Last updated January 26, 2023
With the world facing a pandemic this year, travel has come close to a halt. Trips were canceled and bucket lists were put on hold. But the world is slowly starting to move towards normality and many are now starting to travel again.
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For the foreseeable future, travel planning will likely look a little different to how it did last year. Travelers will certainly consider different factors when choosing a travel destination in order to stay safe and feel comfortable while still getting out and stretching those post-quarantine legs.
Travel is and will be a very personal choice. Not everyone is ready to travel amid a pandemic and that’s OK. But if you do decide to go soon or are planning for future travel—either locally or internationally—here are some crucial factors to consider when choosing a travel destination during the COVID-19 era.
Choosing a destination that takes safety seriously is likely to be a top priority for travelers. So, when thinking about a destination, do your research on what the local tourism industry is doing to keep people safe and what hotels are doing to abide by high safety standards. Some of these standards may include temperature checks, social distancing, sanitizing protocols and available amenities. Determine what’s important to you and make sure those items are addressed in your research.
Regulations, quarantine time periods, flights and tourism policies are changing now more than ever before. Everything can change between the time you booked your trip and your actual departure day. This can leave you you in a potentially tight spot, so make sure you understand cancellation and rebooking policies and try to remain as flexible as possible. While we really can’t control government regulations and quarantine periods, we can choose flights with airlines that boast the best cancellation policies and select hotels that issue full refunds in the event of a cancelation. Opting for a fully flexible way of traveling—such as by car—might be the best option at least for the next few months.
3. Destination Popularity
In today’s climate, you might want to hold off on those bucket list trips to famously crowded destinations. Choosing a less popular destination ensures fewer crowds and safer experiences. At the same time, considering population density at your proposed destination may be something to think about when choosing a safe travel option. For example, a trip to a small town or national park could be smarter than visiting New York City or Miami Beach.
4. Quarantine and Entry Requirements
When considering traveling internationally, one of the most important things to consider is quarantine requirements. These requirements vary from country to country. Before booking or even planning a trip in detail, find out if you need to quarantine at your destination and also if you’ll need to quarantine on your return. If a two-week quarantine on your return isn’t ideal then consider a new destination or travel domestically.
In many countries, you may also have to finance your own quarantine and/or COVID-19 tests. So if this isn’t within your budget you might want to reconsider. Many countries that have been opening to tourists recently require a negative COVID-19 test, temperature checks and even travel insurance.
With the pandemic far from being eradicated, many countries haven’t yet opened their borders for international tourism and visa applications have been put on hold. In other instances, countries have even gone as far as banning travelers from highly infected areas. Border regulations are always changing at this uncertain time so it’s best to check before booking an international trip.
Driving and using your own private vehicle is without doubt one of the best and safest ways to travel at the moment. Given this, you may want to choose a destination that’s easily reachable from your home by car. This ensures that you don’t have to worry about the cancellation of flights, quarantine times, providing negative COVID-19 tests or travel insurance. Driving to your destination can prove to be a much more hassle-free experience for most.
7. Airline safety
If you need or want to fly to get to your next travel destination, another factor to consider is airline safety. Currently, airline policies and approaches to safety and social distancing on planes vary widely. Some airlines are blocking out the middle seat while others aren’t. Cancelations, refund policies and flight prices differ too. Before booking a flight check what each airline is doing to stop the spread and read their cancellation policy carefully. Is it possible to get a full refund in the event of a cancelled flight?
8. How Well the Destination is Containing the Virus
Countries around the world are dealing with the pandemic varyingly and with different results. When planning to visit a new destination find out how well they coped with the pandemic and most importantly how many active cases there are now. The lower the number of active cases, the safer you might be.
9. Insurance Coverage
Does your travel insurance provider cover you in case of you falling ill in another country? Many countries will ask for proof of valid travel/health insurance on arrival so make sure your policy includes COVID-19 hospitalization. In some cases, if you are found to have the virus on arrival you will be asked to stay and to quarantine. Being fully covered is definitely a wise decision.
Are You Traveling Soon?
We want to know! Are you planning a vacation in the near future? If so, where are you going? What kind of destinations are you seeking? How are you getting there? We are interested in knowing how our travelers are planning for the future and what you will be doing. Many of these conversations are happening on our Instagram and Facebook pages as well—we hope you’ll join us!