It’s probably the worst time for Covid-19 to hit.
Much like many young adults around the world, this is the year I graduate from student life and enter the workforce. Companies around the world imposing draconian hiring freezes have seen me forlornly closing many LinkedIn tabs. My hopes for an elaborate graduation trip dashed, or so I think.
I know I’m not alone in my concerns. Should I be cancelling my travel plans? Put my life on hold? How do we move forward from this? There’s no point crying over spilt milk. Now’s the time to learn to deal with this situation.
Interestingly, having interviewed peers my age – many of them are optimistic and unfazed.
The sentiment mainly rides on the “we’re young; therefore, we can beat it” attitude. They’ll still travel, just not to places slapped with a travel advisory. They’re not afraid of contracting the virus themselves but worry about passing it on to their parents or elderly relatives. It’s the older generation that seems to be more cautious and is holding off on all travel.
If you’re one of those with your boarding pass at hand or can’t bring yourself to press the blasphemous “Yes, I wish to cancel” button on your bookings, here’s what you can do to stay safe.
Be aware of different travel restrictions
Before you fly, make sure to check on travel restrictions. There are three types, first, a blanket ban, where a foreign country denies entry to all citizens of a specific country. Then there’s entry but subject to quarantine upon arrival for up to 14 days and lastly, entry upon clearing medical screenings.
As the situation is continually evolving, restrictions can change daily. If you don’t want to be a passenger on a turnaround flight, make sure you know these at the back of your hands.
Be flexible with your travel plans
If you do want to travel, stick with airlines that offer a flexible cancellation or rebooking policies. The airline industry has been one of the hardest hit during the pandemic, leaving passengers stranded as flights can be cancelled minutes before departure.
Consider purchasing travel insurance that can help lessen the blow of such cases.
Hand sanitizer is your best friend
It’s time to add another staple item to “what’s in my travel bag” videos. An alcohol-based sanitizer is your holy grail. I can’t emphasize this enough. It would help if you carried a mini bottle on hand that is at least 60% alcohol.
When on an airplane, wipe down “high-touch” surfaces like tray tables, armrests, and video monitors. Wearing a mask is only useful in combination with frequent hand-washing – humming the latest pop hit in your head for 20 seconds might help time to pass faster.
Know how to seek consular assistance overseas
You may have come across news reports of tourists being violently attacked in foreign countries based on the colour of their skin, for fears that they are “carrying the virus.” Discrimination is not a problem to be solved in a day.
Still, e-registering with your consulate or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Singaporeans would allow the government to contact and provide assistance in times of an emergency overseas.
What if I don’t want to step onto an airplane?
That’s not to say if you don’t feel comfortable about stepping onto a flight, you have to coop yourself up at home. Not all hope is lost. With the virus changing what it means to travel today, perhaps it’s time to start rediscovering your city or country.
What better time to check out that new restaurant or local attraction you’ve been putting off. When’s the last time you visited your local zoo or theme park?
Staycations or nearby domestic trips are something you could turn to at this time. You’ll easily find great deals at this time as well, as the hospitality industry attempts to weather the crisis.
If an actual trip is more appealing to you, Wego’s weekend getaway feature will help you plan short and sweet trips that can quench your wanderlust.
Will Covid-19 change how and whether we travel? Ultimately, the decision is a personal one. There is no right answer, only recommendations that govern our travel today.
We should embrace experiences, even if it means reevaluating your definition of travel away from far-flung exotic locations, toward something closer to home but equally rewarding.