As we start to see the loosening of restrictions in the wake of Covid-19, more and more people are looking to travel again, whether this be internationally or domestically.
For many of us the opportunity to travel has been long awaited and is the suitcase shaped light at the end of what has been a very long and dark tunnel. However, we mustn’t be lulled into a false sense that things are ‘back to normal’ we are still very far from this and our approach to travel needs to adapt in order to ensure we keep ourselves and others safe whilst scratching our travel itch!
Below you will some find packing essentials and travel tips to help as we all navigate this new territory.
1. Face Mask
The first one is (hopefully) a no-brainer. According to scientific evidence wearing a face covering may reduce the spread of Coronavirus. So it’s important that you have yours packed to wear in public places whilst travelling.
Different rules apply in different countries but generally most transport providers will not let you travel without a mask and many carry fines for breaking this rule. So this is a pretty essential travel item!
I would always recommend packing two, just in in case you misplace one.
2. Hand Sanitiser
Door handles, Stair rails, elevator buttons, seat belts… the number of potentially contaminated articles you may touch during your travels goes on.
Keep yourself safe by carrying a travel sized hand sanitiser so you can regularly disinfect your hands.
These are particularly useful when you’re out and about and do not have easy access to soap and water.
3. Anti-Bacterial Wipes
When we travel, we will be using a number of items which will have been used by other people.
For example, a restaurant table, hotel phone, bicycle.
Whilst we hope these will have been thoroughly cleaned between uses, carrying a small pack of disinfectant wipes means you can give items a once over before and after using both for your piece of mind and to help keep others safe too!
4. Reusable Straw
Reusable straws have two great benefits.
Firstly, it’s great for the environment and reduces waste.
Secondly, carrying your own straw means you can sip a drink from any restaurant, cafe or store without worrying about if there may be any infectious agents on the rim.
Considering that when we eat and drink we are placing objects directly to our mouth, this is a pretty easy way to contract any unwanted viruses so packing some reusable straws is a great way to stay safe!
5. New Pen
When we travel we often have to complete various different paper work, whether that be checking into a hotel, completing immigration forms or hiring a car.
It’s unlikely that you will travel without having to sign your signature at least once.
Typically businesses will have a pen or pens at the front of house which will be used by all customers.
Due to this pens can harbour a lot of bacteria and act as a pretty nifty vehicle for passing germs from one person to another.
Packing a new pen will ensure that you always have one handy for such occasions!
6. Card not Cash
For many of us, exchanging our spending money for a big wodge of foreign currency will be somewhat of a holiday tradition.
However, due to Covid-19 many places no longer accept cash to limit the spread of the virus through the handling of notes and coins.
Therefore to ensure your hard earned spending money doesn’t go to waste make sure you keep most of it on your credit or debit card, or load your desired currency on a travel card.
Having said this, there are some places and services which will still operate on a cash only basis so I would recommend still carrying some cash.
As a rule of thumb carry 90% of your money on card and 10% in cash.
Travel Tips post Covid-19
Travel insurance is always important, but even more so under the current circumstances. If you are the type of person who goes to a travel insurance comparisson site and simply selects the cheapest insurance you could be caught out.
Before travelling make sure that your travel insurance covers Covid-19 related issues. According to Which Coronavirus travel insurance can be split into three categories:
- Those who will not cover any claims related to Coronavirus.
- Those who will only cover for medical claims if you contract the virus whilst abroad.
- Those who will cover for medical claims and cancellation. Generally, this means if your travel provider or hotel do not refund you if you’re unable to travel, you may be able to claim on your insurance.
It’s important to know which cover you have before travelling, so make sure you do your research and read the small print.
Check Entry Requirements
Due to coronavirus there is likely to be some additional paper work that you will need to complete before travelling. Many countries are now requesting travellers complete travel documents before arrival. For example, at the time of writing this blog post, Spain have a mandatory FCS health control form which every single passenger must complete before entering the country.
To ensure that your trip starts off smoothly, make sure you check the entry requirements of the country your visiting and complete any paperwork ahead of time – nobody wants a bad start to their holiday right?
Check the Rules In the Country you are visiting
As we will all be familiar from the news, each countries response to coronavirus has been different, with a varying degree of strictness across the globe.
Keeping this in mind, it’s important to know what the social distancing rules are for the country and region in which you are visiting. It may be the case that these are different to the rules you are used to.
Regularly Check FCO Guidance
FCO guidance on which countries are safe to travel to is changing regularly. Let’s take Spain for example, Spain was included on the travel corridor list at the beginning of July meaning travellers from the UK could travel to and from Spain without the need to quarantine. However, after a spike in cases, Spain was removed from the list at the end of July meaning those travelling to the UK from Spain would now have to self-isolate for 14 days on return to the UK.
Whilst inconvenient this can also invalidate insurance, so make sure that you are regularly checking FCO guidance (or your countries equivalent) in the weeks and days before you travel. For those living in the UK you can set up alerts on the FCO website for countries of interest to make it easy for you to stay up to date!
Book Free Cancellation
As the travel guidance changes rapidly and there is a possibility that new spikes in cases can mean that certain countries are no longer travel friendly, it’s important that we take all the precaustions we can to protect our money whilst travelling.
As mentioned above, this obviously starts with adequate insurance. However, where possible it is sensible to book any travel related services with free cancellation. This takes much of the hassle out of making an insurance claim should your trip be cancelled. Many hotels will now offer free cancellation 24 hours before check in, making use of these services will mitigate some of the risk around travelling at this time.
I hope some of these tips have been helpful, it’s an exciting time to be able to travel again. However, the main priority should always be the safety of yourselves and others.
I would love to hear your Covid-19 travel stories in the comments below!