There are plenty of things to long for as we head into the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic. For many, the desire to head out on new and exciting traveling adventures has been difficult to temper.
Now that vaccination measures are finally rolling out across the country, you might be eagerly planning all of your future vacation trips post-pandemic. However, as the future still remains uncertain, it’s important to be realistic and keep safety at the forefront of your plans.
Surviving the pandemic has been no easy feat, but we’re not out of the woods quite yet. If you’re getting travel plans together for the upcoming year, here are some things to keep in mind:
Make Your Health a Priority
The biggest concern you should have while traveling in the coming years is how to maintain your health. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s how easily things like viruses and diseases can spread. It has also shown us just how effective proper hygiene, masks, and modern technology, such as telehealth, can be.
As you begin traveling again, be sure to bring along a few of the COVID-19 tips we’ve all learned with you. For example, utilizing telehealth appointments make it possible to receive care from your regular provider, even while strolling the streets of Paris or soaking up some sun in Cabo. This can help alleviate fears of not being understood or your concerns being mistranslated in case of an emergency or illness.
It’s also a good idea to keep the slogan of the pandemic in mind: if you’re sick, stay home. Despite vaccine rollouts, there are still a number of risks to face in the coming fallout years. You may really be dying to scratch that travel itch, but no trip is worth your health or the health of others.
Prepare yourself to cancel your trip at any moment should you need to. You might feel disappointed but if you tell yourself from the beginning that your health is the number one priority, it’s easier to be flexible with your plans.
Don’t Break the Bank
With so much time spent at home the past year, you’ve likely been saving up for the moment you can finally board a plane and head out on a new adventure. Being financially prepared is generally the first step in any vacation plans, but there can still be things that get overlooked. One of the biggest issues most travelers want to avoid is getting stuck somewhere unfamiliar without accommodation.
To avoid a tough situation such as that, it’s important to be prepared for unexpected credit charges in various countries. Credit cards are used differently from country to country, and they each have their own system of fees as well.
These unforeseen charges can quickly eat away at your budget and potentially land you in hot water. Do your research beforehand and consider alternatives to a credit card if you need to.
It’s also worth having a financial backup plan in case your account is frozen or your credit cards malfunction.
Do you have a way to contact your bank from the destination you’re visiting? Are you able to use local ATMs to get cash out? What online banking services do you have access to? Could you use an online payment system like Paypal or Cashapp during your travels?
And of course, safely manage the cash you plan to have on you. Break up your cash stash into a variety of inconspicuous places and pockets.
Plan For the Worst
You may not be planning to visit a literal warring country during your travels, but there are still a number of reasons why you should have an evacuation plan.
It’s no secret that there has been an increase in civil unrest across the United States and other countries. There have also been unprecedented natural disasters such as the winter storms in Jackson, Mississippi that left thousands of people without water for nearly three weeks.
Whether it’s a wildfire, riot, or lost power, you never know when an emergency situation will strike or where. To keep yourself safe, have an emergency go-bag by the door of your hotel or wherever you’re staying that includes a change of clothes, any medications you need, and extra water.
If you’re traveling abroad, ensure you have the location and phone number of your country’s embassy memorized. Keep your personal identification and other important documents in your go-bag as well or in a secure location such as the hotel’s safe. Of course, the hope is you won’t even have to think about evacuating but just in case, it’s imperative to be ready at a moment’s notice.
While many of us weren’t able to travel as much as we would have liked this past year, at least we can start excitedly preparing for future adventures when travel is safer and more accessible again. It’s fair to say that quarantine, beyond being stressful, has been plain boring. You may be craving something thrilling and adventurous, but it’s important to be realistic about safety right now.