How to plan a trip during Covid is a controversial topic that few will discuss. For some, the idea of travel right now is out of the question. For others, they are traveling, but naturally, they have had to adapt. Before the pandemic, thousands of people had their 2020 plans set. Many of us had fabulous vacations planned to enjoy with friends and family. But the Covid-19 pandemic crushed those plans. However, travel restrictions are starting to be more flexible. Some countries already open their borders again; if you are considering a trip, here what you need to know about how to plan a trip during Covid.
Right now, travel is starting to come back up, but the number of countries that are accepting tourists is few. On top of this, many of these countries have new requirements. For example, some ask for a negative Covid-19 test or quarantining for the first two weeks upon arriving. Add to this that the landscape changes daily, making it a challenge to stay on top of requirements. The first step of planning a trip during Covid is to research the open countries and what you will need to enter.
Even if you decide to travel domestically, some states also have their own restrictions. You can check out the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, where they have a link for each state’s Health Department website. It is important to know the restrictions on your destination because they won’t let you in if you don’t meet all the requirements, and some of the activities you will want to do could be closed.
For example, we were hoping to visit New York during the holidays. New York requires that you quarantine for a minimum of three days, measured from the time of arrival, and on day four, you have to take a diagnostic test to exit quarantine. So, it’s not realistic to attempt this as we would be hotel-bound.
Hotspots can be places where many people go every day and countries where the cases have increased in the last few months. When deciding where to travel, you should research the countries that are already open to tourists. You can check out Harvard’s Covid-19 risk assessment map if you are traveling domestically.
If you are traveling internationally, you can look at John Hopkins Covid-19 resource center to monitor your destination’s cases. Also, when researching what to do while traveling, you should plan for outdoor activities. This way, you can avoid being around large groups, and in open spaces, the risk of infection is lower.
For now, you should avoid tourist places that many people still visit – even if for business purposes. Plan to go hiking, camping, on a boat ride, or any other activity where you will be away from people.
For example, my nephew and I ended up camping in California due to the pandemic. It turned out to be the best social distancing vacation! We repeated this in November by renting a cabin in Georgia for Thanksgiving.
Highly populated cities like New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago should really be avoided.
When planning your trip, you should also consider transportation. Depending on where you are going, you have four options: plane, car, bus, and train. Renting a car will always be the best option because you will have less contact with other people outside of the group traveling with you. But in some cases, like when traveling internationally, you will need to take at least one plane.
If you have no choice but to take a plane, bus or train, take all the safety measures necessary. Always wear a mask throughout the trip and have hand sanitizers in your bag. Try to wash your hands every time you have a chance too.
Pack a Pandemic Essentials Bag
To be better prepared, you can pack a bag with the pandemic essentials. A pandemic essentials bag should contain face masks, hand sanitizers, thermometers, soaps, and your health insurance information. If you have any previous condition that increases your risks if you get the virus, you should also include an extra supply of any medication you need.
Buy Travel Insurance
Given how volatile travel is today, you need travel insurance. Not all policies cover Covid and what is covered differs. One policy may cover delays or interruption due to Covid but not an infection. So it would be best if you compare policies side by side. This tool will guide you through how to pick travel insurance. Click on the image below, enter in your dates and compare!
Consider Airbnb vs. A Hotel
Airbnb has become an important tech company for the tourism industry and is one of the cheapest alternatives for those who want to travel to different locations but still feel the home’s comfort. Since the pandemic started, fewer people are traveling, and the travel industry is suffering the consequences.
However, as a tech company, Airbnb knows how to make the best use possible of data science. They use statistics to understand how they can become a good alternative during the pandemic. For example, Airbnb seeks to understand what exactly people are looking for during the pandemic? They want to remain safe. A hotel isn’t the safest place to stay, but a house can be assuming it is cleaned thoroughly. And you will not have to interact with other guests.
Airbnb not only provides more space to its customers. It also gives them a high-quality cleaning service so that they don’t catch the virus. Airbnb is also offering discounts. For those who were laid off or suffered a salary cut, renting an Airbnb house is better than paying rent.
This is good news for the company but may not be so good for property owners. These people were paying their mortgages with income from Airbnb. With a lower influx of visitors, they are experiencing financial difficulties.
“These hosts still have mortgages to pay on those homes, but they’re not making the revenue they otherwise would have through Airbnb,” Makarand Mody, an assistant professor at the Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration, told the Washington Post.
Be Prepared With a Plan B
This is the first time in recent history that we have to face a pandemic of this size. Although the death toll isn’t the highest in history, the Covid-19 virus is highly infectious. So, countries are still testing different plans to try and contain the pandemic. This means that things could change at any moment.
You could be in a foreign country when flights are canceled, and borders close again. For this reason, you should have a plan B on what to do if the unexpected happens, and you have to leave the country at a moment’s notice or, even worse, you get stuck outside of the US.
It is better to be prepared for any scenario. So, if you have a profession where you can work remotely, like full stack development or customer service, make sure that you take everything you need for work – regardless of where you plan to travel to.
How to plan a trip during Covid is not difficult. It does require that you research travel restrictions and understand that they change. We have a new normal during the pandemic, and you have to accept that everything will be different. Second, try to avoid hotspots, where the risk of infection is higher. This includes planning for transportation methods with less contact with others. Road trips are definitely going to make a comeback as it’s a lot safer to drive yourself.
Make sure you pack a pandemic essentials bag with all the things you need to stay safe and be prepared with a plan B if something unexpected happens. It would help if you also considered using Airbnb for accommodation. If you want to start traveling while still working, now is the time. Lots of people (myself included) have taken a work-cation for a change of scenery. Lastly, now is the perfect time to learn new skills! Imagine yourself nestled away in a cabin; you could take on a new language, attend a coding boot camp, or take university classes! Let’s face it; we all have more time than ever before. And, even when on vacation, a lot of attractions are closed. Use the time to learn!
Nikki Webster is a travel writer who covers how to travel while grinding a day job, how to travel without breaking the bank, hotels, cruising, and off-the-beaten-track experiences. She is particularly fond of Florida and writes extensively about the state. She flies around 60,000 miles per year and has visited 54 countries, 50 states, and six continents. You can read all about her travels at www.britonthemove.com.