How to Stay Conscious While Traveling During a Pandemic

Now that more and more destinations are re-opening their doors to tourism this summer, fall, or winter, all of you travel lovers feel it coming again. That travel bug. That little voice in your head saying, no, screaming: I want to travel!
As seen in my previous interview about the future of travel, it will look a whole lot different. Unfortunately, since we’re still in a pandemic, there are many things to be considered prior to boarding on your next flight to the first re-opened touristic destination. So not click on “confirm booking” yet, not without these travel tips and hacks.

Why Travel Now?

What Is the Real Reason?

First of all, take a look at why you want to travel now. Why do you want to leave the country? Why do you want to go on a trip? We all have deeper meanings buried under our prior motivations, so feel free to ask yourself the same questions a couple of times: Why?

For many, this can be: an escape from home. Seeking a silent, calm place. Maybe you have had enough tranquility at home and you want to spread your wings and seek adventure. Or maybe, you’ve had to endure a lot during this time and you just want to cool off and blow off some steam somewhere on a tropical location sipping margarita’s under a beach umbrella, without your screaming kids running around the place. We all have our different motives, so take a moment to decide on that.

Make Your Trip Great

Intention Is Key

Setting an intention for your next trip is key to making sure you know what your want and you will get what you want. If you just book the first destination that re-opens, but it doesn’t give you what you want, you’ll end up getting disappointed and not fulfilled.

Next, you’ll want to think abut what you want to get out of your trip. Again, is it peace? Is it adventure?

When you set an intention on what you want to get out of your trip, it’ll be much easier to stay in that frame and really have a great vacation that gives you what you need.

Choose The Right Place

Jot down a couple of destinations that come to your mind first when you think about your next trip (you know, the ones you’ve been daydreaming about and seeing daily in your Instagram-feed), and think about what activities or surroundings you want to be in.

Do you feel like hiking? Or do you want to go to the beach? If you’ve read about a destination that is re-opening their doors soon and you’re eager to visit it, you can try this in reverse: will this place fulfil my needs? Greece is opening their doors mid-July. Which island would be best for you? Since there are so many, they each have their own culture and character. It’s important to not get caught up in an impulsive deal just because you’re so excited to travel again.

Think about the consequences

For Yourself

Take health and safety measurements

Make sure to carry enough face masks, gloves, hand sanitiser, etc. You never know when you might need extra ones on your trips. And normally, yes, you should have access to them everywhere in the world by now, but you never know when these items could be sold out in the nearest pharmacies or supermarkets. I’m not saying you should bulk up – please don’t -, but just make you have enough at least make it to your hotel.

Also, think about your mental health: do you feel good about soon traveling again? Are you ready for it? Do you realise the risks, and health and safety precautions you have to take? And are you willing to do this? Seeing the world so empty and abandoned, walking around with a face mask and stepping into this new reality can feel overwhelming. Take a moment to check in with yourself and decide whether or not you’re ready for this.

For Our World

Research Your Destination

Follow any mandatory requirements 

This is super important: no matter where you go, make sure to look up the local health and safety precautions. Not only of the destination itself, but of your journey towards it, too. It most airports, it’s mandatory to wear a facemask. Make sure you’re prepared for this, even though if you’re traveling to an abandoned place and won’t need a face mask.

Tink about purchasing a travel health insurance so you’re covered in all cases. First, check with your normal health or travel insurance plans and see if they are already covering this.

For Others

Take precautions and keep yourself to the rules regulate by the local government. This starts the moment you leave your home.

Don’t be scared to talk to people: you can still have interesting connections and meetings while on holiday. Keep your distance and mask on at all times to protect not only yourself, but people you come in contact with as well.

Remind yourself it’s about the physical part of social distancing, not social distancing itself. Don’t be afraid to start a conversation with someone. Just because you’re both wearing face masks and keeping distance, doesn’t mean you can’t communicate with each other. We are still human beings who needs to connect with each other, and that’s a wonderful thing we should never stop doing.

For the Environment

Now that we stopped producing, ravelling and polluting, the earth is cleaner than ever before and is healing. Be conscious of the way you travel: can you travel by a more eco-friendly way, such as a train? Some airlines offer to recompense your ecologica footprint and with a small contribution, you can help them recover the damage of pollution.

Start Planning

Stay Up-To-Date

Take a look at what destinations have re-opened or will re-open soon. This is, of course, a crucial part of your travel planning. Grab your list of destinations you wanted to visit and see if any one of them has already communicated their opening date.

Travel Deals, Travel Deals Everywhere!

Make use of the flexible cancellations policies, waived fees and low prices before they go up again. Maybe you had a cancelled trip and you received a voucher: this is your perfect shot to get back your money’s value!

Airlines

Make use of the flight deals, hotel deals and other vacation deals while they last. A lot of travel companies. Check out this link for an overview of worldwide airline deals.

Star Alliance, which has 26 airline loyalty programs to offer, has made this page to check out all the Coronavirus updates of each airline member program.

Hotels & More

Here are some hotel chains that have updated their loyalty programs or extended their cancellation policies:

IHG (Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Intercontinental,…): extended cancellation policies, a new rate and the ability to upgrade faster to a higher teer level and keep your points valid longer than usual

Miles & More: mileage bargains, in addition to alternative ways to earn and redeem your Miles

Marriott: extended cancellation policies for all guests

Hyatt: flexible cancellation an extension of their member programs for all members globally

Tip: if you’re not sure on traveling yet, but you want to start saving loyalty points, you can always check out the credit card services of these loyalty programs. Often, you earn a monthly amount of points when you spend a certain monthly amount with the credit card. That way, you can shop from home and start saving up for your next trip.

Be Gentle With Yourself & Others

Travel is a tool we use to relax, to grow, to connect, to experience, to taste, to wonder, to go outside our comfort zones. The longing for travel is in our human nature. 

As this time is unseen, it can be very difficult for some. Keep in touch with yourself by journalling through your travels: write down everything that’s on your mind, no matter how small or how big.

Count On Your Support System

Ask someone to be your support system when things get rough 

Whenever you feel uncertain, anxious, of frightened by the situation, rely on your support system. Ask for the help of your close and loved ones to support you and guide you whenever you might feel like it.

Count On A Professional

We all need someone who motivates us, who encourages us, who supports us, no matter what.

A certified life coach, or license therapist or a type of counselor can help you with that.

In these uncertain times, it’s natural and logical we are in need of some vacation. It’s important to set your intention for this new trip and to be clear with yourself on what it really is you are looking for. That way, you make the best out of your getaway. Next, it’s always crucial to follow health and safety precautions, wherever you go. Take advantage of travel deals, waived cancellation fees, and lowered prices now that it’s still ongoing. And finally, count on a support system to be there for you when things get rough. It’s normal to feel lots of different things now, and it’s even more important to deal with them on a healthy way.

Traveling is a wonderful treat you can give to yourself and others. Going on an adventure or discovering a new destination never gets old. In many cases, you may already know which destination to go to. We all have that “dream destination” in our minds. But maybe you don’t. And then what? How do you know which destination is perfect for you to travel to? How do you know which destination suits you best?

Let me provide you with some tips that help you choosing your perfect travel destination, so you can enjoy your holiday to the fullest. We’ll figure your perfect destination out, together, using the W-W-W-W-H method (Who-What-When-Where-How). If you specify these points, you’ll get a lot closer to pinning down that place on the map.

Who would you like to bring on this trip? (Who)

In order to find your perfect travel destination, you have to make a decision about who is traveling with you. Is it nobody? Perfect, less hassle, more independence for you. Are you traveling with friends? Sit with each other and discuss the others needs, wants and availability. Are you traveling with family? Idem.

Communication is really important in the process of planning a vacation, and it is uttermost important that you discuss important factors with your fellow travelers. Even small details, like a preferred airline or accomodation type, can change your entire getaway. If you’re having difficulties finding time to travel in a group or even with yourself, then check out my tips on how to make time to travel.

What do you want to get out of this vacation? (What)

What is your main reason for traveling? Maybe you want to discover a new culture, city or language. Or you’re more the adventurous type that likes to go into nature, pack your backpack and go hiking for a bit. Maybe you want to relax and lay at the beach all day. or maybe, you’re the type that likes to get both out of a vacation: go to an interesting place and relax. Yin and yang, as they say.

If you decided this for yourself, than you’re making your quest for the perfect travel destination a whole lot easier. Do some research about the best beaches, for example, or the best hiking trails or cultural cities. Write them all down.

Which climate do you feel most comfortable in? (Where)

After you made this list, you can specify more by selecting the proper climate. This is a really important one and it requires some research. Because no matter when you go to a certain country or city, their climate can be a whole lot different than yours.

Do you want a sunny location? If yes, what is the maximum temperature that you could handle? If you’re going hiking in the mountains, what is the minimum temperature that you’d like to find yourself in?

Always prepared about any changes that this climate can bring, such as diseases or insects that can harm you.

After deciding on which climate you would like to find yourself in – cold, tropical, moderate,etc. – remove the destinations from your list that do not meet this requirement.

Which period would be best suitable for you to travel in? (When)

This is a really important filter. The date. You should check with different parties to have the perfect period to travel in. Is anybody traveling with you? When are their days off? Or are you traveling solo, and are you looking to find time to travel? Another helpful source is my previous blog make time to travel, where you find tips and tricks to pin down that travel date.

After checking off possible date(s), see which destination would be suitable to visit during this period. For example, if you want to go hiking on a trail or go to a beach that is closed during that time, you might want to find another destination. Cross out the destinations that are not suitable for your availability.

How would you like to travel? (How)

Last but not least: transport. How do you like to travel? Catching flights is my favorite. Get comfy in an airplane, put on that airplane mode, have some me-time, get served food and drinks, and fly with your favorite airline. There’s nothing better than a nice flight to start your trip with.

But maybe you don’t like flying, or the flights are overpriced, or the people you are traveling with are afraid of flying.

Whatever the reason may be, there are so many transport options these days. Bus, train, car, boat, you name it. If you want to do some island hopping but you don’t want to fly in and out or take the ferry all the time, you can consider a cruise.

If you’re planning on doing the yin and yang vacation (beach and city), a car may be a good idea, so you can drive to places you would like to visit and you have the freedom to visit any beach in your surroundings. If you’re traveling solo and you want to do a full city trip, public transport is your go-to!

Take your list of destinations with you and investigate on how to get there. If it’s overseas and you’re afraid of flying, check out alternates like cruises or an overnight boat. There are so many ways to travel nowadays. Find your way and make the best out of it!

The most important thing is to follow your heart. If you have a dream destination in mind, go for it. If not, the world is so big, I’m sure you’ll find the perfect travel destination for you after applying the W-W-W-W-H method. Save travels, adventurer!

Traveling. Getting on that airplane. Catching flights. Breathing in a new culture and country. That fulfilling feeling of adventure and jumping into the unknown.

Many of us love to travel. Especially if you’re reading this. I see you! The difficult things about going on a holiday? Budget and time. If you’re struggling with planning a vacation within a budget, read my tips here. If you’re struggling with finding time to travel, keep on reading then!

Make Yourself A Priority

Start at the beginning. Who wants to travel? You? Or your friend(s)? Or a spouse or family member?

If it’s just you and you are waiting on somebody to make time to join you on your trip, then leave that. Just plan your trip, since you want to travel so badly. Take a look at your budget, the flight tickets and availability of your desired accommodation. Next, compare it to your vacation days. When can you take a weekend/week/month off? The same goes for when you are the plus one. If you notice your friend really wants to go to a place and you don’t have the time/money/motivation to go with them, let them know. For the sake of all travelers out there, don’t keep us waiting.

The more, the merrier

If you are planning on going on a trip with somebody or a group, but you are struggling to plan dates, here’s what to do next. Firstly, ask around when everybody can take off to go on holiday, if somebody already used all their vacation days or they have a busy job and they have a strict schedule, ask them to request days off in advance and plan your trip later. If you really want the person to come with you, first make sure you’re all on the same line and with the same availability. Next, discuss a budget, and put it all together in one account.

Side note: I recommend to use Revolut. It’s an online bank where you can create a credit card in a second and opt to use a vault. Everybody can put money the credit card and put it in the vault or on the current account. Then, when you are traveling, pay all the common expenses with this card so it’s fairly divided.

It comes in extremely handy when you are traveling because it gives you the best currency rate possible. Plus, they offer a travel insurance that was better than my original one! I used Revolut for all my trips and I am a happy customer. And no, they didn’t ask me to write this.  

If you’re more of the “we’ll see what happens”, you can opt for an app that divides everything you spent. But you will divide it later on, so somebody will have to take the big bill into account first.

Maximize Your Vacation Days

As I already mentioned, vacation days are an important factor if you are looking for time to travel. Maybe you don’t have time in the weekend to go on a trip. I get that. But play it smart then. Plan you vacation days in advance and get everything out of it.

Take a look at the upcoming bank holidays. If there’s a holiday on a Friday, plan the Thursday. Like this, you put one vacation days and you win four days. Hello, city trip!

If there’s a holiday on a Thursday, same rules applies. Get that Friday and enjoy your 4 days off. Or put the Wednesday and Friday and enjoy 5 days off while only losing two days. It’s all about being smart!

Plan Beforehand 

If you are wanting to go on a big trip of a month or two weeks and you are struggling with finding time, don’t panic. It’s all about planning. A big trip like this has to be planned in advance.

Firstly, make sure you have flights available on those dates and you have enough budget for it. If you really want to go to a certain Airbnb, hotel, hostel, etc.: also check that availability. Because since it’s for a longer period of time, it’s less evident to guarantee an availability for the whole period.

Secondly, request a holiday for that period. Since you’re planning it way in advance, it shouldn’t be a problem. Plus, you get the flight tickets at a normal rate and not at a higher rate close to the departure date.

And finally, don’t forget the important details about your trip. Vaccinations, a visa, a credit card, travel gadgets; you will thank your future self for planning in advance and being prepared. You can read all about preparations and gadgets that will help you here.

And there you go, off to your next destination. I’m so proud of you. Fly, discover, live, enjoy.