Is it the right time to travel again?

A man looking at the sky, wondering if it's the right time to travel
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COVID-19 has sure left us with consequences. The virus has had a serious impact on the world economy and the travel industry. However, after being stuck in their homes for months, more and more people are eager to travel somewhere. But, is it the right time to travel again? Let’s try to answer that question here and now.

A plane flying
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Preparation is crucial

Whenever you need to travel, you know that it’s important to get everything ready including your vehicle. But in these times, it’s even more important to be truly prepared, since the consequences could be more serious than before. For starters, your car needs to be ready for the whole trip. Next, you need to have masks, disinfectants, and gloves with you at all times. Also, carry some soap with you, so that you can wash your hands every once in a while. Remember that it’s better to follow the safety measures than to have your travel ruined by COVID-19 symptoms.

Choosing Travel Insurance

Now that Covid-19 is a part of our everyday lives, ConsumersAdvocate.org wanted to better comprehend how travel insurance works with this new “normal”. Their in-depth guide on the best travel insurance features a side by side comparison of multiple companies voted “best for” in different categories. The insurances were researched based on types of coverage, financial strength, pricing, reputation, and extra benefits like support lines and mobile apps (a must for future adventures!).

It’s important to highlight that with Covid-19 the Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) add-on is considered a must for cancellation coverage. As the name itself suggests, it functions as one of the extra add on’s that allows you to cancel for any reason. It is always important to consider your travel insurance alternatives so you can travel worry-free and focus on the fun.

Is it wiser to travel to a domestic location?

The USA has many great locations that you could visit, from the best beaches in America, to amazing and awe-inspiring national parks. But, since the cases of the coronavirus have been reported in every state, you should know that even domestic travel increases the chances of spreading the virus. While experts agree that traveling close to home to a less-crowded place poses a lower risk, keep in mind that even state-mandated travel restrictions vary, so you should check the official state travel website for more information. Here’s some of the latest information:

  • Hawaii is opening up for tourists with COVID-19 testing
  • In Florida, a two-week-long quarantine is necessary for visitors from certain states
  • In Maine, visitors with a negative COVID-19 test aren’t required to self-isolate

Different sets of rules

Every country has its own set of rules right now. So, you have to know exactly the country you’re traveling to and follow the most current guidelines. Here aresome of the rules that are in force at the moment:

  • Some European countries that are major travel destinations are still off-limits to U.S. tourists, so it’s not the right time to travel to Greece, France or Italy
  • Visitors to the UK are required to self-isolate for two weeks
  • Iceland is extending the restrictions for the US tourists until at least July 1
  • Non-essential travelers are banned from entering Canada, but permanent residents or citizens of Canada are allowed entry with  a two-week-long quarantine
  • The Bahamas reopened July 1, and it appears that they won’t require testing

Hotels in the U.S.

Hotels have been deemed essential businesses since the beginning of the pandemic. However, in some states, there were certain restrictions for hotels. For example, they weren’t permitted to welcome regular guests, but only pandemic-related guests, like medical staff, or non-critical patients. Now that hotels are returning back to normal, even with enhanced cleaning practices, it’s important to protect yourself as much as possible. Be sure to clean the surfaces like doorknobs, tables, and light switches.

Renting a car

Renting a car is a low-risk way to travel, compared to using public transport that puts the passengers at risk. However, while person-to-person contact poses a greater risk, you should remember that the virus can remain on certain surfaces for days. Also, research also shows that it can remain in the air for an hour or so. For this reason, while car rental companies are carefully cleaning vehicles, you should also remember to wipe down all surfaces and increase ventilation, just in case.

What about flying?

The CDC and other health authorities are saying that flying is a good option, as there is no high risk of infection on airplanes. With the drop in air travel, it’s much easier to keep the suggested six feet between passengers, or in other words, maintain social distancing. Additionally, almost all international planes have HEPA filters that clean the air. Of course, you should still clean your hands and the surfaces that you touch frequently, and wear a mask.

Woman putting on a face mask
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Is wearing a mask mandatory?

Most airports and airlines require people to wear a mask. You might have noticed that there has been a debate on whether wearing a mask truly provides the protections against infection or not. However, the CDC advises everyone to wear masks and to keep the proper distance. While masks might not provide full protection, wearing masks can significantly help reduce transmission of the virus. Research shows that wearing a mask prevents the infection from spreading person to person. Regardless of whether this is the right time to travel, the right way to do it is with a mask.

Should you avoid cruises?

There were many reported and confirmed cases among passengers on cruise ships. For that reason, the CDC has issued a warning that advises travelers to avoid cruises for a period of time, especially for high-risk groups. Besides, most cruise lines seem to be waiting until the middle of September to start with their voyages again.

Is it the right time to travel if you want to avoid any inconvenience?

During the pandemic, some people were stuck in foreign countries unable to get back home, cruise ships were unable to dock, flights were canceled by the hundreds, etc. After all, these are peculiar andchallenging times, and no one knows what to expect in the near future. So, if you want to avoid any potential inconvenience, it might be smart to avoid any traveling for now if you can.

Suggestion

If you don’t have to travel, but still want to, choose a safer alternative. You can go visit a national park with people you’re already in contact with, such as your family members. As long as you stay out of contact with other people and frequently-touched surfaces, your trip should be characterized as lower-risk.

Conclusion

So is it the right time to travel again? Well, it’s not the best time to travel, that’s for sure. But in case your trip is urgent or you’ve decided to return home after living abroad, it’s still doable. Just try to follow all the safety measures, as their purpose is to protect you as well as other people.

Tips for Staying Fit While You Travel

This Post Was Originally Published on the TuGo Travel Blog on July 9, 2019 by Mark Crone

Travelling is very much about breaking your normal routine, but it’s also important to keep up with your fitness and workouts. Whether you’re staying in hotels or higher-altitude spots like towers, leave the elevators behind and climb the stairs instead. Find restaurants within walking distance from your hotel, because a nice walk back to the hotel after a meal always feels great—especially through a park or nearby shoreline. Here are more ideas for staying fit while travelling:

1.Turn airline terminals into walking tracks

In all likelihood, you’ll do plenty of walking at the airport, from checking in, through security, then towards your gate. But rather than just sitting in front of your gate waiting to board the plane, why not explore the airport? You’ll discover shops, restaurants, artwork and more by going on a discovery walk. There’s plenty of time for sitting on the plane, and a walk around the terminal is good exercise (even more so if you’re wearing a Fit Bit!).

2. See the sights on foot

From the magnificent parks of London to the streets of Paris, there’s often no better way to take in the views, scents, and surprises of the local culture than on foot.

While you can find some great guidebooks, maps and apps to help, why not have a local take you on a tour and show you the neighbourhood favorites? On my last trip to Paris, I took a walking tour with Context Travel. Context is a network of specialists and scholars who act as private guides and lead small groups on walking tours through some of the world’s greatest cities. Tours include archaeology, art history, cuisine, history, urban planning, environmental science, and classics. The tour of Marais continued for almost 3 hours and included various stops in a market, a bakery, butcher shop, foie gras shop, cheese shop, wine and Armagnac shop and a chocolatier.

We certainly hit 10,000 steps, even though it didn’t feel like it. Organized walking tours are immersive and well worthwhile to make you feel like a local (and less like a tourist). If you can, take your tour within the first few days of your trip. You’ll get a better feel for the city, culture, local area and the places that you’ll want to return to later.

3. Plan at least one activity everyday

Is the morning full of standing in shops and art museums? After lunch, change it up with some destination-specific activities. If you’re in unfamiliar territory, your concierge will point you in the right direction and to some safe pedestrian routes. Experience what the region is known for. Wanderingthe markets of London, rock climbing in Austria or surfing in Hawaii is a lot more fun than running on a treadmill in your hotel.

You can also book unique fitness outings with Airbnb Experiences. Like walking tours, these are activities led by locals who are passionate about sports, wellness, and getting outdoors—Rappel through East Zion Canyons in Utah, or go on a bike adventure in Toronto. You can get a real taste of the destination by combining a sightseeing tour with a workout!

4. Utilize your hotel amenities

The obvious way to stay fit while travelling is to book hotels or resorts with fitness centers and/or guest passes to nearby gyms. There’s nothing like a workout first thing in the morning, within minutes of waking up. Even doing a short workout is a whole lot better than doing nothing at all. You’ll have worked fitness into each day before your vacation day has even started.

The days of dark, small and ill-equipped hotel gyms are gone. Westin and Fairmont Hotels let you rent or borrow workout gear to hit their gyms or a nearby running route plotted by RunWestin concierges. Indoor cyclists at select Westin locations can even live-stream Peloton classes in a WestinWORKOUT studio. Hilton has Five Feet to Fitness, where select room categories offer a selection of equipment and accessories to do in-room workouts. Of course, you can always book a full-on fitness vacation. Look for yoga retreats with Yogascapes, immersive outdoor getaways with GAdventures, or biking escapades with Interpid Travel.

“Go, fly, roam, travel, voyage, explore, journey, discover, adventure.”


Safe travels,
Mark

The Charm of Old Quebec City

The charm of Old Quebec City never gets old. Old Quebec is the only walled city in Canada or the U.S. and is designated as a World Heritage treasure by UNESCO. It’s a mix of history, architecture, heritage, art, and culture and is widely viewed as the home of French civilization in North America.

I’ve been to Quebec City a few times. The first time as a youngster on a driving vacation with the family. The first overnight stop from Toronto was Quebec City. I remember walking through the gates of the old city and feeling like I had stepped back in time. Thankfully the old city is still there today. And it’s a real treat.

Early Canadian and French history abounds with numerous historic buildings and museums including the Musée de la civilisation . There are many art galleries and boutiques with a French flair. Restaurants and pubs have a warm and intimate feel and most feature Quebec fare including rabbit, deer, and duck confit poutine.

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While there’s a variety of hotels to choose from within Old Quebec and Quebec City itself, my favorite is the Auberge Saint-Antoine. Located in the heart of Old Quebec, the Auberge sits on an historic site dating back to the 16oos. As a member of Relais and Cheataux, the hotel has a strong focus on service and luxury. There are only 60 rooms with no 2 rooms alike, and each contains artifacts that were found on site. Their Panache Restaurant is incredible with Michelin star chef and a very imaginative menu.

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Quebec City is like 2 different destinations in the winter and the summer. In the winter, it can hit -30c. So cold it’s painful but beyond beautiful especially during the Carnaval de Québec (the annual Winter Carnival runs from late January to the middle of February).

In the summer, there’s the Festival d’été de Québec in July, Canada’s biggest outdoor music event. Quebec City is warm and inviting with quaint streets to wonder down and walking trails to explore along the St.Lawrence River. Outdoor cafes abound and you’ll find yourself stepping back in time… and thinking about your next visit.