Remember the times where we could travel without having to spend hours researching restrictions, tips and new rules in place?
This photo is a blast from the past, from my trip to Malaysia about 3 years ago. A time where I was spending a lot of my time traveling from one country to the next every month.
After my most recent travel experience, I experienced the reality that traveling will probably never be the same – even post-Covid – if there is the possibility that one day we will have a new “normal” without headaches and worries.
Here are some things that you can expect and how you can travel better prepared from now on (especially since social distancing isn’t something that’s prioritized on all planes):
Before you book your trip
1. Opt to travel during the week
…If you can. Chances are the airport and your flight will be less crowded, and you may even secure cheaper tickets and hotel bookings. This is one of the easiest ways to avoid the crowds before your journey even begins.
2. What type of plane will you be flying in, and for how long?
The bigger the plane, the easier it will be to maintain some form of social distancing between yourself and the other passengers. If you are a regular traveler, join the airline alliances that will benefit you most. You can use your points to upgrade your seat for extra peace of mind. Check how long you’re likely to be on the flight (both ways), and be aware that you’re likely to have to wear a mask throughout your journey.
3. Where to stay?
Check if the hotel you plan to stay in has outlined what safety and hygiene measures they’re implementing. If the breakfast buffet is not an option, for example, make sure you know what the alternatives are.
Preparing to travel
4. Do you need additional documents?
Check in advance whether your airline and hotel require you to provide health documentation, such as a doctor’s note confirming your fitness to fly. Once you have settled on a destination, be sure to stay up to date with any Covid-19 restrictions the authorities may have in place for travelers. You don’t want to plan your trip only to find that you have to complete 2 weeks of quarantine, or are missing certain documents certifying your fitness to travel. Health insurance is one to look out for – some destinations may now make it a requirement, so be sure that you purchase coverage that includes Covid-19 tests and treatment.
5. Pack smart
Pack light if possible. The more you have to carry, the more you’ll have sanitize and disinfect before/during/after your trip. Choosing a hard case luggage is much easier to disinfect, and carrying bags that are easy to wipe down is a great tip I found useful on my journeys.
6. Come prepared
Bring your own wipes, masks, gloves, face shield, and bring multiples of the essential PPE as a precautionary measure. Don’t expect the airline to provide you with that on board. Yes, some of them are doing that – but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t bring your own as well.
At the airport
7. Be mindful at all times
Watch your surroundings. Be careful when boarding – it is better to board towards the end because then you’ll avoid the crowd inside the plane. If you get a window seat, it’s also better. If you’re sitting at the end of the plane, then try to board early. When you travel somewhere, look around you as not everyone follows the proper guidelines. Be responsible and move if you have to. Give yourself extra time by arriving at the airport earlier than you usually would.
8. Travel smarter
Find new ways for creating less work for yourself. For example, if you plan on bringing a purse or backpack on board with you, you can get a large size ziploc bag to store everything in it before you put it under your seat or in the cabin for storage. That way, you can just toss the plastic bag or wipe that instead of having to sanitize everything else. Another tip is you can bring your own utensils and metal straws, instead of drinking directly from a glass at a restaurant.
9. Accept the new normal
Walking around the airport, I saw signs all over and found that most of the shops and restaurants were closed. Read in advance online to know more and be better prepared. Prepare to be flexible and be ready to adjust to the new rules as you go. It’s good to come a little earlier now too since security line ups are much longer now that they’ve closed some areas.
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About the author
Zaakirah was born in Mauritius and raised in Canada, where she’s currently based in Toronto. She has a passion for exploring the world through her love for travel and food, and documents her adventures on her IG page @ieattravelwrite. By day, Zaakirah has built upon her love for writing by pursuing her education in Professional Writing and Communication, and shares her expertise through her freelance work in writing and design.