partnership as an independent contractor with Travelwhirled. I would love to answer questions and chat about your next trip! To set up a consultation call click the link here! Or feel free to reach out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or my Instagram DMs at thatblogger.girl on Instagram.
Know the requirements in the area you will be traveling to. Many countries have social distancing and masking laws that can vary depending on the city, state, or providence you’re in! Always check with your travel advisor or website of the area you’re in (as well as your individual airline/airports/hotels/excursions/restaurants/resorts that you will be utilizing) so you are most informed on what is required.
This will ensure you don’t get stuck with a hefty fine for not following the law, or even worse end up in jail (yes, it is that strict in some places).
Wear a mask
Top 4 places you need to be wearing a mask with no exceptions.
1- The airport/plane. Right now every airport and most airlines are requiring masks for the entirety of your time in the airport/on the plane. So make sure you have a clean and comfortable mask since you’ll likely be wearing it for hours.
2. Check-in. When you’re checking in at your hotel; these workers see hundreds of people a day, and are at a high risk of contamination. Especially if you just got off busy transit, wear a mask to protect these amazing service workers.
3. Public transit. Be it train, subway, bus, or taxi this is a place where you need to wear a mask, whether it is required or not. Most public transit is requiring masks and social distancing right now; while this may change it is still in your best interest to be safe and wear a mask.
4. Restaurants and shops. The people who work in these establishments will see hundreds if not thousands of people a day. For them to stay in business we need to keep them safe by wearing masks to help limit their exposure. Unless you’re actively eating/drinking, be sure to keep your mask on!
And don’t forget to tip!
A good rule of thumb is if social distancing isn’t an option then you should be wearing a mask. Museums, crowded markets, popular sightseeing destinations, and outdoor recreations are all examples of places you should be wearing a mask if you can’t social distance.
Social distancing is the absolute best way to prevent the spread of germs. Even before Coronavirus, it was a good idea to keep your distance. Now it is even more important, not to mention who wants to invade someone else’s bubble anyway?
Social distancing goes further than standing back from a counter at check-in, it also plays a role in what you do while traveling. Try to stick with as many naturally socially distant activities as possible. Below I highlight a few of my favorites, but stay tuned for a more complete list later this week!
Camping.- What is more socially distant than going miles into the woods?? Camping is a great way to get in touch with nature and just unplug for a while. Plus you can still enjoy all the amenities from home when renting an RV or camper van! Enjoy free-flowing AC, lots of power, the ability to cook, and even wifi, all from the comfort of nature!
Water sports/activities- Renting a water vehicle, such as a kayak, jet ski, or pontoon, has never been easier! With so many options to choose from at various price points, you’re sure to find something the whole family will enjoy. Water sports can also include diving/snorkeling, swimming at the beach or lake, and fishing!
Museums/historical sites- Many historical sites are already outside and easily accessible for social distancing. Checking ahead of time, or asking your travel expert, will ensure you choose places that can accommodate the 6ft rule!
Don’t think you’ll just be looking at boring artwork, or reading plaques on a wall, though personally I love to. You could always go to a place like Dry Tortugas, where you can walk the grounds of a historic military fort. Or tour a magical castle in the British Isles.
Approaching your meals in safety will highly depend on the area you will be visiting and where you’re staying. The safest, and cheapest, option would be to buy groceries and eat at “home” as much as possible.
If you’re staying in an Airbnb with kitchen access, an RV, or private condo this is probably your best option. Not only will you save money, you can make the food you know you like (or more importantly, you know your kids will eat), and right after you can start to relax in the comfort of your home away from home.
If you’re staying in a hotel or hostel where you don’t have access to much more than a microwave (if you’re lucky), then you’ll be left to eating out at restaurants.
The best way to approach this would be to keep non-perishable foods in your room (or fridge if you have one!) to eat quickly for breakfast. Then try to stick with outdoor or on the go dining. This means getting meals to go from restaurants or taking advantage of the awesome street food and markets that are available around the world. While, of course, practicing masking and social distancing.
A pro tip for when eating out at restaurants is to try to look up the menu ahead of time online so you can avoid touching a physical menu that has probably been handled by 100+ people before you got there.
Know where you’re staying
When deciding to book a trip likley the first thing you think of is where you’ll be staying. These questions hold even more weight now, when considering what place is going to be safest for you and your family.
Below I will discuss a few pros and cons of the three most popular options. Remember, work with your travel planner to decide which accomodation is going to work best for your family and your situation.
Bigger budget for cleaning/sanitation.
More workers = more hands available to clean
Usually closer to airports/restaurants/activities limiting the amount of time you’d spend using public transit.
Sees lots of people, higher probability of encountering someone who has been infected
More workers can often mean more opportunities for mistakes to be made.
Due to the amount of people hotels see they can only budget so much time to spend on sanitation.
If you opt to use “entire house” options then you will encounter fewer people during your stay. (at most you’ll see your host for key handoffs, though many places have self-check ins)
“Entire house” options usually see fewer guests for longer time frames, meaning a lower chance of an infected guest having previously used your room.
Ability to cook at home, limiting the need to eat out and risk potential exposure at restaurants.
If you opt to stay in a room attached to a house and you are using shared spaces there is a higher chance of infection.
Some hosts will rent multiple bedrooms, meaning more guests potentially more often much like a hotel.
Host’s aren’t being held to hotel quality standards in terms of sanitation and cleanliness, this can either be a pro or a con depending on the host and how the determine cleaning standards.
Often have kitchen areas you can use to make food and avoid going to restaurants.
Some hostels offer private rooms, where you can take advantage of the price and amenities of a hostel, while enjoying privacy and the security of knowing you won’t have to wear a mask and social distance while “at home.”
Laundry facilities are usually available depending on your location, so you can adventure safely with clean clothes and a fresh mask each day!
By nature hostels are shared living, which allows for their low costs, however this of course can be a huge issue when dealing with illnesses. Always check with your agent/hostel for the most up-to-date information on how they are responding to the virus.
Very social environment. While this can normally lead to the sharing of fun travel adventures, if we aren’t careful, it could now lead to the sharing of dangerous viruses.
Clean clean clean.
The final thing you need to do is to clean as much as possible. Keeping you and your belongings clean will ensure any potential germs you have picked up along the way will be washed down the drain, away from your family! Here are a few tips to help out.
Hand sanitizer- take it everywhere. Get each family member their own travel-sized bottle that they can safely take on the plane and carry around for use when eating out or needing to touch money/tickets/etc. I recommend the kind that has a clip on it so one can simply latch it on a belt or purse for easy access.
Disinfectant spray- Bring a full sized bottle of disinfectant spray or a pack of wipes with you on your travels. This way you can wipe/spray down anything that is frequently touched. Any remotes, outlets, door handles, thermostats, tables etc. Remember if you are flying check that what you’re bringing is able to fly with the airline you’re flying with.
It is also a good idea to bring wipes with you as you are traveling around town to wipe down menus, tables, bike handles, etc
Avoid wearing the same clothes twice– This can be hard sometimes depending on the type of travel you plan on doing. But its a good idea to wash any outfit you have worn in public before wearing it again. If you’re camping or visiting a place that is more remote, you’re probably safe to wear it again. I recommend bringing the same amount of outfits as days you will be gone OR try to find out if laundry facilities are available where you’re staying.
Pro -tip have a transit coat. A transit coat is a coat, jacket, or any kind of outerwear that you ONLY wear when using public transit. Meaning it comes off as soon as you’re “home” and doesn’t get worn around the hotel or when walking.
Bring several masks– This is so important! Your mask can be a great savior but also the easiest way to get infected if you don’t care for it properly. Make sure you always wear your mask the same way (ie: if one side was facing outward, continue to wear it with that side facing outward). And wash them frequently. Luckily, masks can be washed in the sink by hand easily, but if you are positive you won’t have time/access to do this then bring a mask for each day you will be out.
Clean YOUR PHONE– Often overlooked is quite possibly the filthiest thing we own, our cell phones. Cell phones go everywhere with you, you set them down on tables and seats, they get exposed to everything. And then you put them directly on your face when you have to make a call! Gross! Phones were gross before COVID, but now they are dangerous. Be sure to be wiping down your phone at LEAST daily. This also applies to your camera! Anything that will be going close to your face needs a good cleaning, and often.
I hope this list helps you feel a little more prepared for traveling again. Be sure to save this page to your bookmarks to refer back to later and comment any tips you have down below!
Stay tuned for this Monday when we talk about 10 activities you can do right now to satisfy your travel bug AND stay socially distant. Be sure to Subscribe to the blog down below so you never miss a post, and follow us on Instagram for more wanderlust.
Stay safe and happy travels.