The “New Normal”: How To Start Travelling Safely Again

With the coronavirus pandemic still affecting many countries around the world, travel along with many other activities, has not been a priority for me. It can still be daunting to make any big vacation plans if you’re unsure on how to travel safely. Especially when rules and restrictions still vary country to country.

But with lockdowns and most restrictions now lifted, the possibility of travel is now within reach again! At least in the UK, where the government has scrapped the traffic light system* which restricted many destinations open for travel. And the rules on quarantine have also been eased.

But it’s still so confusing! I’ve put together some handy tips and resources to help you plan your next adventure and give you tips on how to travel safely.

*this was accurate as of timing of publishing.

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Plan Ahead

It goes without saying, you need to plan for the worst and hope for the best. I say this because, despite being as organised as possible – you may still find yourself needing to change your plans last minute. This could be due to an unexpected positive covid test, or your plane or train getting cancelled.

When it comes to planning, you should also think twice about what you pack. I’m talking masks! You might just be thinking about which bikini to dig out of your closet, but don’t forget that all important face covering. Although most places in the UK not officially requiring face masks or coverings, there are still countries that enforce this in some public places. So make sure you stock up and have these handy when you travel.

For the most up to date travel information for the UK, visit the official government website.

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You should also check whether there are local covid passes (or passports) you will need to apply for ahead of your trip. Some destinations have covid passes that they will require you to provide in order to be able to travel within the country, as well as enter particular public locations including restaurants, cafes, and bars. If you’re from the UK, most of these are compatible with the NHS covid pass and can be in digital format to store on your phone. So be sure to check out these requirements for the destination you are travelling to.

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Test, Then Test Again

Testing is going to be a key part of your travel plans. Unfortunately there’s no getting away from it. Whether you are double vaxxed or not, you will still need to take a test at some point during your trip.

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In most cases, you may still need to submit a negative PCR test in order to travel. Make sure to book these well ahead of time and ensure you are able to receive the results in the appropriate time frame for your travels. There are many options available for these tests, and you can choose to visit a site where they do the test for you, or choose a home test if you prefer.

Another tip is to try and pack some lateral flow tests for your trip. This way, if you are ever feeling unwell or want to double-check you are still negative, you can do this whilst on your trip.

Limit Your Social Activities Prior to Travel

The best way to avoid getting caught out with covid before a big trip, is to limit your chances of getting it! Try to avoid going out and socialising as much as possible the week before you travel. The less you interact with others outside of your household, the less risk you have of catching covid. You could even minimise interaction by working from home if this is possible.

An even simpler way is to just remain vigilant with social distancing, and keep a 2-feet distance between yourself and anyone else. And of course, mask up when in public spaces.

Have a Back-up Plan

Even with the best laid plans, somethings things don’t always pan out the way you want. Prepare yourself for unexpected issues during your travel to minimise disruption for your trip. Consider adding a day or two in between landing and traveling to other destinations to allow for any time required for last minute covid tests. You should also research options available for quarantining, in the case that you may need to.

A great tip is to ensure you have also looked up cancellation and refund policies. In the case that you do have to cancel or postpone your travel, you are not left out of pocket. This can be tricky as not all travel insurance providers will cover for covid-related issues. But you can still check this before booking any hotels or flights, to ensure that there is a suitable refund or re-booking option.

Try a Little Closer to Home…

If you’re still not ready to take the leap back into international travel – why not try a staycation? There will likely be a number of beautiful destinations in your own home country that you might not have discovered yet.

Views of the river Cam in Cambridge UK

Unless you’re in a landlocked location, your nearest beach might only be a few hours drive. Or perhaps a gorgeous countryside cottage getaway with the dog is an option? An added bonus is that you are helping local and home-grown businesses thrive and come out of the pandemic.

Are you planning any international vacations soon? Have any tips to share? Let me know in the comments!

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