Are you thinking about venturing outside your quarantine home for the first time in months? Do you think you are ready to travel safely post-lockdown? You’re not alone. Everyone’s eager for a return to “normal,” or at least some semblance of it.
For many, travel is an effective coping method. It’s a way to escape the demands of daily life and reset. For others, travel is a necessity, mandated by circumstance. There is no right time or way to re-emerge — do what is best for you and your family.
When you’re ready, there is still a world beyond your doorstep that you’ll find has adapted to welcome you back safely. Here are 6 things you need to know for your first post-lockdown trip.
1) Know the rules
Nothing puts a damper on your post-lockdown vacay more than a ticket, or outright denial of entry into certain locations. Before you take a trip, even if it’s just a short day trip, know the rules.
Are masks required? Do you need proof of a negative COVID-19 test result? If so, how long before arrival can you take the test for results to still be valid? Are there capacity limits? Do you need to order out, call ahead or make reservations as a result? Are there limited hours of operation? Are certain trails or activities closed?
When in doubt, call your destination and ask. Don’t rely on the information on the internet as rules change daily. If you’re not able to reach someone on-site, have a backup plan just in case you’re not able to make “Plan A” work. This is the most important of the travel safely post-lockdown tips!
2) Pack your masks
You get a mask, you get a mask – everybody gets a mask! Seriously, you’re going to need one. Even if you’re heading into nature and actively trying to avoid people, have one on hand for while you’re traversing, when you get food, if you need to step into a store, etc.
While we’re on the subject, bring cleaning materials in general. Hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, and disinfectant spray should all be part of your travel kit.
3) Choose your destination wisely
Travel trends that have seen a surge in 2020 include road trips, RV travel, hiking and outdoor adventures and domestic trips. This is the perfect time to explore attractions closer to home, giving you control over how you get there and who you interact with along the way.
Check with your city or state’s tourism board to see how they’re promoting travel right now. If you’re staying overnight, choose an accommodation with an enhanced cleaning policy and protocol.
There are still certain international destinations, like the Baltics and French Polynesia, that are open to American tourists. Keep in mind mandatory quarantine and isolation policies upon arrival and avoid any place where your limited vacation time would be spent stuck in your room.
Sites like AirBnB and VRBO are still good options to limit your interaction with hotel guests. Certain hotels are also renting out unused rooms are remote working spaces so if you want to get away, even just from your own house.
4) Take precautions on public transportation
Public transportation, like trains and airplanes, are operational. Most trains have precautionary safety measures like plexiglass screens, a no-touch ticket system and limited seating on board.
Not all airlines have been as accommodating. Southwest and Delta stand out among those committed to ensuring social distancing and cleanliness on their aircrafts. United Airlines recently made headlines for being the first airline with a COVID-19 testing program for passengers.
If you’re traveling by plane, choose a window seat to minimize exposure to passengers walking in the aisle and avoid eating or using the restroom. Notably, TSA has increased your liquid allowance for carry-on hand sanitizers from 3.4 ounces to 12.
The less time you spend on public transportation, the better so aim for direct routes and take the quickest one available.
5) Be flexible
Now more than ever, flexibility matters. Book a room that has a generous cancellation or refund policy. Don’t pay for a car rental until you pick it up. Make reservations that don’t require a deposit. It is tempting to save costs by making nonrefundable arrangements but this could cost you more in the long run.
Travel insurance is fickle but some policies are starting to offer Coronavirus coverage in their nomad or travel insurance packages. In many cases, antibody testing is not covered and considered non-essential. Make sure you read the fine print to see what is included.
6) Be Kind
No matter your personal views on wearing a mask, social distancing, or any other measures currently in place, abide by them. Make the job of anyone who serves you easy and tip more than you usually would if you can spare it.
Support small businesses wherever possible. Make your tourism dollars count towards helping local venues stay operational.
Finally, if you’re so anxious about traveling that your fears negate the intended benefits of a vacation, wait it out. Everyone’s comfort level and timeline will vary. The important thing is to actually enjoy the experience and remember that you, as much as anyone else, deserve to take a break.
Are you ready to start traveling again? Are you excited to use these tips to travel safely post-lockdown? Post a comment below or send @ShaunT a IG Story DM sharing your thoughts! Be well and stay safe!