Whether you normally travel for work or you’re just chomping at the bit to get away, you’ll want to consider how you will stay safe and healthy before planning your next adventure. Covid-19 travel bans are gradually being lifted and destinations are re-opening, and you’ll need to take precautions - and take them seriously - in making trip preparations.
It may be a while before major cruise lines sail or Europe welcomes Americans back. As if travel weren’t stressful enough with planning, packing and airport security, now we’re adding pandemic and health precautions to the list. If traveling for pleasure, your own tolerance for risk will determine your decision, but here are a few tips to weigh the pros and cons:
Medical Check: First, see your doctor to make sure you have no underlying conditions that would make travel a risk.
Destination: Next, study up on your destination. Are hotels and attractions open for visitors, particularly visitors from the U.S.? Is a mandatory quarantine rule in effect? What pre-screening will be required before entering the country or city?
Transportation: Consider how you will get to your destination. Driving with close family members domestically is the safest option. Pack sanitizer, your own food and beverages for the road, and a mask for everyone. If you’re traveling by public transportation or air, find out beforehand what’s involved in the way of security and health screening so you know what to expect. Avoid public interactions by bringing your own water and snacks, when possible, and don’t forget your mask. hand sanitizer, and disinfectant. For flights, train or bus, wipe down your seating area, tray table, arm rests. Wear your mask. If flying, avoid connecting flights where possible.
Hotels/B&B/Lodge: Check the hotel website for any new policies, procedures or restrictions in place. Ask how they are preparing for guests. Consider bringing along your own pillow. Just as with public transportation, use disinfectant wipes to sanitize everything you touch, and protect yourself with a mask and hand sanitizer, even if you trust the hotel to do a good job of cleaning. Avoid accommodations with shared or communal bathrooms.
Cruise: If mingling with 5,000 other passengers sends you into a panic attack, consider a smaller ship. A boutique cruise line, such as Viking Ocean, Azamara and Oceania offers a less crowded and more personal experience. An adventure cruise, such as UnCruise, will be mainly an outdoor, nature-oriented vacation with less than 70 people. A luxury river cruise, like AmaWaterways will glide you comfortably along the rivers of Europe, Asia and Africa with under 200 fellow guests to as few as 28 passengers, depending on ship and destination. Cruise lines, big and small alike, are not new to sanitizing their ships, and when ships set sail again, there may never be a more safe and healthy time for cruising. New screening procedures will be in place. Life on board will be very different, so be sure to check with your intended cruise line for its new policies before you book.
Consider Cancel-For-Any-Reason Insurance. Pandemics are not a covered reason for cancellation with most insurance policies. However, a policy that allows a cancellation for any reason may get you a full or partial refund if you should decide at the last minute that this trip isn’t for you. Consult with a insurance expert and read the policy to learn exactly what is and isn’t covered.
Wear the Mask. It goes without saying that masks may be required at hotels, aboard cruise ships, on flights and other public places, but even if they are not, wear one, in consideration of yourself and those around you. Avoid physical contact (hand shakes, hugs, etc.), and socially distance where possible.
Plan Now, Go Later. If the future looks uncertain or you decide that 2020 is completely off the table for travel, why not plan now for a trip is 2021 or even 2022. Most cruise lines, hotels and travel suppliers have extended final payment dates and relaxed their cancellation policies, giving you more flexibility and options.
Travel will return. Be optimistic and be ready!
By Janice Neves
CruiseCrazies Authorized Agent