Top 5 tips for safe Covid-19 travel

Oh the dreaded "C" word... There was a time BC, as in Before Covid-19, when most of us wouldn't think twice about hopping on a plane, train, and/or boat to discover amazing places on our planet.  We'd meet new people and shake hands or maybe even exchange kisses with strangers we had met and sit right next to them, while flashing unmasked smiles.

March 2020 brought these familiar acts to a slow and grinding halt.  As the Coronavirus disease literally hit home and spread across the globe destroying livelihoods and killing lives, it also caused devastating effects on the travel and tourism industry.  With that also the shattering effect on travel dreams that were about to be realized (including my own first trip to Argentina).

Luxury travel advisors like myself quickly sprang into action to research how the cascading cancellations of airlines, hotels, train and cruise companies affected our clients who were about to embark on journeys and those a bit farther out in the upcoming months and beyond.

Spring has sprung, Summer is nearing Fall, and we're experiencing ups & downs with little improvement in the Winter travel forecast.  But it's not all gloom and doom!  I'm here to share silver linings and possibly a rainbow with perhaps a pot of gold filled with lucky charms at the end.

As I write this, destinations currently open outside the United States and welcoming travelers include Turkey (no test, no quarantine, only a quick & easy visa - tempting isn't it?), Antigua (can you hear the clear azure aqua waves gently lapping?), and Mexico (mostly, depending on location).  Of the 32 Caribbean islands, only five are closed to all travelers at this time, including Belize, Cayman Islands, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, and Trinidad & Tobago.  The situation is very fluid, so it's best to check first with your travel advisor for the most up-to-date entry and testing advisories to avoid disappointment.

Now for the best part ~ 5 top science-backed tips to stay safe for you adventure-seekers ready, wiling, and able to travel during this pandemic:

  • Make a packing list to include cloth face masks; alcohol-based hand sanitizer (>60% alcohol); disinfectant wipes (>70% alcohol) for surfaces; thermometer.
  • Hotels now provide thorough, enhanced cleaning in all areas, contactless payment, and other safety protocols.  It's always best to request a room that has been vacant for at least 24 hours.
  • Airports have fewer open screening lanes (meaning arrive earlier at the airport) and new changes to the process. Most significantly, each traveler may have one container of hand sanitizer up to 12 ounces in a carry-on bag, to be removed for screening. Food items should be in a plastic bag and placed in a bin for screening.  Personal items (keys, wallets, phones) should be placed in carry-on bags instead of bins.
  • Airplanes are cleaner than ever.  In fact, because of how air circulates and is filtered on planes, most viruses don't spread easily on flights.  Intensive cleaning such as electrostatic disinfectants during pre-boarding have become the norm.  Crowded flights make social distancing more difficult, so wear your mask and maintain distance from fellow passengers.  Some airlines are requiring masks during the entire flights with hefty penalties up to banning and also keeping the middle seats empty.  
  • Cars if air travel is not for you, plan to make as few car stops as possible.  Pack cloth face masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes in an easily accessible spot.  Prepare food, including non-perishable items, and water.  When you need to get gas, use a disinfectant wipe (or paper towel at the pump in a pinch) on handles or buttons before you touch them. 

Bon voyage & safe travels!