5 important things to consider when travelling during a pandemic

5  important things to consider when travelling during a pandemic

Happy Friday all!


Is it just me or are you also getting itchy feet? You know that holiday-feeling that creeps up mid-November? The one where you start imagining yourself on a tropical beach somewhere sipping on a cocktail you can’t pronounce the name of? Or perhaps, you start remembering what it feels like to complain about the disastrous legroom on a Kenya Airways flight and you are warmed at the balance of irritation and excitement that travel usually comes with?


Not to worry, this is very on-brand for November. Especially a 2020 November where we are all just in need of a holiday from planet earth. However, travel plans are going to look very different this year for a number of different people. In case you haven’t noticed we are still very much dealing with a global pandemic that has greatly impacted travel and border operations. While we caution people to stay home and practice social distancing, we also recognise that some of you may still want to take a break and explore. 


If the latter is you, here are 6 things we urge you to consider when travelling during a pandemic:


  1. Travel guidelines


This is so important to do. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, the pandemic is extremely unpredictable and each country is doing the best they can with what they have. Considering that a facet of the pandemic is  controlling the movement of people, it’s crucial that you conduct enough research on your travel destination to ensure that you will not be met by surprise lockdowns, denial of access, or be demanded to produce documents that you do not have. 


  1. Pack essentials bag


Like I said, travel during the pandemic is quite risky, so it’s important that you pack for an emergency. In fact, pack with the intention that you might get locked in said country. Cases in each country are going up and down, and governments and health practitioners are dealing with the pandemic on a day-to-day basis. That means that surprise lockdowns, curfews and border closures could happen during your trip. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to be stuck in Cuba, Mexico, Thailand or wherever without your prescription medicine, epi pen, or anything essential.  Make a list of things you cannot do without for 3 months or more and pack them just in case.


  1. Do you have enough money to sustain being stuck in said country


Remaining on the topic of  potential border closures, do you have enough money to sustain you should you get locked in say, Mexico, Cuba, Thailand, Singapore? It’s all fun and games when you’ve budgeted for a weeklong vacation to a tropical destination. However, it’s misery and tears when that country has closed its border for the next two months and hotel prices are 200US(KES. 20,000) a night. With one quick google, you’ll find horror stories of stuck travellers paying through their teeth because borders closed and they couldn’t go home. The unpredictability of the pandemic is costing a lot of people a lot of money and having an emergency fund is now more important than ever.  If you’re  choosing to travel, we recommend travelling with the understanding and financial preparation that you may have to budget for a month’s ‘holiday’ even if you’re just there for a week. 


  1. Travel insurance 


Read the fine print. Read the fine print. Read the fine print. 


The travel industry has taken a massive financial hit this year and many of them are not trying to sink further into the hole. While many travel insurance companies are not willing to cover non-essential travellers, some actually are under certain circumstances. If you do sign up for travel insurance with one of these companies, it’s important you read the fine print and financially prepare yourself for costs that are not covered.  Most insurance companies should cover urgent medical care and repatriation however, they may not cover cancelled hotel bookings and flights due to COVID-19, so it’s important that you check with your airline and hotel’s cancellation and refund policy before finalising a booking.  


  1. Be safe and keep others safe. 


As I’ve stressed, it is a global pandemic, so ideally, nobody should really be travelling but the reality is that people are. Just a reminder that while you may not have underlying symptoms, others may. So it’s important to practice social distancing and other health practices while travelling during this time. Be safe and keep others safe.


Hopefully these tips help you think more critically about travelling during this time!


That’s all for now, see you next week!


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