Travelling after Coronavirus seems to be close. June seems to be the month where travel will be possible again; either locally or in the region and even abroad. Definitely not to the extent it was back in February! It will take a lot of time to reach back those figures. Predictions are looking at a 3-year period for full recovery. It is still too early to know that. However it seems that we are starting to get out of one of the biggest crises in human history. Not everyone is confident with travelling and it will take time to earn back the trust of millions of travellers around the world. Nobody is forcing anyone to do anything and if you feel you need more time to travel that is ok! Travel related businesses are doing everything to stand back up on their feet. This includes making their new safety regulations public, so that prospective customers may feel comfortable enough to use their services again.
Travelling is starting to reopen in some European countries, in the hope that some tourism will be possible during the summer months. Surely the way we travel will be much different. Major events like sports, concerts and festivals will still be banned. However with some easy guidelines, you may start to look at the possibility to travel again after all the sacrifices made. Here are my tips to plan your next trip safely:
Choosing your destination
Your choice of destination will surely be limited for the time being. There are travel bans, quarantine periods, COVID tests on or prior your arrival etc. As soon as your closest airport opens up (if it has been closed), the first step you need to take is checking up which direct routes are available. Most airports will have a limited number of flights as soon as they reopen. Plan it have a page with new flight schedules to/from Malta International airport, however you need to keep yourself updated as the situation changes everyday. After checking the routes, you will need to check the restrictions in the destinations that are available. IATA are providing an interactive map with all the updated restrictions in place in cournties all over the world. Click on the map to the right to have updated information on travel restrictions.
This article from CNN might be of interest to those who wish to travel to some of the most popular destinations in Europe like France, Italy, Greece, Germany, Portugal, Spain etc. I would also advise you to check the number of active cases of COVID-19 in the country/region you are visiting. This website might be of help, but be careful on how you interprate the data on this website. 0 active cases does not necessarily mean it is 100% safe to travel there. Some countries have conducted very little tests, so you might want to dig a little deeper to be fully aware of the situation.
At the airport and during your flight
Security regulations will be much stricter and you will surely get to the airport earlier as the check in process might take longer. It is advised to use contact-less check in where you have boarding passes on your phone and do self check in. Ryan air and several other airlines have published videos on the check in process and aircraft safety measures that will be in place.
We have seen a lot of proposal for a new way of flying; empty middle seats, new aircraft designs with the middle seat facing backwards, wearing masks or visors etc. Yet, social distancing on a flight is not possible! Most of the airlines will still fly to their full capacity and unless you book a row (a minimum of 3 seats next to each other), it is highly likely that you will sit next to strangers. My suggestion is that for now you try to keep your flight time as short as possible. I cannot imagine myself on a long haul flight wearing a mask/visor all the time. Another small tip that might help regards choosing your seat. I may be wrong on this one, but trying to stay at the back of the plane may be safer. There will be no one coughing or sneezing behind you.
Where to stay
The larger your accommodation is, the more chances of being in contact people you will have. If you go for larger resorts; there will surely be more tourists, more staff and more risk of infection. If you opt for smaller accommodation the risk of meeting other people is lower. In my opinion the safest option is that of staying in self-catering apartments. You will be free to prepare your own food and thus not obliged to dine out and you will meet nobody except from your host. You can ask about the cleaning procedure of the place you are staying at and if you are unsure, you can also take a disinfectant with you to clean the most commonly used surfaces, such as tables, kitchen tops, toilets etc.
Your objective is always to keep social distancing, so joining tours with masses of unknown people will be the most dangerous option. Public transport is also risky, so I would avoid that as well. Private transport is the less risky option. Your best options are using your own transport; hiring of bikes or rental cars. If you are uncomfortable with driving, you may want to book a private car with a driver. Usually rental cars are thoroughly cleaned between usage, but you might want to check whether new cleaning procedures are in place at the car hire company you are opting for. This is an example of how Avis (one of the most popular car hire companies) are adopting new cleaning procedures following CDC advice. The same applies for private transfers. Making research and asking for information is your right!
What to do
What you are doing right now can be done even if you are travelling. Most people have found new ways of enjoying themselves keeping social distance; going for walks, discovering new natural attractions, trekking, cycling, going to quieter beaches, etc. If you choose your destination correctly you can do such activities away from home as well. If you love travelling to cities, going shopping, visiting museums and attending events you might want to wait. I would not recommend staying in cities at this point; a lot of museums are still closed, you are more likely to use public transport and have contact with people. You may try a new type of holidays and get in contact with nature. There are so many things to do in nature; going for hikes, chasing waterfalls, looking out for wildlife, walking along lakes and rivers, discovering picturesque villages, climbing mountains, go snorkeling or simply relax by the beach watching a beautiful sunset. The list is actually never ending! Apart from keeping social distancing, you are also likely to spend less doing these activities. If you want to take a step further you may want to join some local small groups doing adventure sports like rafting, canyoning etc. Once again you may want to look at guides who can offer private tours if you do not want to mix with strangers.
Staying safe does not mean locking yourself up at home for an indefinite period of time! This is like a death sentence. As explained in my previous post you must overcome your fears and rediscover what really makes you happy. Living in fear is like living half your life or even not living at all. Remember: we are humans and we can adapt! Adapting to a new way of life is our best chance of survival and by taking all the necessary precautions you shouldn’t be afraid of doing what you love.
If you need help with planning your next trip safely, get in touch! Our personalised travel planner service will be customised according to your wishes and we can plan every aspect of your trip safely according to the new standards.