*This is a collaborative post.
After months spent in lockdown, many of us are eager to spread our wings a little and go on vacation this year. As travel restrictions are being lifted in some countries, this can now be made possible.
Still, careful planning is needed. The pandemic is far from over, and we do need to keep ourselves safe and healthy when traveling. Of course, we have other people to think about as well. It’s our duty to do what we can to keep our families safe, and we do need to consider the needs of any other person that we might encounter when going on vacation.
So, if you are thinking about traveling this year, be sure to take the following into consideration. You will protect yourself if you do, and you will protect the health needs of others in tandem.
#1: Where Should You Go?
This time last year, the world was your proverbial oyster, but we are now living in different times. There will be some countries that will be off-limits to you, and there will be others that you are free to travel to, but there may be risks to your health if you go.
So, commit to research before booking your vacation away, and if traveling across the States, use the COVID-19 data tracker to find out where infections are spreading.
If the virus is spreading in the state or country you are hoping to visit, consider a change of destination. Consider the same if you have already made bookings. As inconvenient as it might be to change your plans or to delay your bucket list dreams, this is better than risking your life in an area where infection rates are high.
After settling on a destination, check their local health department websites too. There might be specific rules that you need to follow when you’re away, as regulations can differ across the world.
#2: How Will You Get There?
After choosing your vacation destination, you need to find a way to get there. Thankfully, it is possible to fly during coronavirus, as many airports are putting safety measures in place to protect both staff and travelers. However, you should still check the linked website before traveling, as information on flights might be updated if the pandemic worsens, so do your homework before packing your bags.
Traveling by train is still an option too, and so is traveling on the sea, but you should still assess the safety risks attached to both.
Of course, you don’t need to rely on these transport types to get you from A to B. If you are traveling somewhere that is reachable by car, you will have a better chance of keeping yourself safe. Now, we know it will take you a lot longer to get to your destination, but you won’t have to wear a mask for the entirety of your journey, and you won’t have to risk close contact with other tourists.
Commit to research, no matter what travel option you decide upon, as the more information you have on staying safe, the better.
#3: What should you pack?
You should always pack the essentials when traveling anywhere, but this year, those essentials go beyond your passport, your toothbrush, travel currency, and your traveling iron (that last one isn’t really an essential).
You need to pack for your vacation with the pandemic in mind, so be sure to research the items that you need to take with you.
These will include:
- Cloth face masks
- Hand sanitizer wipes
- Disinfectant sprays
- Hand soaps
- A small medkit
- Personal drink bottles
- A thermometer
You will know the importance of each item, of course.
Face masks are an essential accessory these days, especially in areas where there are crowds of other people.
Your hand sanitizer wipes and disinfectant sprays should be used to clean your accommodation and to clean your hands after touching strange surfaces.
Your own hand soaps are a safer alternative to any that can be found in bathrooms in the places are visiting.
Your personal drink bottle can be refilled when empty, without the need to risk touching a glass or other drinking utensil.
The medkit can contain any item that might be needed should you fall ill.
And a thermometer can be used to test for high temperatures. So, if your temperature was unusually high while away, you might decide to stay indoors for a while before potentially risking the health of any other holidaymaker.
So, commit to research before packing your bags and add any item that is recommended to you.
#4: How will you stay safe while you’re away?
There will be safety measures in place in many of the places that you will be frequenting while on vacation, but there is no substitute for good old-fashioned common sense. When you’re making your travel plans, you need to consider the various ways in which you will keep yourself and others safe. You can then remind yourself of these when you find yourself in potentially perilous situations.
These are some of the ways to stay safe while you’re away.
- Keep all of the essentials handy, including your face mask and your hand sanitizers. You never know when you might need them, so if you can keep them in your purse or hand luggage, you will never be without them.
- Avoid queues of people or crowds of people where possible. Of course, this can be difficult, but you should still try to keep your distance when near people, and you should also wear your face mask.
- Wash and disinfect your hands regularly. This is especially important when you know you have come into contact with surfaces that are unfamiliar to you, such as at the fuel station or supermarket, but its still good practice to sanitize your hands regularly.
- Pack your own food and drink items. You won’t need to use a supermarket or a convenience store very often if you do, and you won’t need to come into contact with anything that other people may have been touching.
These are just some of the things you can do to stay safe, but we’re sure you can think of others. Chances are, you will be well used to these things anyway by now, as this advice doesn’t have to be travel-related only. So, as we said, use your common sense, and even if there are no set rules in place in the destinations you travel to, still follow your best instincts for the sake of your personal health.
#5: Where will you stay?
With hygiene in mind, you need to take this under special consideration. For your personal safety, you might decide on a tent, caravan, or an RV, as only your family will be using these accommodation types. But if you’re traveling abroad, you might have to use a hotel or home rental, so be sure to do your research.
If using a hotel, you can usually expect high cleaning standards anyway, but it’s still worth checking hotel review sites before booking a stay anywhere. You should also disinfect your hotel room yourself for added protection. You also need to remember that crowds of people are problematic at the moment, so if you are thinking about a hotel, you might want to choose a hotel that is potentially less busy than others.
If you’re planning on a home rental, you won’t have crowds of people to worry about. However, there might be no guarantee on cleanliness, so be sure to disinfect every room in the house before unloading your bags.
#6: What will you add to your itinerary?
With the pandemic in mind, this now needs to be something you give a lot of thought to. In the past, you might have headed to popular tourist spots, such as famous landmarks and the local beaches, but as large crowds can be potentially dangerous, you might want to consider other activities.
So, think about those places where social distancing can be made possible. You might want to go hiking at a national park, for example, or you might want to take part in activities that don’t require large numbers, such as sailing or rafting.
If you do want a beach vacation, research the quieter beaches in your chosen destination, and forego the places that are guaranteed to be busy.
And when planning your itinerary, think about your travel options. It will be safer to rent a car than using a bus or a train to get from A to B, so factor this into your plans when planning your itinerary.
There is a lot to think about whenever you’re planning a vacation, but in 2020, you need to consider so much more. The world is a scary place right now and we all need to stay safe, so think about the questions we have posed for your protection and the protection of those around you.
Whatever you do, we hope you have a wonderful time. Many of us are in need of a vacation at the moment, so we hope you get to de-stress with your family if you do get the opportunity to get away for a few days.
Take care, and thanks for reading!