Traveling during the pandemic is certainly not like it was before. With many people itching to travel again after worldwide lockdowns and quarantines, the pace at airports and hotels is slightly picking up. There are definitely some things to consider before you book your next vacation, so that you can keep yourself and others safe while also seeing new things and continuing to live your life. The travel industry desperately needs our help now, but we also have to make the right choices for our own health and the health of the community. Here’s what you should consider before you book that flight deal and get out of town.
1. Who you live with
If you live with someone who is at a high risk if they were to get Covid-19, then it might not be best to travel right now. However, there are precautions that could be taken. If you do need to travel, make a plan so that you can be tested for coronavirus when you return. You could also make arrangements to stay with another friend or family member who is not at risk, for the 14 days after you return. This also goes for who you plan on traveling during the pandemic with. If they are at a higher risk, it may not be worth it to chance it.
2. How you’re traveling
The jury is out on whether or not road tripping or flying is the safer bet. I think it depends on how far you’re going, and which states or countries you will be going through. If you’re driving, just keep in mind where you will stop to go to the restroom or grab food. If flying, make sure you check what current safety precaution your airline is taking. Many are still blocking out the middle seat for people traveling during the pandemic, which is the safest bet so you have at least some distance.
3. Where you’re staying
If you’re staying with friends or family, again it’s important to assess the risk you could potentially pose to them by traveling and possibly carrying the virus. If they are at risk, ensure that you keep them safe by wearing a mask indoors and not sharing a room or bathroom. If you plan to book an Airbnb or VRBO, pay special attention to their cleaning protocols and reviews. Many hosts have taken up a new cleaning regiment specified by the CDC. Same goes for hotels. Feel free to also bring some cleaning supplies with you if that will give you peace of mind when you arrive.
4. Why you’re going
Not to say that travel isn’t important (I am an avid traveler), but during the pandemic the need to travel might just be outweighed by the current situation. Are you going to visit family or friends? Or are you simply going because you’re bored of staying in one place? Think about why you want to travel, and if the reasons are more important than the risk of moving around right now.
5. What you’ll do at your destination
This is also an important thing to consider when traveling during the pandemic. Because coronavirus has reached almost every corner of the globe at this point, the activities you plan to do at your destination will have to be safe. Think about what you do while at home, and if that’s what you plan to do in your destination. Know that eating at restaurants may not be readily available or safe, so consider booking a place with a kitchen. Nature based activities or anything outdoors is generally safer.
6. The number of cases
It’s critical to look at the number of cases where you are coming from, and where you are going. You may not necessarily want to visit somewhere with more cases than your own city or town. On the other hand, you pose a risk to the place you’re going if you’re coming from a hot spot, or a place where chance of exposure is higher. There are many tools online to keep track of the number of cases, so definitely do some research before you book and know that these numbers could change.
7. Any quarantine requirements
Many states and countries currently have rules regarding quarantines. To make sure you are following all rules, check the requirements for where you are going as well as the requirements for when you return. These have been changing quite frequently, which makes sense but is unfortunate for travelers because it requires a lot of flexibility and a lot of unknown. Make sure you look into these requirements when you’re booking and before you depart, and just be aware that things could change by the day or week.
8. How you will prepare
If you have decided to travel and want to do it safely, then it’s best to be overly prepared. Book and choose the best transportation available, make your reservations at a place with the right precautions, and decide what safe activities you will do at your destination. Make sure you and whoever you’re traveling with are on the same page. Consider getting a Covid-19 test before you travel (this is required in some cases), or take extra precautions and just stay home before you travel.
9. What precautions you’ll take
Like I mentioned, considering getting a Covid-19 test before you travel. It is the best thing to do in order not to infect others. Think about having a travel outfit, which you will take off immediately at your destination, and wash. Research the best face coverings, and consider wearing a shield or glasses in addition to a mask if you’re flying. At this point traveling during the pandemic, no one should be embarrassed to take these extra precautions. It is protecting you and others! Make sure you bring extra masks, so that you can wear a clean one each day or as often as necessary.
10. How you’ll support local
Now with the pandemic it’s more important than ever to support local, small businesses. Try to spend your time and money there when you are traveling, as well. Try the local cafes and restaurants, and browse the shops if it feels safe to do so. The economy needs all the help it can get! Do some research before you go to see where your dollars are most needed.
I hope this article helped you consider all the things to think about before traveling during the pandemic. Leave any other helpful tips or travel thoughts below in the comments!
Maggie is the blogger behind The Artful Everyday, a travel and lifestyle blog dedicated to living intentionally and finding beauty in the ordinary. She loves the idea that we get to escape our normal lives when we travel, and that it allows us to be more open to the world and its cultures. Maggie lived in Florence while studying abroad, then was an au pair in Rome last fall. She is very passionate about traveling in Europe, especially Italy, and living abroad. Maggie studied Interior Design at the University of Minnesota, but is currently pursuing a career in writing.