The world has drastically changed in the past 24 months.
The pandemic has impacted every avenue of our life, but perhaps nothing is more affected than how we plan our holidays. And here I speak with a little bit of experience.
Let me take you back a bit; in January 2020, my friends and I booked a holiday to Europe in March that we had been planning for months. Unfortunately, India declared international lockdown on March 24th, one day before our scheduled departure.
To be fair to the government, they did give us time to alter our plans, with the news of the imposition of the lockdown looming for a whole week prior to the 24th. Here, by ‘alter’, I mean cancel.
And that was when I learnt my first lesson on holiday planning in the era of Covid-19.
All the bookings we had made for the European vacation were non-refundable. Cancellation of a non-refundable ticket under normal circumstances would result in one having to forfeit the entire ticket amount. But because here the cancellations were enforced by the state and the international state of affairs, we were not made to forfeit the booking amounts.
However, we weren’t refunded our money either. So I am writing to you with one open ticket, hotel reservations that expire in the next 30 days and the lessons this experience has taught me!
Here are all my tips for travel in the times of Covid:
1. Selecting the Destination
Ideally, we’d recommend a drivable destination. Still, assuming that you’ve already exhausted and travelled to all nearby places in the past two years, we recommend domestic travel over an international one.
Reason: With variants of the virus coming up now and then, getting stuck internationally can be a more painstaking and expensive ordeal in comparison to getting stuck within your own country.
If you still wish to travel internationally, opt for a neighbouring or nearby country like Sri Lanka or the Maldives.
But before you book any destination, make sure you know the Covid related stipulations valid at that time in the country/destination of your travel. For example, if you wish to travel to Mumbai, you can enjoy the various restaurants and delights the city has to offer; however, at the same time, there may be severe restrictions in Delhi. Similarly, some countries accept all vaccines, whereas some don’t; please take into account the vaccination you’ve taken and the current mandate on that vaccine in the travel destination of your choice.
Pro tip- It helps if you know someone living in the city; you can always reach out for help if you need to know anything real quick and In good authority.
2. Zeroing in on the Hotels
In a pre-covid era, we would’ve always recommended staying in the heart of the city that’s inevitably bustling with activity. Now we’d suggest the absolute opposite. Opt for a hotel or a resort that is a little away from the crowd and thereby a little safer too.
Try booking a resort that offers plenty of activities and amenities and is large enough to spend most of your time in should you not want to venture out into the city.
Whilst booking the hotel/resort, ask for an all-inclusive meal plan so that you needn’t worry about ordering in or going out for various meals.
Pro Tip: Since precaution comes first, ensure that your hotel staff is fully vaccinated before you book.
3. Choosing the Flights
Flights are a tricky proposition to get right in times like these. You don’t want to book a long-haul flight, so we recommend taking a flight with a stop or a halt in the middle that breaks the journey if your destination is far. You also don’t want to book a very crowded flight; for that, you should select a time of departure that most people wouldn’t be comfortable with, like a super early morning flight at 6 am or a late-night flight at midnight.
If you can, select an aisle or a window seat instead of the centre seat, and in case you’re travelling with friends or family, book the seats together in advance.
And lastly, book flights that are 100% refundable. They may cost a tad more, but it’s very worth it in case unforeseen circumstances arise.
Pro Tip: Avoid eating (and taking off your mask) on the flight, so remember to eat before you board.
4. Getting the Documentation Right
Where earlier we only needed to have printouts of our bookings (flights, hotels, tours, etc.) but now, as a side effect of the pandemic, having a vaccination certificate on hand is an absolute must as well, whether you’re travelling domestically or internationally. If printouts are too much to handle, have a folder of travel documents accessible on your mobile and remember to have your vaccination certificate saved among them.
That’s all from our side; now that we’ve shared our tips on travel in today’s times with you, we hope you can take our pointers into consideration and book yourself a fun-filled and exciting vacation. What tip would you add to our list?
And now that travel is open, which destination/ country would you like to visit next? Do tell us; we’ll have a ready reckoner of do’s and don’ts for you in no time!