Since we were locked up in our respective locations for almost a year during 2020, we have learned to adjust to the pandemic and our new lifestyles. However, adjusting is one thing but forgetting about traveling is another. It is natural for us as humans to travel whether it is to lose ourselves, find ourselves, or simply get a break from the normal routine. Either way, the pandemic only stunted our travel growth but could not stifle it.
As many of us had hoped that 2021 would be our ‘break-out’ year, we understand that vaccinations are still rolling out, countries are experiencing third and fourth waves of the virus, and, overall, things are still not as open and easy as we would have liked. Regardless, many countries are opening up to more tourists and have at least the summer season planned as to what the protocol will be for those willing to make the journey. But, before you dust off your beach bag, make sure to do your homework prior to booking and avoid these mistakes below.
1. Packing too much
Do you really need to bring that extra jacket just in case you might need it? The answer is emphatically, “NO”! We are creatures of habit and if we have access to our stuff at home we tend to overestimate how much of that we need while traveling. This concept has always held true even before the pandemic and is arguably more important now during the pandemic.
For all of the reasons you can imagine, traveling light is beneficial but while COVID-19 is still a global issue, not being bogged down by extra weight and items will not only save you potential extra fees but also make it easier to maneuver around cues, crowds, and any impromptu changes to your plans. If you are looking to socially distance, it is physically much easier without large or extra bags and can even give you better transportation options, if available.
2. Ignoring travel insurance
Arguably one of the most important aspects is having quality medical and travel insurance. That said, it is clear enough as to why you would want to make sure you are covered not only from your current carrier but perhaps an additional policy that guarantees COVID-19-related coverage if something were to happen while abroad. There are many insurance companies dedicated to the traveler and also offering pandemic-specific policies. We have recently researched insurance companies for travelers and you can view our top 5 insurance providers here.
Not only is medical coverage essential these days but also travel coverage given that countries and companies are continually adjusting their pandemic protocols which means flights and hotels may not be available as they were when originally booked.
3. Not checking cancellation policies
Uncertainty is the most certain aspect of life these days and researching your cancellation policies for flights, accommodations, etc. is key to mitigate any unforeseen changes. Most, if not all, airlines and even hotels showcase their COVID-19 resource information on their websites and many have cancellation policies which are strictly related to COVD-19 but may not necessarily apply to other situations indirectly related to the pandemic. Therefore, read your policies carefully and ask questions if it is not clear because not all policies or programs will cover claims arising from COVID-19.
4. Forgetting to check visa requirements
Visa requirements have always been an item that must be checked prior to booking but now, however, the typical requirements you were accustomed to for the countries you may have traveled to dozens of times in the past have overhauled who can enter based on health criteria. This is a new thing and, whereas political criteria were the norm for establishing visa requirements, the pandemic has added a new layer and potentially restrictive policies for even the most historically welcoming nations.
5. Adding numerous countries to your itinerary
Pre-pandemic, creating an itinerary that is packed with as many countries as possible was considered a badge of honor. However, now it is wise to ‘dial back’ hopping from one country to another and try to stick to one country. The pandemic is still causing issues in many countries and as mentioned earlier, policies are changing and that includes accessing and exiting one country or another. The last thing you want is to get stuck in one country due to a new policy or issue with COVID-19 and be unable to make it to your other destinations or even home on time. This can potentially cost you more money, time, or something worse if it is in a place you preferred not to stay longer than anticipated.
This is your chance to focus on one destination and immerse yourself in all of the cultural aspects. You might be surprised at the impact you may have on the locals as well as the effect your experience may have on you. It is a different way we are traveling now and instead of longing for the past, embrace the present and keep moving forward.
For information on the best destinations and top locations for your travel needs, HotelsCurated will lead you to find your soon-to-be favorite spot.