Wow. After the tumultuous year that was 2020, we started off the New Year with a siege on the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. I don’t know about you, but I just need a break…
Don’t expect 2021 to pickup right where we left off last Spring, when businesses, organizations, and country borders started to close down or impose strict limitations. There will likely be a lot of holdover of these policies for the foreseeable future – things like staying socially distant, reservations, and wearing masks. But, with the rollout of vaccines globally, we could see countries start to open back up with the intent on sparking their economy. Just remember, some places may require proof of vaccination to enter. So if this goes against your judgement, you may be required to wait a longer time. Weigh your situation individually.
Picking Your Destination
I was really getting into the idea of using the Explore function on apps like Kayak and SkyScanner to find the best deals on flights and using that as a way to choose a destination. It made the trip more affordable and it got me out of my comfort zone, encouraging me to explore a destination I maybe didn’t know as well or one that I didn’t think I would like.
Right now, though, you have to be careful. Where are you allowed to travel to from your home country? What countries are allowing people from yours in? A good way to keep up with the constantly changing situation is by scanning the CDC website or using a Google search. Travel will require a lot more research this year to make sure it goes seamlessly.
Now that you know where you’re allowed to go, is there a next question? When you travel, there is someone on the other end that enables your experiences – whether it is by checking you into your plane, cleaning your hotel, serving your food, or the myriad of other services that are present while traveling. Do the extra research to ensure your dollars will be supporting a local economy or family, rather than going to those who likely weren’t left in as unfortunate of a situation post-COVID.
Consider guesthouses and short-term home rentals over hotel chains and local restaurants over familiar brands that you can always find back home. In the same breath, don’t feel bad if you can only find a room at a Marriott – they still employ people that need those jobs.
What To Purchase?
If you’re traveling abroad, the biggest purchase is likely going to be your airfare. During COVID, a lot (if not most) airlines and tour companies started offering flexible tickets.
For example, Delta has waived change fees until March 2021. You can change your dates and destination and either pay the difference or receive a credit if the new flight has a different rate. Many other companies like Alaska and American Airlines have done the same. Keep in mind that some of these fees may still apply to Basic Economy seats if you’re traveling on a budget.
It’s always a good idea to purchase travel insurance, as well. Companies like World Nomads and Allianz are offering changes to your insurance plan if you have to make changes to your trip, but they are not currently covering cancellations due to fear of travel or government bans. I typically buy a plan last minute and I don’t see that changing.
But Most Importantly…
If you are not feeling well, have been in contact with anyone who has tested positive or is displaying symptoms, please do not risk the safety of yourself and others. Just stay home. I get it, it’s boring and we may feel like restrictions are being forced upon us, but the sooner everyone gets on board with this, the better off we’ll be. Use courtesy and wear your mask.
If you absolutely must fulfill your need for wanderlust, consider traveling domestically – find off the beaten path nature trails, get away to a cabin in the mountains, or do some urbexing in your local region. Watch movies, shows, or YouTube videos about exotic locations to inspire your next trip. Learn a new language that you can use in your future travels. Just be safe.