How to travel in a post-pandemic world – respect, safety, patience
The COVID-19 global pandemic has had a huge impact on travel. When you do however start to travel in a post-pandemic world, be sure to travel with respect and patience, and always travel safely, paying attention to local regulations.
When you do start to travel in a post-pandemic world to whichever state, province or country that has opened, it’s vital to think about safety and health. That means both yours, for you, but also for those at your destination. This could require a bit more planning and preparing, plus understanding what impact you might have on a community you visit.
Here are 10 tips to help you travel in a post-pandemic world:
Research your destination – It may be a town, city or attraction you’ve driven to or flown to before, but because of the pandemic, things may have changed. Likely hotels, attractions, and businesses where you are going have all adopted new protocols. You may need to reserve well in advance for entry slots to museums, historic sites, arcades, entertainment centers or restaurants as businesses seek to control capacity with the goal of keeping you, themselves and everyone else, safe. Public transportation schedules may be modified, and capacity on buses, trams and ferries limited. Be sure you fully understand and are willing to comply with the local regulations, which may also continue to change with the coronavirus pandemic and recovery. Local tourist offices and specific sites are your best source of updated information.
Plan to visit fewer places – The more planes, trains, ferries and buses you have to board, the more restaurants and hotels you have to eat in, the more chances you have to potentially become infected with the coronavirus or potentially transmit it to others. Now is a perfect time to plan a base camp, In other words, set up in one hotel, inn, or bed and breakfast, and use this as your home base to explore the area.
Travel with the essentials – Be sure to read our story “Travel after the COVID-19 pandemic: 5 things to pack to travel safely” to help you put together your travel kit. Especially in larger cities, store shelves are starting to carry more normal inventory with availability for items such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes and sprays, soap, face masks, tissues and the like. Don’t, however, expect the same everyplace you may visit, especially more rural destinations. Plan what you will need, and bring it with you to ensure you aren’t left scrambling from store-to-store once you arrive. Plus, rather than being a visitor that depletes local supplies, wouldn’t you rather be remembered as someone who brought what you needed with you?
Travel with respect – Wherever you travel, you have an impact on all you come into contact with, especially for travel in a post-pandemic world. Knowing and respect the rules, expectations and culture of a destination. Be sure you know, understand, and are willing to abide by the guidelines and protocols of every destination you plan to visit, no exceptions. Traveling with respect also means working to blend in, and not stand out, no matter where you travel. Be sure to read our story “How to blend in when traveling” for additional tips.
Ask before you reserve or book – Ask any hotel, restaurant or tour organizer what each is doing to keep everything clean and sanitized, and what each is doing to keep customers properly socially distanced. Be specific with a restaurant and hotel to find out what their cleaning rituals are and how often they are performed – for rooms, restaurant tables, bathrooms, or public spaces. Also, find out if employees AND customers are required to wear face masks (except when eating, of course), if tables are spaced, and if menus are one-time use or via QR code. If not, you might want to reconsider patronizing that business. Be sure to read our story “Is it safe to stay in a hotel? What you need to know to stay healthy“.
Choose smaller group sizes – Whether you are booking with a tour organizer or planning your own adventure, please consider the size of your group. We know of an increased number of tour organizers offering trips with fewer people per group. This is to lessen the impact on the destinations to be sure, but it also makes it much safer for everyone. Plus, it becomes far easier to social distance in the hotel, on transportation, in restaurants, and when out and about touring the sights you came to see.
Keep your distance – Current CDC guidelines for preventing the spread of coronavirus mandates at least 6 feet of physical distance from anyone else – or about two arms’ lengths. This, coupled with wearing your mask anytime you are out in public, avoiding touching your face (including your mask), and washing your hands frequently are your lines of first and best defense for your travel in a post-pandemic world.
Up your germ warfare – Knowing all the various ways you can prevent coming into contact with germs, especially in light of the coronavirus pandemic, has never been more important, particularly as you head out on travel post-pandemic, be it a road trip, packaged tour, or otherwise. There are a slew of best practices and tips we outlined for you in our story “Travel hacks for fighting germs in public spaces.”
Embrace community and local businesses – Do your best when you do travel to support the local businesses in the communities you visit – hotels, restaurants, shops, tour operators. Everyone is struggling post-pandemic, but small, local businesses make up the lifeblood of local culture and supporting them helps to ensure they remain open. Eat breakfast in your hotel, albeit potentially in your room or on a deck, and consider takeout from a local restaurant or eating there in an outdoor area.
If you are not yet ready to travel, but want to explore the world from home, be sure to read Virtual travel experiences to tour the world when you can’t leave home.
Always purchase travel insurance – While most experts, including us, have long recommended it is wise to cover any journey with travel insurance, it is now more important than ever, even essential. But not just any travel insurance will do. Since COVID-19 is a known event, the only insurance that will cover you if you need to cancel your trip or if your trip is interrupted for any reason is travel insurance with a “cancel for any reason” clause. We use Global Rescue because what it calls its IMG Signature travel insurance coverage provides this essential add-on. Also, read cancelation or change clauses of hotels, airlines or transportation providers since some are more lenient – read the small print carefully.
Above all else, be patient and kind – Traveling can be hard enough during the best of times but traveling while trying to protect yourself from the coronavirus adds a whole new level of challenge. Realize before you even leave home that it may take longer to get through an airport, in and out of a roadside rest stop, checked into a hotel, or seated at a restaurant. And it is quite possible things you hoped to see will be filled to capacity so you will either have to come back or drop it from your list.
It pains us to hear about business employees subjected to vitriol and anger from those who seem to believe the world revolves around them, and that their beliefs supersede those of others, including where they are a guest. Please, for the sake of all things travel and good, always be patient, always be kind, and always remain calm. You’ll have more fun that way. And kindness has a surprising way of being rewarded.