Published 9th June 2021
If you’re anything like us, you’re counting down the days until we can travel freely again – except many of us don’t know how many days that’ll be! But instead of sitting around wondering and waiting for the world to go back to what we used to call “normal”, why not go and make a break for it? Travelling is possible these days – we just have to be smart about it.
So, are you ready to dust off your suitcase and head off into the unknown?
On a normal day, there are so many things to think about when travelling abroad. Visas, tickets, passports, money, chargers– there are so many little things you need to bear in mind when jetting off to a new destination. You can imagine that in our current circumstances there is going to be a whole extra level of planning we need to incorporate into our pre-flight routine. Let’s look at the different things we need to consider to ensure that we’ll be ready to rumble as soon as we can find our passports.
Pick your destination carefully
The first thing you will need to do is to consider where you are going to go. Firstly, you need to check which countries are open to travellers from your country. Some countries might require a certain amount of time in quarantine, which might be costly. Then, you want to think carefully about the health status of the country you are thinking of visiting. Would you feel comfortable there? What happens if you get sick? What happens if your friends or family test positive at home? Because of these considerations, you might want to choose a destination that is easily accessible from home. (If you’re keen on Asia, you’re in luck, as there are tons of direct flights to Asia!)
Dot your i’s and cross your t’s
When it comes to booking a ticket, these days it pays to prioritise flexibility. Book a flight ticket that is flexible in that it offers the option of a refund if you need to cancel it at the last minute, or a free date change if the airline cancels it. The same goes for any accommodation you book in advance – you don’t want to be out of pocket if your plans change – and these days, we just never know.
Then, besides the obvious visa issues you need to consider, travel and health insurance are of prime importance at the moment. The majority of countries won’t allow you entry without appropriate health or travel insurance. Some countries are now also insisting on vaccination passports or immunity certificates, as well as a negative PCR test on arrival.
When it comes to packing, there are a few extras you need to put into your suitcase these days. Firstly, pack a few extra masks. If you use cloth masks, pack a few extra, or if you use the disposable medical masks, pack a box or two. You will need a mask on the plane but also as soon as you arrive at your destination, so you don’t want to stuck high and dry without a mask. You also don’t want to have to spend your first few days in your new city looking for masks. For the same reasons, pack extra hand sanitiser – enough to last you until you are settled and are comfortable going to the local supermarket.
Bring any chronic medication that you may need, as well as your usual first aid kit. Make sure your first aid kit contains any medication you might need if you fall ill, such as headache pills, painkillers, nose sprays and sinus tablets. And don’t forget your vitamins!
Read more: A Complete Checklist for Working Abroad
Be self-aware on the plane
The first leg of your journey no matter where you are going is the aeroplane trip. For some of us, the thought of sitting so close to so many people in such a confined space can give us severe anxiety, but getting used to being in public is something we are going to have to get used to. First of all, make sure you have a good mask. Your mask needs to fit properly and securely. You don’t want to have to keep pulling it up over your nose every two minutes, and you don’t want it scratching your neck either. Try on a few masks beforehand to make sure the one you choose is comfortable. Remember you will be wearing it for hours.
In your hand luggage, make sure you pack hand sanitiser and wet wipes. You may want to wipe down your seat before you sit down, or use the wipes to touch the door handles of the bathroom. Throughout the flight make sure you sanitise your hands regularly. Don’t forget your hand moisturiser too!
Now more than ever is the time to be aware of cultural considerations wherever you are going. These last few months have taught us that we need to be conscious of our actions and how they affect the people around us and the environment. Wherever you go, read up on the legal and cultural norms of the country, so you can be sure you won’t be offending anyone or getting yourself into trouble. Remember, this is not about your personal opinions or your beliefs – you are a visitor and a guest.
Read more: Why You Should Teach English Abroad in 2021
Be mindful of your choices
Now more than ever is the time to support small businesses. Lockdown has seen many small businesses suffer, especially in the travel and tourism sectors, and they can use your support. When choosing where to stay or eat out, choose boutique hotels or guesthouses and sidewalk restaurants and mom-and-pop vendors rather than big chain hotels and restaurants. As long as they are following all the relevant COVID-19 protocols when it comes to social distancing and sanitising! And don’t forget to leave a tip for your server. This way you are helping to rejuvenate the local economy while also enjoying being out and about!
Stay a little longer
As you can see, there are a few more things we need to think about when travelling now in comparison to before. As a result, more and more people are choosing long-term travelling over shorter trips. If you are intent on travelling (as are we!!), why not find a way to make your trip into an extended adventure? If possible you could become a digital nomad and take your work with you. Or you could qualify to teach English as a Foreign Language and find a job in your new home city.
Teaching English is one way to make your international travel dreams come true (without breaking the bank). Make sure you are prepared to jump on a plane by qualifying as a TEFL teacher so you can live your best life abroad as soon as humanly possible!