“Travel is my therapy”.  Walks along the beach, a day hike in the mountains, a bike ride, if we allow the nature can recharge us in the best possible manner.

COVID-19 pandemic has compelled us to reconceptualised vacation travel. We are forced to reconsider where to go, how to get there, and the safety precautions we need to take. Exploring the foreign lands may not be on the cards, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy a getaway while protecting

After being boxed-in for so long, I probably couldn’t wait to feed my travel bug. But as I make plans for my holiday, I wanted to make sure that coronavirus should not affect my itinerary. Traveling during a pandemic required a more cautious approach than before, So, I tried to discover tips to minimize risks to stay safe by taking a proactive approach & be mindful of every possible encounter. 

The best option of travel which came to my mind was a small holiday of 3 nights 4 days at a nearby destination which I could drive on my own. I assumed that traveling by car during these times could be the safest mode of transport.  Opting a door-to-door trip was my motto. Usefulness of my own vehicle instead of public transport for the local excursions was one more advantage of taking a car.

Some precautions that I took before we hit the trail-

I disinfected my car completely. Wiped all high-touch parts like door handles, steering wheel, seats, seat belts, windows, gear box, etc. Hand sanitizer & antibacterial wipes were kept handy in the car so that we can wipe down everything and could clean our hands after each stop. I stocked up for some water bottles & quick dry snacks for my onward journey.

As suggested by a few doctors most transmission of respiratory viruses happens indoors, & No matter what the activity, being outdoors is always better than being cooped up inside. So, we avoided eating inside a restaurant for our lunch, where there were several other group of people to make it a crowded place. We picked up table that was outside. As we halted at a fuel station, I deliberately, avoided scrolling through my phone to avoid the risk of contamination.

While we were considering to stay at a hotel or a private vacation rental home or a villa, we had to make sure, that whatever we choose, we have to be cautious & follow social distancing & find out in advance everything about their new cleaning protocols, sanitizing routine, food served, etc. to keep ourselves safe. We wanted to opt for a place where air can circulate through open windows & room with a terrace or balcony. We checked out hotels with good quality air conditioning and proper filtration systems along with open window and a balcony or terrace. 

The rooms were thoroughly cleaned before we reached there, but we were carrying our own supplies to sanitize for additional comfort. Washing our hands time and again continued to be our ritual, along with wearing the mask.

All through our relaxing & leisure stay in the Mountains, we choose local activities that didn’t take us to any of the crowded places. We opted for walks, cycling and bike rides, early morning yoga in the open area of our rental villa. Watching the mesmerizing sunrise & the sunset both seemed magical & rejuvenating.

We returned to our home refreshed & safely following each and every rule that we had agreed on.

If, I am to list TO DO THINGS WHILE TRAVEL IN PANDEMIC, it would be as follows

  1. Always wear proper mask
  2. Don’t touch any part your face without washing hands.
  3. Wash your hands frequently, Instead of using sanitizer before eating food wash your hands thoroughly.
  4. Maintain social distancing.
  5. Don’t travel in big groups
  6. People with high risk of infection, such as senior citizens, people who are diabetic, or have any other major ailments, people who are vulnerable should avoid travelling.
  7. Do not travel if you are sick.
  8. Always carry sanitizers and anti-bacterial wipes 
  9. Use sanitizers whenever u have touched any new thing.
  10. Carry your own water bottle & snacks to avoid extra halts. Keep yourself hydrated.
  11.  Use public transport if it is inevitable that too without compromising on safety guidelines.
  12. Be extra cautious if you are using car pool. Sit on the backseat of the car, wear eye protection mask also to minimise the risk of infection or transmission as the space you will share will be very small. Some drivers have added partition between the front & the back seat, do some research before you book your travel.
  13. Keep minimum interaction with people on the way to avoid any transmission. Do not share other people’s food, drinks, magazines etc.
  14. Carry the sanitizer if you have to use any public toilet. Indian style of toilets could be more suitable during these times.
  15. Be well informed about the local rates of the covid virus at your starting and final destinations.
  16. Find out the covid guidelines provided by the government of your city, enroute requirement, guidelines of your destined place. A few places have the RT- PCR test mandatory. Find out if the local government require you to stay under home quarantine or state provided quarantine for 14 days. Keep the formalities up-to-date before you travel.
  17. Keep your Doctor’s contact phone number handy for any emergency
  18. Consider, the scenario if you get sick while travel, then what personal & professional obligations will be compromised.
  19. It is claimed that fully vaccinated travellers are less likely to spread & get the virus, & are at low risk. Although they require to wear masks on trains, planes, buses & all forms of public transport. So it’s advisable to make travel plans accordingly.
  20. Stay positive.

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