While we all know the world has changed dramatically in the last year, we still seem to have a keen interest in travelling again as soon as we can. It’s just something we all know we want to do and from the people I've spoken to including our customers, staff and contacts throughout the industry, the pent up desire to get out and about is at the front of everyone’s mind. Albeit with some new questions, a little trepidation and in extreme cases, yes fear. All totally understandable.
As the Managing Director of a Surf Travel Company and because I’ve done a lot of travelling (up to 48 countries and counting) I frequently get asked what I think will be different and what people should consider when planning their next holiday. So, I’ve laid out some ideas and insights below to help with any planning or even any questions you might have to hopefully remove any concerns.
Here are the top 5 things to consider when planning a holiday in a COVID world:
Choose experienced travel companies and hotels with a clear COVID management policy and one that articulates what to expect. Carry spare masks yourself to ensure you don’t get caught out as you will feel that much more comfortable if you know you have your own personal mask if you end up being somewhere you are required to wear one.
Plan a holiday with lots of outside time, with exercise, fresh air and sunshine. There is quite a bit of general evidence emerging that the presence of Vitamin D in the human body (which is a vitamin that supports a healthy immune system) really helps combat the level of illness and severity of symptoms if you are unlucky to be exposed to COVID. Fresh air and sunshine build vitamin D in your body, so get out there and get your 10-20mins of sun a day and more if you can do it.
Choose an experience that doesn’t involve a lot of time in doors and in closed environments. This goes along with point 2 above, and combined, they really will help you build a healthy demeanour and ensure a healthy holiday. Add to this a high quality accomodation provider, that ensures high standards of cleanliness and you will be fine. One thing that might drop off in demand from what I can see, is the budget accomodation side of the travel industry, as it really is safer to work with well reviewed and experienced operators where you can trust what you are walking into.
Expect that some things we used to take for granted won’t be 'the norm' in future and try not to be too concerned by this. The travel industry has seen major change over the decades and although this one is a big one, generally experiences will continue to evolve for the better. So, expect airports and public transport to have restrictions around mask wearing and number of patrons, expect tour groups to be small (which is a great thing), some bars and restaurants and even tourist attractions to restrict visiting times and number of visits for a while to come. So, my advice is plan these things well in advance, book well ahead so you can be up to speed and across what you can expect before you get there, that way you won’t be disappointed or miss out on anything.
Don’t be nervous about getting out and travelling again and try not to be anxious about the ‘new travel’ normal. Great holidays are still available especially in Australia, where the vastness of what’s on offer continues to amaze me. If you adopt a sensible approach and follow some simple guidelines, you will end up probably healthier and happier than ever. So, pack your bags and get on out there!
Belinda Bradford Managing Director, Surf Getaways