We might not have realized it immediately, but as the global Covid-19 crisis has unfolded, it’s become increasingly evident that travel won’t be the same for a while. Travel, for any reason, is discouraged.
The CDC explicitly states that travel increases your risk of contracting and transmitting the coronavirus. Not only that, traveling at a time when so many people are dealing with uncertainty and suffering in their lives could be viewed as somewhat insensitive.
But on the other hand, everybody can relate to the feeling of each day being Groundhog Day. The loss of travel means a lack of new and interesting experiences. Maybe you’re sick of sitting at home and wearing athleisure to Zoom meetings, while that Arc’teryx men’s ski jacket in your closet is begging to be worn this coming winter.
It’s possible to travel even in the age of the pandemic. But if you want to make the most of the experience, there are some things to keep in mind.
The pandemic hasn’t gone away, not by a long shot. Vaccines are still in the trial stage, at best. Even if an effective vaccine comes out in 2021, it might not be immediately available to the public. That means Covid-19 will still be a part of the global travel picture for some time.
Despite this grim but realistic projection, many countries have started to open up their borders and ease international travel restrictions. This is based on two major factors: the need for economic stimulus and relative control over the local situation concerning the spread of the coronavirus.
Of course, there will be rolling updates as each country’s scenario can change over time. But this does open up several new destinations to your forthcoming travel plans.
What can you expect when you head on an international trip these days? For starters, most countries will require some combination of a negative test result before arrival or self-isolation upon arrival. And the same can be expected upon returning to your home country.
Some countries also require detailed information regarding your place of stay and overall itinerary to help with contact tracing measures. And your choice of accommodation might be restricted to pre-approved hotels or those with a limited number of bookings.
Keeping it domestic
Since the threat of Covid-19 can linger over the world for some time, these safety measures aren’t going away. In fact, they can become a new standard for international travel, similar to how 9/11 changed airport security.
If all that sounds like too much of a hassle to deal with, then you can always resort to traveling within the US for now. Certainly, some states are currently implementing travel restrictions, and those can change over time. But the ability to head somewhere in a car or RV can help limit your exposure considerably by reducing both frequency and duration of interaction with other people.
You can even skip the restrictions entirely by staying within the confines of your home state. In fact, this is arguably the best time to start exploring local attractions or discovering lesser-known places of interest. With fewer people going out and about, the experience will still be different and interesting.
The ultimate luxury
Slowly, people around the world are coming to grips with the new reality. We’ve learned not to expect a miracle cure, but we’ve also found out that total lockdown spells disaster for any economy. This has led to the gradual easing of mobility restrictions and allows us a small window of opportunity to travel again while observing reasonable precautions.
That said, there’s one more thing to keep in mind if you decide to head out for a vacation amid the pandemic. Travel is perhaps the ultimate luxury in the current climate.
The Great Recession was a wake-up call for the wealthy to cut back on displays of extravagant consumption. It led to a growing trend in discreet wealth, with experiential purchases like travel among the preferred new forms of luxury spending.
You can’t contract Covid-19 if you self-isolate at home. When you travel, even if you follow all the guidelines, the risk of transmission might be small, but it’s greater than zero. And if the purpose of travel is non-essential, you’re bound to meet with some form of social disapproval.
That’s something to think about, even if your heart is set on traveling right now. You deserve to enjoy these experiences. So do many other people who don’t have the opportunity. Keep it discreet, and at least you won’t be adding status pressure on top of the general anxiety people face.