After months of quarantining and social distancing, you’re probably aching to embark on another adventure. However, the spread of COVID-19 has forced many countries to temporarily close their borders, making travel much more challenging.
Though it’s still uncertain when countries will fully reopen and travel will return to normal, the pandemic doesn’t have to bring your travel plans to a halt. Whether you’re planning for a trip in the coming months or for one further down the line, here are six ways you can start preparing for your next vacation:
Understand Your Risks
Any type of travel, especially when it brings you in close contact with others, increases your risk of exposure to COVID-19. However, if you understand the risks ahead of time, you’ll be able to better prepare for any potential issues.
The best way to gauge your risk factor is by tracking the number of cases in the destination you plan to visit. Avoid planning trips to locations with increasing infection rates or a high number of active cases, and consider who you are traveling with. Age and underlying conditions can also increase your risk of exposure, so take these factors into consideration when determining your risk as well.
Research Travel Restrictions
The hardest-hit countries still have strict travel bans and mandatory quarantines in place. However, many others have revealed plans to reopen for tourism in the coming months, which means it’s not too soon to start planning. Before choosing a destination, familiarize yourself with their regulations and any protocols that may impact your travel plans.
Several countries require proof that you have tested negative for COVID-19 or test you upon arrival. Others have imposed a mandatory quarantine for a set amount of time or put advanced protocols in place to track your activity while touring. Understanding where you can travel and what is expected of you once you arrive will help you plan around restrictions and anticipate possible interruptions.
Sort Your Finances
With the economy upside down, some of the money you’ve saved up for travel may have gone toward other expenses. Or, you just might not feel as financially secure as you felt pre-pandemic. Regardless of your financial position, it’s a great time to get your finances in order.
Ask your travel planner about payment plans and determine what you can afford. Figure out how you’ll pay for your next trip, whether it be with your personal savings, a credit account, or a loan. Travelers who are interested in paying off their trip early or fronting a sizable down payment on a travel package may also benefit from alternative payment methods like taking out an equity loan, which is essentially a lump sum payment that you can pay back monthly over a few years.
Plan How You’ll Get There
Since some countries are beginning to open their borders for tourism, you may be able to resume travel as early as next month. However, you should still be strategic with your planning as air travel presents a higher risk of exposure.
You can reduce your risk of exposure when traveling by air by avoiding layovers and connecting flights whenever possible. To limit your time and exposure in the airport and on a plane, you should also keep at least six feet apart from other travelers, opt for destinations with shorter flights, and select window seating when it’s available.
Mitigate Your Exposure
It may be harder to follow social distancing regulations when visiting highly trafficked cities, which is why you should plan socially-distant excursions. Consider traveling to a destination like Peru where your options for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and rafting, are abundant.
In addition, you should add personal protective equipment such as hand sanitizer, face masks, and gloves to your packing list so you can further reduce your risk of exposure. Practice social distancing, avoid crowded locations, and sanitize your hands often to protect yourself and those around you while traveling.
Work With a Travel Professional
Preparing for a trip during these uncertain times may seem like a daunting task. Between transportation, lodging, and activities, you may be concerned about your safety and managing the logistics of your trip. To help ease the planning process, consider working with a trusted travel consultant.
A reliable consultant will be able to guide you toward the best trip for your budget and your unique needs. They will prioritize your health and safety, and advise you on where to go. Whether you’d like to tour South America or make your way through Europe, your travel agent will ensure you have everything you need for a safe and exciting trip.
While you still might not be able to travel at the moment, now’s the perfect time to start planning for your next trip. Use these tips to help guide you through the process, so you’re best prepared when travel returns to normal.
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