I am a traveller, always been, always will be. I, personally, am sick and tired of hearing bad news about travelling, mostly related to COVID-19. Don’t get me wrong! I am careful about my health and that of those around me. I respect the regulations imposed by the governments, but also I really belive that there is still life for travellers in the pandemics.
This is an article that I postponed for far too long, in the normal, optimistic thinking, that this will pass!. We are now facing a second wave – which, by the way, was obvious that was coming – and are also facing the fact that travelling is a way of life. I need to travel almost as much as I need breathing. Ok, I am exaggerating, a little – or maybe not – I don’t know! I have been travelling as a way o being for so long.
Anyway, you’ll find, along the way, some tips and tricks that you may find useful during your vacations, picked up from Mihai’s and my experiences in these troubled times. Three things – that’s it – three things to keep in mind when travelling in the pandemics.
Sure, you may say, but if I travel abroad I have to stay in quarantine for 2 weeks, so it’s not worth it. Agree! This is one of the issues, but do not treat it as being an insurmountable wall. Actually, mindset is the most important part of going about this. Do you know those people that see clouds and fear the rain, forgetting to see the beauty of the sunrise? Yeah! Don’t do that! If you think the vacation will be ruined by, let’s say the pandemics, it will most certainly be.
Coming back to travelling – abroad and domestic; being informed is the second most important aspect of travelling. Be careful about fake news, word of mouth and hearsay. If you go abroad, get information from official sources: ministry websites, governmental portals, etc. about the regulations, restrictions and what you need to go there. Also, keep in mind that there is also a risk that a quarantine may be imposed without further notice – so, prepare your home for being your workplace for 2 weeks if you come back and have to do so. Wishful thinking doesn’t help when you want to be very well prepared.
Some countries ask you to have a negative test with you and wear the mask. Maybe you’ll say “what good is it if I’m tested negative and am the only one wearing a mask, let’s say, in Prague, and nobody else is doing it and also nobody checked my test” (true story, by the way!). Well, again, the mindset; think about it like this – when you return from the Czech Republic and the numbers spike there – you protected yourself and also your family.
Making a plan is number three
It is impossible to make a bullet proof plan! But use Pareto 80-20 – minimum effort, maximum impact.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of time planning every detail – get council – I recommend local guides because they are very connected to the local community; but please choose quality, not quantity.
Like I already said – make a plan for returning and, in the worst case scenario, being quarantined for 2 weeks. I know there are worse instances, but at that time you’ll be in professional care – so don’t worry, because you can’t control it.
When booking accommodation don’t book the cheapest ones that are not refundable (it could happen that the staff gets sick and they need to shut down for a while). Also search for alternatives and recheck with the front desk before leaving. I even have an emergency kit in the trunk of the car – just in case. I was once caught in a blizzard and the kit was useful (water, sleeping bag, canned food, warm clothes, etc.).
Turn to professional guides; in these troubled times it is great to hire somebody that can take you around the crowded places. Guides are obligated to note down your contact to keep a record of people they meet. Same goes with restaurants; the first time I was asked for my phone number there was a cute waitress and I was a little bit confused; it took me a while to get it, but I prefer receiving a call that I should quarantine instead of spreading something that I do not know I have.
Disinfect! Disinfect! Disinfect! Wash your hands, wear the protections (mask, gloves, etc) accordingly, disinfect, change clothes when you go back to the accommodation. It seems little, but it’s all about the numbers. Less risk! My father always insisted on these sort of things when I was little and now I do not really mind them.
Plan as much outdoor activities as you can – if you need to stay indoors, avoid crowded places. I like nature and believed it would be less crowded. This year it was a mess – everywhere you could drive there were many people; so I had to be resourceful. If you do not know where to go, get council. Many people are really keen on helping, especially if you pay them.
Keep a track of people you meet and travel in small groups – this is obvious, but it’s difficult. When we travel, usually many people want to come. Safety in fewer numbers! It’s actually against the natural way.
The list could continue – and reading it back seems a little grim. But again, what’s the difference between a sunset and a sunset in pandemics? Is a city more beautiful if people don’t wear masks? It’s the mind! Actually, touristic cities are great to visit now – less crowds. Remember the pictures in Pissa? Yeah! Now you can find a way to take a picture at the Leaning Tower almost alone.
It is clear that tourism will not be the same again! Excursions with a full bus, even if they were cheaper, they were lacking personality – and also safety in terms of pandemics. I think small tour groups with dedicated guides are more efficient and more effective in protecting ourselves.
Is it a little more difficult to travel now? Yes! Is it impossible? Only if we think it is! So, do what you want to do, but remember that my liberty ends where yours begins. And remember:
Travelling is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.
PS: Since it started in Europe I actually travelled more than in the same period of last year.
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