Travelling during the Pandemic
Keeping yourself safe and not out of pocket when travelling during Covid-19
It is now approximately 10 months since news of Covid-19 hit and countries started going into various levels of lock-down. It's no wonder that travellers are starting to get itchy feet and wanting to go further than your front door. As domestic and international restrictions start to ease, it is important to remember that we are still in the middle of a pandemic and one must plan for travel accordingly. There would be nothing worse than planning the trip of a lifetime, and it turning into your biggest nightmare!
Flexible booking and insurance
Travel advisories and restrictions are changing constantly, so it is important to factor this in when booking your travel. Airlines are also changing their scheduling constantly in order to remain profitable with the reduced demand for flights.
When booking your travel, even domestic travel, it is important to consider these constant changes. Whilst booking flexible fares and accommodation may be more expensive in initial outlay, if you are forced to changed your plans due to illness or changing travel restrictions, you will be thankful you did. Also, due to the significant drop in tourism, many hotels and airlines have added more flexibility to their fares and rates – it is just one of those situations where it is extra important to check the fine print.
Now more than ever, it is also important to a) ensure you do not book travel without insurance, and b) ensure that it covers any likely eventuality regarding cancellation and medical cover. This could include incidents such as borders being closed in between booking and travel, your flight being cancelled and being left with accommodation you can no longer get to, or medical expenses related to potential Covid-19 treatment. This is particularly important if you are travelling to a country where you don’t have reciprocal universal health care and the cost of medical care is high.
Check travel advisories
This point is super important! The amount of Americans who have told me recently that they have picked up super cheap, non-refundable airfares to visit Tokyo Disneyland blows my mind. Japan has some of the hardest borders in the world at the moment, and are just starting to commence discussions with some other countries in the Asia/Pacific nations who have also been successful in controlling Covid-19 to recommence travel in 2021. Here in Australia, our own population is not allowed to leave the country, let alone letting foreign tourists in. So, whilst some fares may seem like once in a lifetime deals, make sure that you will actually be able to enter the country that you intend to visit.
Staying safe in transit and accommodation
Whilst in transit, whether that be by airplane, train, bus or rental vehicle, is important to remember that even with decreased amounts of people travelling, there are going to be plenty of surfaces in public spaces that are considered 'high-touch points', and often many people crowded into small places. Because of this, it is critical to wash/sanitise your hands regularly and ensure that you wear a mask when you are not able to socially distance effectively.
In addition, during a pandemic is a time to be particular in where you choose to lay your head at night when travelling. It is crucial that you are staying in accommodation that is taking regular sanitisation or surfaces seriously. One upside for travellers has been the ability to get great deals on accommodation that may usually be out of their price range due to the limited number of tourists. So please be discerning, choose a quality hotel and investigate your chose hotel's Covid-safe cleaning policies.