2020 is the year that travel has changed, that is an undeniable fact. For several months no one traveled unless it was absolutely necessary. But as time is going on and we are all adjusting to this new normal I wanted to write a little bit about my personal experience traveling in 2020 and offer you some insight on how you can travel safely in 2020 and beyond with as little risk as possible.
I’m just going to say it, you can get some pretty amazing last minute flight deals right now and it’s more than tempting to book yourself a bargain. But before you go and book that flight here are a few things you need to think about.
Check our your government’s advice
Before you book a vacation anywhere I would strongly recommend first doing some research. Check your government’s advice and make sure the country you are in has an open border.
Then check out which countries they are advising you not to travel to and eliminate them from your search as your insurance may be invalid there. If you know which country you want to travel to then do some research and find out what the situation is like there.
Make sure the country you are traveling too is being pro-active about safety
Once you have established that it’s ok for you to travel to this country it’s time to start doing some more in-depth research looking into what it’s like to travel there right now. Most popular tourist destinations have been quick to respond and reopened their doors by following the strictest protocols.
Like right here in Mexico for example, the restaurants, bars, and resorts are all open at limited capacity. To enter everyone has to have their temperature checked, hands gelled, and walk through some sanitization liquid. All staff are in masks and face shields and even cutlery is sanitized and wrapped in sealed plastic to ensure it’s clean. Once you are inside the restaurant you can remove your mask etc and relax knowing every precaution possible is being taken.
I recently traveled to the USA as I needed to visit my New York City dentist for a brace adjustment. I was a bit worried about flying into the USA on my European passport because of the travel restrictions, but I actually didn’t have any issues as I hadn’t been to one of the banned countries in the previous 14 days.
These are the kinds of things you need to be looking out for.
Have solid insurance
Before you go any further, you are going to need insurance. And not just the cheapest insurance. Insurance that is going to cover you for things that you could end up needing if the situation gets difficult. I always traveled with insurance for long term travel. And if I’m honest, I never really paid too much attention to what was, and wasn’t covered. Oh, how things have changed.
I now have my normal Digital Nomad Insurance and I get airline insurance, like emirates insurance to ensure that if the worst were to happen, I’d be covered. Things that I want to know I’m covered for now are flight cancelations due to COVID and sickness due to COVID in addition to the normal things I look for in my insurance cover.
Don’t book too far in advance
You may disagree with me, but right now I’m booking last minute flight deals only. Personally I feel like I don’t want to book anything too far in advance. Things are changing so quickly that a week or 2 before feels like a good time for me.
Set up news alerts for the place you are traveling too
Did you know you can set up google alerts for pretty much anything? You set it up so each day google sends you top searches for your search query. So for example, if I wanted to travel to Dubai then I would set up a news alert for something like “travel to Dubi” and then I would get a daily email with the top news articles.
Things to think about before you travel
Once you have all of that covered here are a some things you should think about doing before you travel. And just to be clear, this list is not based on anything other than these are the things I’ve been personally doing to be more proactive in traveling safely during COVID.
Lay low for 7-10 days before your flight
Before I take a flight I like to take it easy for at least a week before and limit my physical contact with people. So just for a week, I’ll be a bit more careful when I’m outside the house. I won’t visit restaurants or bars and I’ll just be a bit more cautious about who I’m coming into contact with.
Get an N95 mask for the pane
For everyday use I have a cloth mask that I wash daily. But really that does little to protect me, it’s more about protecting others around me. So when I am traveling on any public transport, be it a bus or a plane, I try and get hold of an N95. I use it for the journey and then dispose of it.
Try to avoid as much contact as you can while traveling
Again, this is pretty intuitive really. Just take care and be mindful of what you are touching with your hands. Keep your distance from people you don’t know and be respectful of other people’s personal space. I’ve been traveling very safely through airports just by being more mindful. Oh and I shouldn’t even have to say this, but wash your hands often and keep hand sanitizer in your hand luggage.
Ditch your clothes and hop in the shower when you arrive
I pretty much always did this anyway. But now the first thing I do when I get to my final destination is take off everything I’m wearing and put it in the laundry. Then get directly in the shower. No hugging family members or grabbing a quick bite to eat out of the fridge. Nope, ditch your clothes and get a wash first.