Whether you’re a keen traveller, rarely travel or prefer to holiday once a year, travelling helps you have a sense of freedom from the usual humdrum of everyday life. It immerses you into a different culture with new sights, surroundings and great food.
The pandemic has put many of our travel plans on hold and now the big question is – how can we travel safely post-COVID? Or, what will the ‘new travel normal’ be like? Many of us are raring to go on our next holiday and to put your mind at ease, here are some of our best tips on how to travel safely post-COVID.
Feeling safe to travel again
Everyone is going to think differently about what’s safe and what isn’t, and how comfortable you feel with making the step to travel. This could mean, choosing a staycation over going abroad or visiting a country a short distance away. If you’re not fully comfortable travelling, despite what authorities say, it may be worth delaying your trip or moving it closer to home to allow you an escape but also to help you in enjoying it as much as possible. There’s no point stressing on your well-earned escape.
Buying travel insurance as soon as you book your trip
Buying travel insurance as soon as you book your trip should be your number one priority in any circumstance but especially, in regards to new travel restrictions and risks. The sooner you book your travel insurance, the sooner your travel insurance kicks in and you can use it. For example, if you’re delayed on the way to the airport or a relative passes away before you travel, with booking travel insurance early, there is cover (dependent on your policy) to help you recover costs in these types of circumstances.
Checking what you’re travel insurance policy covers
It’s always important to read your travel insurance policy to see what levels of cover you have and what you’re actually covered for on your trip, especially now, when things are still uncertain. Travel insurance is typically in place for medical coverage, but you’ll need to double check and read up on the cover in regards to COVID-19 (if you catch it when away or before your trip, causing you to cancel), trip disruption, denied boarding and any other circumstance you’d like to have insurance for.
Research the safety precautions of the country you’re visiting – restrictions and requirements
The ‘new normal’ for travel may look different from one country to the next and it all depends on whether you’re jetting off on your trip or if you’re heading on a staycation in the UK. Before your trip, take a look at restrictions and requirements that country or area may require – and plan how to abide by them. For instance, whether you have to wear a mask all the time in public or if you must quarantine on arrival. Also, keep in mind that restrictions may change whilst you’re away and your travel insurance policy will only cover you if you adhere to local guidance, laws and restrictions.
This leads us onto the possibility of getting tested. Post-COVID travel hopefully means this isn’t necessary but this is all dependant on where you’re going as some countries may ask you to have a negative test on arrival and if you do test positive, to isolate. Plan accordingly and have your test kit at the ready before you leave. We’ve partnered with PCR test providers RightAngled, who are offering an exclusive discount on at-home COVID tests before your trip.
Hotel hygiene and what to be aware of
The ‘new normal’ for hotels will be a little different to what you’re used to, prior to the pandemic. Hotels are making stricter and more-thorough cleaning procedures, implementing digital systems for check-ins and social distancing protocols will be underway to give guests a private but safe environment to stay. When you book your accommodation, be mindful and see what precautions have been put in place and see if they’re abiding safely.
Keeping safe on aeroplanes and at the airport
Viruses don’t spread easily on flights due to how the air circulates and the filtered air, however, that doesn’t mean it’s 100% safe, and when the plane is full, social distancing measures are hard to keep in place. Wear a mask, wipe down your surroundings on the flights and wash your hands before eating.
At the airport, digital systems have been put in place in terms of check in, boarding passes and there are many other precautions to prevent travellers from constantly moving around their belongings through security.
Packing accordingly for your safety
Packing your suitcase may look slightly different than prior to the pandemic, and this all comes down to how you need to be prepared. Ensure you have masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes – and travel insurance documentation to hand.
The new COVID vaccination roll out can mean the protection from COVID-19 is becoming more widespread, and this is uncertain how it’ll effect travel, at time of writing. However, before you travel or when you book your trip, check if a vaccination is required before you head to that destination or not.
Considerations for travellers at additional risk
Nobody is ‘safe’ from catching COVID, even if they’re completely healthy, however those with underlying health conditions are at increased risk for severe illness. Before you travel, speak to your doctor to see what they’d recommend and tips they have to ensure you travel as safely as possible.
Staying safe in your new destination
Staying safe when travelling is more important than ever but for a different reason. It’s important to put into practice everything you have been back home during the pandemic; social distancing from people you don’t know, wearing masks when necessary, washing your hands thoroughly and wiping down items/commonly-touched surfaces. Have a mask or sanitizer with you at all times and if you or somebody you know shows symptoms when away, take the precautions of isolating to prevent the spread to others.
If you’re looking to travel soon, whether it’s a staycation or abroad, ensure to buy your travel insurance before you go.