The coronavirus crisis has brought world tourism to a complete halt. People were forced to remain at home for safety reasons brought in due to the outbreak of the pandemic. However, things have eased now, and the restrictions are lifted in most regions worldwide. The crisis has awakened the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) who called for a responsible recovery of the tourism sector.
The recovery program highlights some pointers that can help the tourism industry recover from the challenges of the coronavirus. It is an initiative taken to ensure the complete safety of tourists and travelers. However, it is not only them who need to be responsible. As tourists, even we need to ensure awareness and travel safely and responsibly. But how to do that? Here’s how:
You already had to plan a lot to travel even before the pandemic hit us. But today, you need to put in extra effort to ensure safety on your trip. The below list enlists some crucial tips that will help you understand what traveling responsibly means.
1. Travel with your own vehicle
If you are taking a flight, that’s an entirely different story, but if you travel via road, ensure taking your vehicle. Although many public transport providers sanitize their vehicles, it is still best not to take the risk. When you travel with your vehicle, you take the control into your own hands. This means you can stop, clean, and sanitize your car anytime and anywhere.
If you don’t have a private vehicle, you can leverage rental services. If you don’t have a car that can accommodate all the trip members, use van rentals. The vehicle will not be yours, but you still get the freedom to clean and sanitize it.
2. Research ahead of time
You are used to researching the best destinations. You might have also searched for the best restaurants at a particular location. But the research standards have completely changed now. Alongside the destination and restaurants, you also need to research the number of coronavirus cases. If your community or the destination is experiencing a high number of Covid-19 instances, it is not a good option to travel.
Similar to the cases, you also need to look for hotels and restaurants that practice safety regulations. The most primary safety regulations include wearing masks, sanitizing the place, and ensuring hygiene, among others. Take services from only those who abide by these guidelines.
3. Follow the guidelines
Every government and community has a set of both international and domestic travel guidelines. These guidelines are in place to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Hence, you must follow all the regulations. This is the biggest factor to consider to travel responsibly. Here, being responsible means ensuring your as well as others’ safety.
It is also advised to get tested before traveling. You might have to do this twice, once within 48 hours before you travel and once after the arrival at your destination. Also, some regions ask travelers to quarantine themselves for anywhere around 10-14 days. Thus, traveling can also lead to additional time and costs. Hence, it is advised to travel only if you can afford the extra time and money.
4. Pack the essentials
You might have got confused about which jeans to pack and which one to leave behind. But that’s not the situation anymore. Now, you need to worry about other essentials, including cotton masks, sanitizer bottles, gloves, etc.
Appropriate use of masks and sanitizers can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Hence, it is better to carry multiple masks rather than being sorry about it. It will also help if you can carry hand washing liquid sachets. Thus, you need to put all the safety essentials ahead of your clothing and accessories.
5. Be open to changes
Even if your destination had mentioned numerous guidelines for travel, they might change within no time. Not just that, even the flights may get canceled. Staying flexible will help you take different approaches based on the situation and adapt quickly.
You can stay committed to your end decisions, but be open to different approaches. For instance, if your flight is canceled at the last moment, and there is an option to travel via road, you need to take the opportunity.
Traveling is the last thing you need to plan during the pandemic. However, if you need refreshment, it is advised to plan something small and local. Postpone your major plans. But if you are like me and want to travel a lot, it is essential to do that responsibly. Follow the tips mentioned above, and you will be good to hit the roads and travel to your favorite destination.
Bonnie is always on the road with some amazing adventures ahead. Her favorite continent is South America and she’s passionate about culture-focused traveling and ethical and sustainable tourism. During her time in university as a research assistant for a sociology professor, she realized she can’t fully understand cultures from a safe distance. She quit her job to become a full-time “voluntourist,” which brings her to places where she can immerse in local communities and support their causes. On top of writing, one of Bonnie’s priorities is offering women advice on how to stay safe while solo backpacking.