As more people are being slotted for their second dose this summer, we’re beginning to see a slow revival of the travel economy: bustling airports, ocean traffic, and busy roads.
The arrival of summer brings more than just a spike in the weather and looser clothing, it also marks this new chapter of the pandemic: summer vacation. Both testing and quarantine requirements, for the most part, have significantly eased to the point more people can now seriously consider getting back on the road once more.
Many travelers are taking advantage of this newfound mobility provided by their vaccines, either through reuniting with family and friends or finally getting around to booking those landmark trips they’ve spent a full year admiring from a distance. Summer travel, after all, looks profoundly different than it did last year.
Safe to say such long periods of isolation have given all of us the travel bug, and this itch, thankfully, can now be scratched. But even with relatively looser restrictions and mobility, we must all still be mindful when travelling.
International travel has been sort of a taboo topic, and in many cases off-limits since the coronavirus pandemic began. But as countries reopen and more people get vaccinated, the dream of being one with the skies once again is slowly becoming more of a reality once again.
From choosing the destination and transportation method to abiding by local rules and regulations regarding safety measures, anyone travelling during this pandemic summer might do well to keep a few of these things in mind.
Consider travelling domestic
The entire world hasn’t simultaneously reopened all at once, of course. There are densely populated areas like Australia and New Zealand that are still keeping their borders tight, as is the case with some major portions of the world still.
This might be the opportune time to seek out adventures from right outside your door, an experience of a lifetime that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to cross borders for doing so. Think of it this way: if something goes wrong during a holiday, it can be a hundred times worse if you’re away from your country.
Many complications can arise on any normal vacation but further expounded by the fact we’re in delicate travel situations: health and travel insurance problems, unexpected quarantine guidelines, etc. These situations can be quite costly and cumbersome on any normal holiday, what more during pandemic travel.
Consider this year as the time to visit locally, making the most out of a road trip if you have a car or going down to your local beach and setting up a picnic. There are still many ways to enjoy travelling this summer, all of which don’t necessarily mean getting on a plane.
Know your destination’s guidelines
Whether it is a road trip inside your state or international travel, taking the proper safety measures is more than necessary even now. The guidelines and rules are constantly changing depending on the delicate medical situation, the only thing travellers cannot afford to do is to let down their guard. Carrying a mask with you at all times as a safety clutch is also another way to guarantee a degree of precaution.
Another thing you can do if you decide to travel someplace foreign is knowing the network of hospitals of your insurance provider around the area. Before booking, check to see the town’s COVID respective guidelines and protocols in place since each area differs almost dramatically. Some have curfews in place or certain liquor bans, while some may opt for not even accepting outside travellers at this point.
If there is a quarantine measure in place, it’s also best to respect it and follow the rules accordingly.
Take extra precautions
Although people are getting COVID-19 vaccines, the virus isn’t gone, so it’s still important to take safety precautions while travelling or even just setting foot in your local grocery. If you’re partially vaccinated, you may be able to travel to some areas, but it’s always best to steer clear from crowds or indoor dining.
If you’re fully vaccinated, you may not need to quarantine when you arrive. Though it’s always best to still do a test beforehand and comply with any other protocols your destination area might ask of you.
Consider private transportation
While not the route most people would normally take on if you’re adamant on going to a far-off place and enjoying yourself in a region not easily accessible commercially: private transportation is going to be your new best friend. This has to be one of the most popular ways to travel safely during this pandemic, if not the most guaranteed one.
In a single jet trip, there are less than 20 potential COVID-19 points of contact during a private jet trip and a staggering 700 when using commercial airlines. Private jets use separate private terminals (FBOs), so maintaining a rigorous social distancing protocol is easy to follow.
Aside from that, you will also have full control over your luggage during the entire process and will only be travelling with people you personally invited and can account for. Many private jet operators have applied special virus protection treatments to their aircraft cabins.
Get tested before and after
Getting a swab test is best to do at least two days before you leave, and as soon as possible when you get back from your trip. A recent study published in JAMA found that ‘at least 50% of new SARS-CoV-2 infections were estimated to have originated from exposure to individuals with infection, but without symptoms.
This means that you and the people you’re exposed to while travelling could be spreading the virus and not even know it. Testing before/after travel using PCR technology — instead of rapid antigen testing — ensures that you’re minimizing the risk of false negatives. This way is more accurate and will yield more efficient results, given that you are essentially being exposed and exposing yourself to different people along the way.
Many travellers are excited to fly the coop the minute they’re fully vaccinated, but some of us need a little more time to ease back in. Good thing last year taught us how to stoke our love of travel right at home, through virtual events, movies, and food, among other things.
It’s equally important to keep in mind there should be no rush to get out either, the world will still be waiting for you as it always has long after this is over.