In this post our guest writer, Jesse Clark, provides some excellent tips and links to great advice for post-pandemic travel. Excellent suggestions for those getting ready to hit the road again! See her other posts here. More about Jesse below.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, people have been spending most of their time in or near their homes. Travel of any kind, especially nonessential, recreational travel like sightseeing and vacationing, was heavily frowned upon or outright prohibited until very recently when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced a major policy change. Even if you were able to travel a bit, you likely found many attractions and accommodations either closed completely or operating at a nearly unrecognizable level.
As the nation’s vaccination figures rise and the number of new COVID-19 cases declines, travel is making its comeback. However, don’t expect everything to bounce back to the way it was immediately — or, in some cases, ever. The pandemic has inflicted some permanent changes on the way businesses and travelers operate, and some of those changes may be here to stay.
Go ahead and strap on that fanny pack. But before hitting the road or taking to the skies, The Independent Tourist gives you these three common mistakes to watch out for.
Mistake No. 1: Thinking There’s Only One Safe Way To Travel
Condé Nast Traveler points out that health experts and travel industry leaders alike have been debating for some time about which mode of transportation has the lowest COVID-19 risk for travelers. As it turns out, the safest travel method may depend on how far you’re traveling.
For a shorter trip of fewer than 500 miles, car travel is likely your best bet. On a road trip, most of your time is spent in a vehicle with just a few other people whose vaccination records are easy to verify. You’ll avoid spending hours at the airport being in close contact with hundreds or thousands of strangers who may or may not be vaccinated, and you won’t be seated inches away from a stranger who will share your airspace for the entire flight.
That said, car travel requires more frequent stops than air travel, and each stop means interacting with new people. Beyond a one-day trip — roughly 500 miles — the COVID-19 risks of all those necessary road trip stops begin to outweigh the risks of airport crowds. For longer trips, air travel is likely the safest choice.
Mistake No. 2: Choosing the Wrong Destinations
You may be itching to get back to your favorite beach or shopping mecca, but so are thousands of other people. Avoiding crowds is still critical to staying safe on your travels. Outdoor destinations, such as parks and campgrounds, are a safer choice than crowded resorts and hotels.
A surprising silver lining to the COVID-19 cloud is that, with international travel bans still in effect, there has never been a better time to visit some of the country’s most stunning national parks. These destinations are seeing smaller-than-normal crowds due to the absence of international tourists.
Mistake No. 3: Not Updating Your Tech Gear
In a post-pandemic world, expect to have your smartphone always glued to your hand. From navigating trails in the great outdoors to taking advantage of contact-free reservations and check-ins, your phone is more important than ever. If you need an upgrade, now’s the time. Because your smartphone will be everywhere you’re venturing, the risk of damage from the elements — rain, dirt, the sun — as well as drops increases, so you’ll want to invest in a rugged, durable screen protector to protect your lifeline. Many of today’s screen protectors go through extensive testing for things like scratches and impacts.
Also look into a good phone sanitizer to keep germs at bay. Noise-isolating headphones may help you remember to practice safe distancing, and a backup battery or power bank will keep you connected on the go.
While you’re no doubt excited to start traveling again, it’s important to prioritize your health and make smart choices to keep you and your travel companions safe on your adventures.
The Independent Tourist is your source for worldwide independent travel, a blog and guide written by an independent tourism enthusiast for independent tourists. Check us out today! firstname.lastname@example.org
Jesse Clark is a traveler, so she’s no stranger to experiencing wanderlust and that strong desire to travel. She’s already had enough experiences to last a lifetime, but she’s not stopping anytime soon.