Now that lockdowns are easing, and borders are slowly opening around the world, it’s tempting to start to book trips away. It’s important to remember that the pandemic isn’t over and may not be for some time yet. Travel is being encouraged, as economies strive to recover from lockdowns, so how should you plan your travels in the middle of a pandemic?
Plan for either the immediate future or a year away
Think carefully about when you are planning a trip for. If you know where you can currently travel to without having to quarantine and where cases are on the decline, book your trip immediately and travel as soon as possible. Situations can change rapidly, and circumstances may be different even in a month’s time. Alternatively, book a special or long-haul trip well in advance, ideally for a year in the future, making sure that you have adequate travel insurance just in case.
Be prepared for disappointment
Don’t build up your trip too much. If you are booking to go travelling in the middle of a pandemic, you should be prepared for last-minute cancellations or changes to your itinerary. It’s also worth looking into the current situation in your destination, and realising that the galleries, shops and restaurants that you are excited to visit may not be open or may only be admitting small numbers of visitors.
Try to avoid long-haul trips
It’s sensible to focus your immediate travel plans on destinations that are within your own country or to nearby places. If a second wave or local lockdown hits, you want to be able to return home as easily as possible. You’re also less likely to have to quarantine on arrival and upon returning home if you are travelling to neighbouring countries.
Have extra money saved
It’s important to have extra funds saved to cover your costs if you need to return home quickly or the country you are visiting goes into lockdown while you are away. Before booking a trip, think about what you’d do if you had to return home at a moment’s notice or if you had to extend your trip and shelter in place.
Carry out thorough research
Don’t just book a trip because you saw in the news it was OK to travel. Spend time conducting thorough research paying attention to not only your own government’s current advice but the advice for the country you will be visiting. Check the rules for tourists to find out if you need to quarantine upon arrival, if you will have to wear a mask in public places and if the hospitality industry is open as usual.
Check cancellation policies before booking
Before you book your trip, check that you have adequate travel insurance that covers you against everything from cancellations to becoming sick while you are away. Don’t just stop at that, however. Carefully go through the terms and conditions for your transport, your accommodation and any extras such as car hire, reading cancellation policies to make sure that you can recover costs if your trip is cancelled.
Emma Lavelle is a UK based writer and photographer and has her own blog Field and Nest.