Traveling in the age of COVID-19: a checklist for managing your fears

Understandably, traveling nowadays raises new fears and uneasiness that people didn’t encounter before.

However, in many ways, the travel industry has never been safer and whether it’s a hotel, tour company or airline, they want you—the consumer—to feel safe. As a result, they’re taking precautions so that you do feel safe. Safety is the new wellness movement.

There are ways to travel “fear-free” with or without the vaccine. Here is a checklist to manage your fears:

Manage Your Attention

When you feel jitters coming up or uncertainty, take a breath, center yourself and look at the ways you can travel safely. Even without a vaccine, you can take precautions and follow protocols to travel safely.

There’s been so much fear that understandably it can be hard to distinguish what’s rational and what is not. That’s where taking a few moments to settle and acknowledge your range of emotions can help you realize that you’re going to operate from what you know to be true and what actions you know you can take, versus acting out of fear.

And if you’re not ready yet, and the emotions and trepidation is just too much, that’s ok too. It’s still good to dream and envision yourself “getting away.” That will help you to “see” the light at the end of the tunnel.

For quelling uncertainty, utilize travel experts

Travel experts make a career of staying informed and providing travelers with complete information from A to Z. They want you to know that you will be safe and feel confident and want you to feel absolutely sure and safe about your plans especially when you put down a deposit.

Pick your travel buddies and create your own travel pod

Creating your own group is a way to create your own travel bubble or pod. It’s a great way to feel safe with the people around you.

Just like you do at home seeing the same people, travel with a group that you can feel safe with. Many tour operators, excursion companies and hotels are offering opportunities to book at a very affordable rate for a small group and make an existing small group trip private without paying for private prices.

And sometimes, if you garner eight people for example (which could be two families traveling together), you’ll receive some discounts and plus you’ll be with people you know and can make it a private vacation.

Noticing versus becoming

Fear has directed much of our actions during the past year and, of course, there continues to be reason to exercise caution. Remember that experiencing fear and or other emotions is an experience we’re having. Fear doesn’t represent what might actually be happening in a situation.

Be informed – Get the Facts

This is truly not so onerous. Once you understand that there are requirements, you know what you’ll need to comply with at the destination (and most likely it’s similar to living carefully here).

Take a look at websites such state department website for the country you might be traveling to, or the visitors website for the state that you’re visiting. It’s always a good idea to contact the hotel or accommodation to learn about their processes.

Implement your game plan

Conditions continue to be fluid so it’s a good idea just to know that you’re healthy by having a COVID-19 test 72 hours within travel and having documentation. Testing is readily available at travel destinations and easily accessible. Take the same precautions you do at home: bring masks and hand sanitizer and socially distance.

Travel insurance is a must

Even before the pandemic travel insurance was a good investment. Although trip interruption is usually a main reason we purchase travel insurance, honestly we’ve always recommended it because of medical coverage. Stuff happens. Peace of mind when traveling arises from knowing that your health and security are not at risk.

See a Similarity

When experiencing discomfort around someone (“why aren’t they wearing a mask?” or “she’s standing too close”) pause and consider what you have in common. On the simplest of levels see a similarity. We’re all human. Start there.

Who said that life is without risk? There are hazards all around us. Yet we’ve always kept living and moving forward. Now as the pandemic loosens its grip, we’ll do the same. Nothing stopping us from dipping our toe into bigger swimming pools, even an ocean and starting to consider travel once again.

Photo Amy Quinn, Headshot Amy Quinn, founder of Spirit Road Travel, is a travel expert and has been focused these past few months on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting people’s ability to travel. Her work has also uncovered an interesting outcome in regards to people’s current perception of travel and a search for more meaningful experiences.