It’s been an interesting year, to say the least! But finally, it feels like businesses and communities are settling into new ways of operating. So, I want to help you plan travel safely during Covid-19.
I was fortunate enough to visit Slovenia for 5 weeks this Summer which was incredible! And I am keen to help you safely explore the globe too. Especially in these more trying times.
Keep your chin up and let me help you safely plan your next mini adventure!
1. Be flexible with dates
Firstly, I think it is important to remember that none of us knows what will happen next. Even the so-called “experts”. Therefore it is a good idea to be open and flexible with your travel dates.
I appreciate this can be difficult around work but being clear and open with your employer can help. We are all in the same situation after all so being honest and open goes a long way.
Even after booking a flight, it can change.
My original flight to Slovenia was cancelled 6 times, yes that is 6 times! But I was able to be flexible with dates so kept re-arranging and eventually ended up getting a 5-week summer holiday! For the same price as my original 2-week stay in cold Slovenian winter. So it can work out for the better.
Personally, I would book flights first when planning a trip. Hold off booking accommodation until nearer the time.
Most airlines need to inform you of any changes at least one week before you fly. That way you won’t incur any charges for accommodation changes if your flight does change.
2. Choose a destination closer to home
This is a great opportunity to explore nearby countries or even your own country which you may have previously overlooked.
Living in England is perfect as I was able to explore Europe rather than fly all the way to Asia!
To travel safely during Covid-19, it is much more comfortable on a shorter plane ride if you are close to home. Also, if there are any issues which arise like local lockdowns, it will be far easier and cheaper to get back home.
Those long haul trips can be saved for next year!
3. Do your research - quarantine rules
To travel safely during Covid-19, make sure to do your research. Both before deciding where you would like to go and before flying.
A great tip is to also look at neighbouring countries to the one you want to visit as this can help indicate what might happen next.
For example, Slovenia was green for ages but then Croatia went from green to orange to red and Slovenia shortly slipped into the red zone.
Guidelines are changing by the day so make sure to check out quarantine rules after you have booked your trip too.
A lot of countries have their own website dedicated to explaining the rules and procedures for visiting their country. Also, look out for any mandatory forms you need to fill out before arriving into a country. Easyjet does a really great job of providing lots of information around this.
If you live in the UK, check out gov.uk for all the info you need on travelling safely during Covid-19.
4. Consider staying longer in one country
If you are an avid traveller like me, you are probably used to exploring a number of different countries per trip.
However, having travelled during Covid-19, I would recommend choosing one country and spending more time there.
Usually, flights are the same price for a longer stay as a shorter one. As it is based on the dates travelling not the time spent in that country. Also, booking more nights in one place on websites such as Airbnb can save you money.
My original plan was to stay in Slovenia for 2 weeks and then travel neighbouring countries. But actually, I much preferred staying in Slovenia and exploring it fully.
We went on many day trips which were much cheaper and safer than travelling to more countries. Check out my blog on Best Day Trips in Slovenia for inspiration.
5. Choose a destination with fewer tourists
Another tip to travel safely during Covid-19 is to visit a country which is not so heavily populated with tourists.
It takes a bit more research to find the hidden gems. But some countries are not as dominated by tourists and are just as beautiful to visit.
Look at places which are not so close to the beaches or major cities. Staying more in the countryside or in a smaller town can be both safer and cheaper.
6. Book rental houses over hotel rooms
To travel safely during Covid-19, I would look for options to rent houses/apartments or rooms rather than hotel rooms.
Not only are you more likely to get better rates for renting a place for a month over paying nightly for a hotel. But also there are likely to be fewer people, especially if you rent a whole house/apartment therefore there is less risk of contamination.
Another benefit of this can be more flexibility in changing dates. Some hotels are more popular and so can book up quickly, making it difficult to change dates.
Speaking directly with the owner of the property and finding out their cancellation policy before booking is a wise investment of your time.
7. Look for rental cars or hiring a driver
Depending on which country you choose to travel to, you may have the option of renting a car or hiring a driver.
This helps you to travel safely during Covid-19 by limiting your use of public transport. It is also a much more comfortable way of getting around. Especially if you have booked accommodation which is a bit further away from the main cities.
In some Asian countries, it is very affordable to hire a driver for your trip. It is probably easiest to organise once you are in the country.
I usually organise a taxi from the airport through my accommodation ahead of the trip. Then if I like my driver I ask for their card and contact them directly.
We had the most lovely driver in Sri Lanka who collected my sister from the airport at 6am. And then waited an hour for us when we were delayed on a coach back to the airport. What a lifesaver!
Within Western countries, you can usually rent a car for a few weeks. If you have a UK driving licence you can easily get a licence which allows you to drive in the USA and Europe (while the UK is in the EU).
8. Book directly with the provider
I usually recommend this in general but during these uncertain times, I would highly recommend going direct.
Book your flights directly with the airline rather than choosing package deals. It may take a bit longer to book but it is worth it if anything changes.
For example, I booked my flight to Slovenia directly with Easyjet and so I had the option of getting a refund, changing my dates, or being given a voucher for future travel. However, these options were only available to me because I had booked directly with them.
Some third parties such as Booking.com do have very good, no-fee cancellation rooms so they also would be fine to book through.
I did have a planned trip to America this year where I had booked a hostel room via Booking.com but was able to cancel really easily and with no fees.
Just read the terms and conditions around cancellation policies before booking. Some companies even say in their T&Cs that any cancellation due to the coronavirus will not be valid. Many travel Insurance companies have added this to their T&Cs.
9. Save up extra money
From my own experience travelling during Covid-19, I would highly recommend saving up extra money before travelling. To ensure you have enough.
As I mentioned earlier, my trip went from a 2-week holiday to a 5-week trip so luckily I had enough money saved up to cover the extra costs of food and living.
Also, having extra money means you can safely and quickly get back home if needs be. You can easily afford a new flight ticket or change of accommodation.
Stay tuned for my next blog on Top Tips for Saving Money before Travelling.
10. Remember the essentials!
My last tip is quite an obvious one but very important to travel safely during Covid-19.
Remember to pack lots of masks for the airport, plane, trains, buses, taxis etc.
Even if travelling to a local country, it can still be a long day getting from door to door. You are required to wear a mask (in the UK) on all public transport including stations, the airport and onboard the flight.
So bring a few with you so you can change them throughout the journey for a more comfortable trip.
To help stay safe, I carry antibacterial gel with me and use the sanitary stations throughout the day. Especially before eating food.
Hope you have enjoyed my blog on How to Travel Safely During COVID-19, and I would love to hear your comments!
What are your top tips for travelling during these times? Have you been travelling anywhere this year? How did you find it?
Stay safe travelling and don’t be afraid to get back out there!
Happy travelling my friends 🙂
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