Travel restrictions are in place around the world to contain the spread of Covid-19 since the peak of the pandemic in February 2020. However, as countries around the world starts lifting COVID-19 restrictions and reopening their economy, travel is slowly gearing up again.
We can see it happening first in a few Europe countries such as Cyprus, France, Germany, Italy and Sweden, where they have opened their borders within the EU region. The Asia-Pacific countries have also begun discussions for cross-border travel and essential travel will take priority in a bid to help spur economic recovery.
Travel will come back but it will never be the same again, especially for air travel.
"We are living through one of those monumental times in history when the norm changes and humans will come to accept describing travel in terms of ‘before’ and ‘after’ Covid-19."
But how safe would you feel when you venture out to explore the world again, knowing that there are potentially encounters with people who might expose you to the virus? There are some precautions you can take to minimise the risk and we have consolidated a list of useful tips to help you ease your mind when international travel bans are lifted.
When Can We Travel Again?
From 8 June 2020, planes operating between Singapore and China will be carrying some of the first few passengers from the two nations. This is the first ‘fast lane’ initiative for Singapore, which allows for essential business and official travel between Singapore to six provinces in mainland China.
This latest scheme involves creating a Travel Bubble. What is that? Simply put, clusters of low-risk countries around the world are creating a 'travel bubble' or 'travel corridor', which basically allows people within the bubble to cross borders with no or minimal travel quarantine.
In Singapore’s case, travellers from China must be sponsored by either a Singaporean company or a government agency in Singapore and an application approval must be attained from the authorities for a SafeTravel Pass.
But, don’t get too excited. Leisure travel is still far away. Slowly, but surely.
Leisure travel will probably be one of the last few sectors to resume because we need other countries to open their international borders, airlines to relaunch flights, the local government to lax outgoing travel restrictions and travellers to gain confidence.
In the meantime, what we can do is to stay updated of any Singapore travel advisory. While we await your visit in the future, here are some tips that will help you to travel responsibly and prepare ourselves for a whole new world of travel.
Ease Your Mind With These Tips To Help You Travel During COVID-19
Practice Good Personal Hygiene & Cover Up
This might sound apparent but personal hygiene is strangely taken for granted. Not only does good personal hygiene protect you, it also creates a clean and safe environment for everyone.
So, always remember to wash your hands with soap before and after every meal, after visiting the washroom and when you sneeze or cough into a tissue.
Although you are on a vacation, the virus does not take a break.
Intensive cleaning and disinfection is now implemented in airports and planes but on the safe side, everyone should do our part to minimise the risk of contagion. Some airlines provide disinfectant wipes and hand sanitisers. But, just in case, do pack your own supplies and bring them on board with you.
It is also a wise choice to wear a face mask so to prevent transmission and protect your fellow travellers from being infected. Wear it at all times - in the airport, in the airplane, hotel lobbies and also in places that have a higher density of people in confined spaces such as in museums.
Stay Up-To-Date With Official Travel Advice
When travel restrictions loosen up internationally, the first step in planning any overseas trip is obviously to check the intended destination’s official Travel Advisory.
Do not refer to information from media sites or blogs because these might be outdated and inaccurate. Always visit official sources for the latest news and to be updated on the relevant health documents that are required to enter.
You would definitely not enjoy the process of being stuck in customs or being quarantined unnecessarily on a vacation.
For updates on Singapore health advisories, refer to www.moh.gov.sg
For border control measures, refer to www.ica.gov.sg
For advisories for visitors and tourism, refer to www.stb.gov.sg
When you are in-destination, researching on your itinerary beforehand is always helpful. And, it has never been more true than these challenging times. The debilitating coronavirus situation has caused many public attractions, parks and F&B outlets to change their operating hours or visitor requirements. Some, sadly, have even ceased operations.
To ensure that your travel plans are not disrupted, do check online for important details such as opening hours, their new operational capacity, social distancing rules and more.
Choose Your Accommodation Based On Their Hygiene Commitment
Since you are going to spend a considerable amount of time in the hotel room during your vacation, it would be highly recommended to spend some time researching on your choice of accommodation.
First up, check the website or social media page of any hotel / hostel / Airbnb you are considering to see how they are responding to COVID-19. Responsible accommodation providers would most likely state what precautionary measures they have taken to ensure the safety and well-being of their guests.
If the information is ambiguous, go ahead and ask them if their premises are cleaned according to public health guidelines. You have a right to know.
Also, since it is possible for the virus to survive on surfaces for up to 5 days (depending on the surface material and other factors), it would give you extra peace of mind to wipe down high-touch surfaces with disinfectant again. Just ask the hotel staff for some alcohol wipes or disinfectant spray, they would most likely be happy to oblige.
Avoid Huge Crowds, Especially Indoors
Studies have also shown that the risk of infection is higher in poorly ventilated and crowded areas because of sustained proximity. And, the risk of infection is lower outdoors because of a better flow of air and more space to avoid overcrowding.
So, the next time you embark on a post-covid vacation, be sure to include more outdoor attractions and places of interest. Nature-lovers will be happy advocates of this. Beside being able to better manage social distancing, there are also plenty of health benefits in being outside breathing in fresh air.
If you are not that keen on adventure and nature, there are other ways to minimise interaction with big crowds and reduce spending time indoors.
Some examples include dining at al fresco restaurants, visiting indoor attractions during off-peak hours, avoiding group activities that involve close interaction and checking out local spots that are off the mainstream tourist radar!
Buy Travel Insurance
It has been an overwhelming past few months for many travellers who are unable to get refunds against cancelled travel plans or compensation for Covid19-related travel mishaps. This has probably shaken the confidence of consumers in the insurance industry a little but in actual fact, this has always been the way for insurance companies.
"Travel insurance Does Not cover everything. If you didn't know that before the pandemic, you probably do now. "