Travel Planning During a Pandemic
Tips for planning your first post-pandemic trip.
Are you considering a trip? There are lots of great travel deals out there. Perhaps you’re trying to use travel vouchers before they expire. Or maybe wanderlust has taken on a whole new meaning because you’ve waited a year. If you’re ready to resume travel, here are five tips for planning a safe trip:
- Consider keeping it local and outdoors. Road trips in your own car reduce the health risks associated with public transportation. Consider outdoor activities that may be done close to home or in neighboring states, like camping, hiking, or biking. Seize the opportunity to stray from the beaten path with local alternatives you may not previously have considered. Keeping it local is a great way to support your local communities during this difficult time.
- Research your destination’s COVID-19 conditions and guidelines. If you’re planning a trip in the near-term, make sure the places you intend to visit aren’t COVID-19 hotspots so as not to risk infection spikes. Familiarize yourself with local mandates, and follow guidelines from the CDC and WHO such as wearing a mask, washing your hands, and social distancing. You’ll also want to confirm that shops, restaurants, and other venues are open – even if in some altered fashion.
- Check Travel Advisories for your intended destination. If you’re planning to venture internationally, it’s critical to check for health advisories and travel warnings. The U.S. Department of State’s travel website provides Travel Advisories for international destinations. You’ll be able to view the various levels of advisory such as level 1 which means “Exercise Normal Precautions” to level 4 which means “Do Not Travel.” Once you decide on a destination, you can enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which provides safety and security alerts, and notifies you when a Travel Advisory has been changed at your destination.
- Be flexible. Make your plans, but remain flexible. Accept that you may be forced to make changes, either during your planning, or while on the road, and with relatively short notice. Be sure to research the cancellation policies for any trip providers or accommodations you book. The airlines, Amtrak, and most hotels have continued their relaxed change and cancellation policies to accommodate the current situation.
- Invest in travel insurance. Travel insurance has always been a good idea – now it’s critical. It can protect your trip investment before and during your trip. It reimburses for losses due to trip cancellation, missed connections, lost or stolen baggage – and can literally be a lifesaver in much more serious situations like illness while traveling, natural disaster, or civil unrest.
It’s time to hit the road again. You just need to plan carefully, do your research, and make your reservations. When you can, head out and enjoy travel again.