By Mark Bibby Jackson, TravelBeginsAt40.com
Many of us are keen to start travel internationally again for business, and also for a holiday we’ve missed out on over the last 18 months. But how can we stay as safe as possible given the ongoing pandemic? Clearly there are sensible, practical measures that can be taken. Let me share some tips in this regard.
Select your destination carefully
Choose the country you visit wisely. The reality is that you are more likely to become infected in certain parts of the world than others. Carry out some research on the rate of infection in the country you are considering visiting and whether this is rising or declining. Worldometer has kept track of Covid throughout the pandemic, and you can access data for each country here.
Get vaccinated against Covid
Ensure you are fully vaccinated before you travel. Some readers might be against vaccination – I myself am not a strong advocate of it for adults in normal circumstances, but there has been nothing normal about the past two years. For both your own health and those around you, please ensure that you have been inoculated against Covid at least 14 days before you travel. Some people are not eligible for vaccination. In which case there are certain precautions they – and everyone else – should take to ensure their travel is safe.
Being vaccinated may also influence where you can travel to with more countries basing their rules around those who have or have not been vaccinated.
Take care while travelling
While data taken last year indicated the risk of catching Covid on a plane was minimal it is sensible to take precautions. Wear masks throughout your flight and while at the airport. Maintain sensible social distancing measures where possible, especially when queuing. Take your time and give people space. After all you are on holiday so why not start to relax as soon as possible.
If you can, avoid crowded transport on your way to and from the airport.
Take care booking your accommodation
You want to be sure you’ll be staying somewhere that has taken all the necessary cleaning and hygiene steps. Most hotels have introduced stringent hygiene regulations to counteract Covid. These can easily be found on their websites, or you can enquire via email. Currently accommodation providers around the world are crying out for customers, ensure that yours has done all they can to minimise the risk of the spread of Covid on their property.
Take sensible precautions
Although part of the appeal of travelling is to get away from your normal routine, during a pandemic it makes sense to take some of your everyday precautions with you. Wear a mask whenever you are in public spaces, transport, restaurants, bars etc. Pack sufficient masks with you for your travel, as well as antiseptic wipes and hand sanitisers. Wash your hands carefully before and after you visit any place. Eat healthily. The same golden rules that have protected you during the last 18 months of the pandemic will also keep you safe on your travels.
Avoid the crowds
None of the above is more important than avoiding close contact with people.
Walk or cycle as much as possible while on holiday. Not only does this limit the chances of you contracting Covid, but it is also good for you. Wherever possible choose to dine al fresco – barbecue on the beach or picnic in the mountains – and if indoors seek places that are well-ventilated and have stringent Covid regulations.
Insure against all eventualities
Unfortunately, however careful you are in planning your trip you cannot foresee all circumstances, which is where travel insurance comes in. Check that your insurance covers both evacuation and repatriation, and ensure that you are covered for treatment at an international standard hospital. If your destination of choice lacks such facilities, then perhaps you should reconsider your trip. When travelling in Europe the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) will not cover all scenarios, so bolster this with appropriate travel insurance.
Make the most of your trip
If you take these sensible precautions, then there is no reason why you should be at a greater risk of catching Covid while abroad than at home. Indeed, with rising Covid infection rates in the UK you might well be a lot safer. Plan ahead, take sensible precautions and relax. You can then get the most from your business trip and even take some extra time for a short holiday. A change of scene will be good for you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Bibby Jackson is passionate about travel and sharing the joys of visiting new places and people. He is founder and group editor of websites Travel Begins at 40 and London Begins at 40, as well as the award-winning author of three thrillers set in Cambodia. He is the former editor of AsiaLIFE Cambodia, ASEAN Forum and Horizon Thailand magazines.
Facebook / Instagram: @TravelBeginsat40