We just completed our first official pandemic vacation (review our itinerary for Puerto Vallarta, México here) and I definitely learned a few things about how travel has changed in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are a few simple tips to keep in mind when traveling in these strange times!
“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”John A. Shedd
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND
- Get a COVID-19 test: Yes, we know it’s a hassle, but it’s necessary. Both the U.S. and Canada require a negative test to re-enter (be sure to check which test is acceptable—rapid or a PCR). You can usually take the test up to 72 hours before your return flight. Your hotel can most likely arrange for a test to happen on-site for you, or they can also help you to research a local clinic.
- Mask up: Be prepared to wear a mask. Many countries and smaller towns haven’t reached their acceptable vaccination level yet. Have a mask at the ready for riding in a taxi cab, using the common areas in your hotel, or walking through a restaurant, etc. We opted to always wear a mask when entering a space and to simply let the staff instruct us otherwise. These are my very favorite masks—a super comfortable fit, washable, and room for a filter insert (bonus: they are designed by and support artists!).
- Ask questions: When booking activities don’t be afraid to ask about their COVID-19 policies; we took a snorkeling tour and learned that the gear was sanitized daily but that we could also purchase a new/unused snorkel for $5 if we felt more comfortable with that.
- Cap that water bottle: I’m still cautious about what items I put directly to my mouth, so having a water bottle with a cap was essential for me. Here’s a simple BPA-free water bottle that I enjoy and it’s reasonably priced so I don’t have to worry about losing it!
- Take it easy: Be sure to remember that people are still stressed out. Be patient with those in the service and hospitality industries; policies are either new or always changing. Everyone is doing their very best given the circumstances. If a server is struggling, reassure them that you are fine to wait. If someone doesn’t give you the right answer, it doesn’t mean that they are trying to lead you astray, rather it’s most likely that they simply just don’t know. As my grandmother always says, “It’s better to be kind than to be right”.
Have you been traveling during the pandemic? If you’ve got any helpful tips, please share them in the comments!