Two years into grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, it finally looks like the world is beginning to open up again. Shelter-in-place orders have eased, vaccination numbers are on the rise, and many countries are reopening their borders. Still, because the fight against the virus continues all over the world, numerous health and safety restrictions remain in place for travelers. And though some of us might be raring for a vacation after long months in lockdown, it’s also important to reevaluate our approach to travel in light of the new normal.Two years into grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic.Here are 5 Sensible Health and Safety Tips for Travelers in a Post-Pandemic World.
Have you already started planning your next getaway? Maybe you’ve begun to take the necessary precautions—say, by purchasing an antimicrobial face mask through the internet. Perhaps you’ve stocked up on more bottles of hand sanitizer and packs of disinfectant wipes than you can carry. But beyond making sure your travel bags are well-packed with essentials for your health and hygiene, what else can you do to travel safely? Read on for more useful guidance on navigating the (almost!) post-pandemic world, and you’ll be more than ready for your next adventure.
Vet Your Destination
As you begin traveling again, one of the surest ways to stay safe is to be discerning about your destination choices. Don’t fall for cheap deals or flash seat sales. Instead, prioritize destinations with health and safety protocols in place that have been expressly built around restoring tourism. Some examples of useful protocols include requiring visitors to present proof of vaccination, mandatory testing before entry, structured contact tracing measures, and the like. You could even consider asking a professional travel advisor for recommendations on the safest places to travel, as well as for safe accommodation and activities once you arrive.
Buy Appropriate Travel Insurance
Many travel insurance providers now offer special plans directly focused on mitigating any trip disruptions related to COVID-19. At the very least, it makes sense to buy medical coverage for any variant of the virus, as well as additional insurance coverage for potential trip cancellations. If you want something more comprehensive and sophisticated, some providers offer round-the-clock travel assistance as part of their insurance plans. These plans give you 24/7 access to useful travel advice, risk assessments for potential destinations, and real-time safety alerts.
Take Safety Precautions on Airplanes
Before you so much as book a ticket, read up on your chosen airline’s health and safety policies. Also make sure your carry-on is well-stocked with alcohol-based disinfectant wipes. Once you’ve boarded your plane, you can use these to wipe down your seat and seat belt buckle before you settle in. It’s likewise a good idea to wipe down any other high-touch surfaces like your screen, armrests, and tray table.
As much as possible, it’s best to stay masked up throughout your entire flight. Consider opting out of any offered food and beverage services so you won’t have to remove your mask. If you must eat or drink, make sure to put your mask back on and disinfect your hands as soon as you’ve finished.
Book Private Accommodation and Transport
For sure, meeting people in the communal spaces of a resort or hotel can often be a major highlight of your vacation. For now, though, it might be safer to check yourself into a private home away from home instead. Choosing private lodging will limit your contact with possibly unvaccinated strangers and reduce your risk of infection. Search reputable travel sites for a well-evaluated house, cottage, or apartment in your chosen area. For your security, be sure to read up on the owner’s sanitation practices and previous guests’ reviews before you book.
If you have your license and can afford it, consider also booking a rental car for the duration of your trip rather than taking public transport. After all, crowded, closed-off buses, trains, and taxis can and often do become sites for spreading COVID-19. The isolation a car affords you will in all likelihood do wonders for your peace of mind.
Exercise Constant Vigilance
Even the safest destination might still hide the occasional danger zone. Some restaurants, hotels, and other tourist spots might have lax health and safety measures in place, or none at all. Fortunately, there are warning signs you can watch for that will help you identify such places. Before you enter any establishment, see if you can observe any of the following:
- Clearly visible signs detailing what health and safety guidelines customers of the establishment must observe
- Air purifiers and other technology that measure and monitor the quality of the air in the establishment
- Clean floors and walls that are free of dust
- An absence of musty, unpleasant smells in the air
Most establishments that check out on most or all of the above will be safe to enter. Avoid dusty, musty places without clear health and safety policies and technology in place. Likewise, make sure you and your party also comply with local hygiene and social distancing guidelines at all times.
There’s no way around it: traveling in the new normal will likely require you to plan more carefully and behave more cautiously than you’re used to. Don’t let this need for greater vigilance put a damper on your excitement, though! At the end of the day, these precautions exist to protect you and others, and observing them will ultimately enable you to enjoy your trips to the fullest.
It is also important to have knowledge on how these viruses start, and what steps scientists do to study and understand them. One way is through the gain of function research, this aims to catch viruses before outbreaks and develop vaccines and other medicines.