Sometimes it’s difficult to imagine life after COVID-19. Although the worst of the crisis has now passed in many countries, case numbers are still rising in others. Until there’s a widely available vaccine, countries are likely to see a periodical resurgence of the virus. So, with many countries opening up to international travel once more, how can we travel safely once the worst of the pandemic has passed, but some lingering risk of catching the virus still remains?
Travelling can make us anxious at the best of times. A study from before the pandemic showed that 35% of travellers were already worried about getting sick and having to cancel their trip – and these worries must be further amplified in the current climate. To help with this, here are some tips on what you need to do to travel safely after COVID-19.
Where will you go?
Countries have dealt with the pandemic in different ways and have been affected by it at different times. This will influence their restrictions and when they roll them out or reduce them – so be sure to research potential destinations. It may be that the pandemic has passed in your country for example, but that it’s still widespread in others.
There’s no point in researching and planning a trip if your country of choice has closed its borders, of course, so your choice of destination will likely be limited at first. Even once all countries have opened up their borders to international travellers again, some locations may be safer to visit than others. You will have to make a considered decision of the risks when choosing your destination. Even if the country you’re planning to visit has opened up its borders again, has it actually got control of the pandemic? Is it wise to travel there, or is it best to wait until the situation improves – or choose another destination altogether?
How will you travel?
If the pandemic has passed, but some risk of transmission still remains in the absence of a vaccine, then some modes of transport will be safer than others. Your own car will naturally be the best bet, as this will minimise your contact with other people. This also limits your travel options, however – if you want to go further afield, beyond your own country, then some form of public transport will probably be necessary.
Cramped interiors with little air flow are the ideal breeding ground for the virus, and a recent study from Japan has shown that you are 18 times more likely to catch the virus in a closed environment compared to an open-air environment. But if you do choose to travel by bus, plane, or train, then try to avoid peak times to allow for as much social distancing between passengers as possible. It may be that new guidelines are introduced that will make this easier – some airlines, for example, are planning to close some of the aisles in their aircraft.
The longer you stay in potentially contaminated environments, the higher your risk, so it’s best to limit your time spent using public transport as much as possible. It may be boring, but if you’re travelling by public transport then the safest destinations will therefore be those that are closest to home.
Pay extra attention to hygiene
Hygiene will still be an especially important consideration. If you are on public transport, touching surfaces and spending time among other people, then it is best to wear gloves if possible. This will minimise the risk of you touching your face accidentally, with potentially contaminated hands. If you cannot obtain gloves, then frequent hand washing is more important than ever – and even if you have been wearing gloves, you should still wash your hands after removing them. It’s a good idea to keep hand sanitizer with you, so that you will be able to keep your hands clean at all times.
The WHO also advises that masks are effective at stopping the spread of the virus, and in many countries they are now compulsory in a range of settings – including public transport. They are therefore an indispensable item that no traveller should be without.
Holiday at home
If all else fails, going on a holiday in your own country is an excellent option. You can still get all the buzz of exploring somewhere new, without the hassle of travelling abroad. If you have your own car, this has the added benefit of removing the risks associated with public transport. If the situation improves in your own country, while the picture in the rest of the world is still unclear, then a holiday at home remains your best bet of travelling safely.
By Ross Hansen – Hansen Ross Media