It’s been a long year and a huge imposition for anyone who loves travel. Whether you’ve been halted by regulations and procedures, or whether you just don’t want to take on the risk, you’ve probably had to cancel or postpone some kind of planned trip this year. We’ve had over seven months of COVID and spent a good deal of time locked up in our homes and separated from other people. It’s easy when the restrictions let up to feel as though enough is enough and act as though the threat is no longer real. The problem is that we know it is real and as people return to business as usual, positive tests are rising. Is there such a thing as safe travel?
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Way back in March we thought a few weeks of solitary confinement would snuff out the coronavirus. Nearly a year later, it’s still controversial to even wear a mask in public. I love to travel and I want my fellow travelers to be happy and healthy. If you can’t stand waiting any longer, be careful out there. Take precautions. Don’t let your frustration blind you to the continued spread of this terrible pandemic. Here are five ways you can take Covid seriously, reduce risk, and promote safe travel.
1. Research Your Destination
It’s always good to look at where you are going. Seasoned travelers keep informed on everything from local landmarks to current events. Part of your research should incorporate how the place you’re traveling to handles COVID. What is the data and how is that country responding to it? Pay attention to populations, and the rate the virus is spreading, as well as what authorities are doing to combat the problem. This kind of research allows you to make an informed decision about where you go and how to prepare yourself for safe travel.
2. Pack What You Can
There are some travelers who enjoy the freedom of packing light and prefer it to preparation when it comes to carrying extra items. I admit, traveling light is a great feeling when you contrast it with wheeling a cart full of bags wherever you go. However, the “buy it when you get there” philosophy adds more strain during a pandemic. It’s better to have what you need when you need it. That means you have to be willing to carry a little extra.
You don’t have to cover every contingency when you pack. But make a conscious effort to pack according to your plans and plan according to what you have. Don’t leave too much room to deviate from your plan if you want to maintain a low level of risk while abroad. When you pack, remember anti-bacterial wipes and hand sanitizer. Keep them accessible and use them frequently.
3. Try to avoid staying in crowded places
This one is so obvious it’s easy to overlook. When you travel, you naturally become exposed to crowded places. Make sure you keep this front and center on your mind. Always be aware of your surroundings. It’s a good rule for any traveler even without a pandemic. Spot potentially overcrowded areas and avoid them. Choose outdoor dining or room service whenever possible. Don’t spend too much time in lobbies or on crowded streets.
As a precaution, consider renting a car while you are away. This will keep you out of contact with strangers as you explore your destination. It’s a safe travel alternative to taking a cab or using a shared ride service like Uber or Lyft.
4. Pick Low-Risk Lodging
Consider alternative lodging while you travel. a vacation rental may afford you more peace of mind and seclusion from public spaces. If you stay at a hotel verify their practices before you book with them. Make sure they take steps to avoid crowding and reduce contact. Many hotels have changed their cleaning procedures and even removed potentially hazardous items from rooms. Remember to check ratings and reviews of potential places.
5. Stay Aware
The best line of defense is really just awareness. Remember there is a real threat out there. Respect it and you will maintain your own safety. Wear a clean mask whenever you are in public. Be mindful of what you touch and who is around you. maintain your social distance despite social cues that may lure you into a false sense of security. Wash your hands thoroughly, change clothes often, and always seek low-risk conditions over high. Travel is different now. But you can do it! Be safe and don’t forget to have fun, too.