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5 ways travel has changed since the Coronavirus pandemic
Posted on 13/09/2020

SocietyUnited Kingdom

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Over the span of a couple of months, our world has been turned upside down. The pandemic has altered numerous aspects of our daily lives, and has especially affected the way we travel. As countries, all over the world, have opened up again - people have taken the opportunity to finally break free from their confinement and breathe in a different environment. However, it's not the same as it used to be and here are a few ways that leisure travel has changed since the pandemic.

Destination preferences

Destination preferences
Iurii Kovalenko/123RF

What used to excite us, has now become a daunting task. Travelling requires an even more meticulous approach and many travel enthusiasts have begun to take careful steps that will ensure a safe but enjoyable vacation. International travel is still a far-fetched dream, especially if you want to travel for leisure. When many countries have a list of requirements for travellers, including self-quarantine, going abroad seems pointless. Instead, travellers are taking the time to discover the countries that they're living in. Domestic travel seems far more accessible, whether it's by car, train or bus and there are always some beautiful locations to visit that are just a couple hours away.

Another vacation trend that is surging since the pandemic is outdoor holidays. Whether you're travelling as a family, a couple or all alone, an outdoor vacation seems like the best way to go. Travellers are taking advantage of the gorgeous landscapes of their countries by planning picnics near lakes, camping in the nearby mountains, or just escaping on a quiet staycation an hour away from home. This way they're not stuck wearing a mask all day and can breathe in the fresh air they've been craving.

Social etiquette

One of the joys of travelling is getting to interact with fellow travellers, and with the locals, but this is something that we now have to handle with caution. The invisibility of this virus has made us weary of everyone and with social distancing in place, making new friends is a risk many of us choose to avoid. However, social interactions are inevitable when you're travelling, since you may be meeting your homestay host or taken to your room by a concierge. Nevertheless, keep your distance, and remember - no handshakes. You'll also have to prepare yourself to wait in some long queues to get into venues and to have lengthy waiting times for the tours that you've booked. So if you find yourself in a park or on a beach, place yourself a couple meters away from the next group. These are some small but effective ways to guarantee that you're keeping yourself and everyone else around you as safe as possible.

Travel gear

You're probably used to packing up your camera, some sunblock and flattering summer clothes to take pictures in for your holiday. No one's stopping you, but don't forget your new travel essentials that you'll be completely lost without.

We know you've seen this everywhere, and it's not something you will not forget - but pack plenty of facemasks because you'll have to use them all day long. If you're visiting indoor sites, or even when there's a hefty crowd outdoors, the masks will come in handy and trust us when we say this - if you forget it, a dozen dirty looks will definitely remind you. Breathing isn't as effortless when you're wearing a mask, and it's even harder when you find yourself in a warmer location, but we hope that you choose a destination that is strikingly stunning so that it makes everything worthwhile.

Hygiene should always be a priority when you're travelling, but there's no room to slip up. When you're on holiday during the pandemic, your sanitizer will become your best friend - even if it makes your hands dry. Every venue you go to, every monument or shop you visit, will ask you to sanitize your hand before you enter and it's best to sanitize when you leave as well.

Dining experience

A vacation feels empty without indulging on excellent food and, don't worry, you can still try out the local cuisine. However, there are a few changes to your dining experience that will leave you feeling a little out of place. Restaurants have been focusing on providing as many outdoor seating options as possible, and the indoor dining area is laid out to be more spacious. Many restaurants have also placed dividers between seating arrangements to isolate the tables further. You will be requested to wear your mask while finding a table, but once you've been seated you can take it off and enjoy your meal in peace. It'll be strange to see the waiters and waitresses all wearing masks, and communicating with them will be slightly harder, but that is something that we all need to get used to. And don't forget to put the mask back on if you're visiting the loo!

Transportation

Despite transportation running as it was before, we find a lot of travellers opting to travel by car instead of airplanes, trains and buses - and for all the right reasons. As most people spend their holidays in domestic destinations, it is the easiest option. Luckily for us, the past few years have brought us alternative methods of transportation to help us get around. Popular tourist destinations have been increasing accessibility to bikes and electric scooters - and they luckily did this just in time for the pandemic. These alternatives mean that you no longer have to depend on using buses, trains and trams to navigate through the city. However, that doesn't mean that people are no longer using them. In fact, depending on the places you're visiting, you'll find that it's as crowded as it was pre-pandemic - but since it's compulsory for everyone to wear a mask inside, it is also a safe way to travel.

Now if you absolutely have to fly to your destination, it's a different story and the chances are, it's not going to be that easy. Most countries are still iffy on letting people inside, and you're going to need a really good reason to fly - a holiday is probably not going to make the cut. If you find yourself flying to another country, for any reason do take all the appropriate precautions and follow the self-quarantine mandates given by the government.

For countless years, we took this luxury of travel for granted and it's going to be a while untill we can travel spontaneously again to our bucket list destinations. For now, whether you're travelling locally, or crossing borders, we have a responsibility to take care of ourselves and the people around us. If we've learnt anything in the past few months, it's that we have the power to adapt with the times - so as we wait patiently for the borders to fully open, let's continue to explore the hidden beauties of our locality safely, but without compromising on the fun.