It's no secret that COVID-19 has changed not only the way we travel but where we are planning to go as well as how and with whom we will travel. After months of lockdown, some governments have begun opening their borders and are allowing tourism to return; albeit with new restrictions and requirements.
This is great news for holidaymakers and travellers… or is it? Moving from a "collective pause" to getting back-to-business is not without challenges.
So, what are we likely to see in the coming months?
Here are my top tips on how to enjoy your trip safely and with ease in the age of COVID-19.
Work with your Travel Advisor and familiarise yourself with any applicable travel restrictions
Entry requirements for each country are constantly changing. Many countries are restricting access and entry to people who are not citizens or permanent residents. With some imposing mandatory quarantine to all travellers upon arrival, while others impose it only on passengers who exhibit symptoms related to COVID-19. Others, still, have removed their travel restrictions entirely.
Your Travel Advisor is your best resource along with the government website of the country you'd like to visit. @luxurylondonguy works with exlog global to provide our clients with current information.
Take the road less travelled and discover new destinations
There's no time like the present to venture off the beaten path. Visiting lesser-known attractions or destinations has many advantages from a sustainable tourism point of view. For starters, it reduces over-tourism, which has a significant impact on local populations and their cultural heritage, as well as on the distribution of wealth at the destination.
What better way to practise social distancing than by spending time in nature. Take a road trip, head off on safari or isolate on a private island. Go hiking and discover beautiful national parks and all the natural gems your destination has to offer.
Plan where possible as much in advance as you can
With a little forward planning for your activity-of-choice, you can avoid any nasty surprises on your trip. For example, not all key attractions may be open, some excursions may have limited availability or require advance bookings. Timings may have changed due to enhanced COVID-19 protocols meaning more time is required to enter and exit a venue.
Hotels, Airlines, Tour Companies and Transfer Services may have specific requirements to access their services such as negative PCR COVID-19 test. It's important to enquire and know what to expect before you go. Planning for these changes will give you a better idea of what you'll be able to see during your trip and ensure you have the time you need to enjoy yourself.
Work with your Travel Advisor and book in advance…
By booking excursions and visits ahead of time, you minimise contact ensuring you can, where possible, have all your tickets with you or on your phone when you arrive. Many travel advisors have access to exclusive options such as private tours, smaller groups and more. Ask your travel advisor if they can book attractions alongside your hotel. @luxurylondonguy can assist with this and also provide access to exclusive perks and privileges from room upgrades, hotel or spa credits, complimentary breakfast.
There is one thing you can't do ahead of time and that's tipping local servers and staff, however, you may be able to leave one tip with the names and amounts to be distributed with a senior member of the management team should you so choose. You may want to bring small denominations of local currency so that the local people who live off tourism-and who are already greatly affected by the pandemic-don't lose this important source of income.
Travel light and smart
The two driving principles of this travel tip are to (1) limit the handling of your personal belongings by others and, (2) limit contact with others.
If possible, try to pack everything into your carry on - you get to skip the queue to check-in and when you arrive you can enjoy a speedy and relatively contact-free exit on your way to the hotel. Make lists… even more than usual and lighten the load. We can all live without that extra pair of sandals, but we'll be in a bind if we run out of sunscreen or forget our toothbrush or medication. Getting a head start and writing down what you'll need will help to reduce contact with others whilst travelling.
Carry a care kit with you
Equip yourself with enough disinfectant wipes, hand sanitiser, antibacterial soap, and reusable face masks (they're more environmentally friendly than disposable ones) to last your whole trip. It may also be worthwhile to bring a thermometer. It's good to know before your daily activities or before leaving for the airport if you have a higher than usual temperature.
Avoid self-service buffet-style restaurants
Goodbye buffet spoons handled by dozens of people; hello restaurants where you are served. Many restaurants and hotels have adapted to the current situation to limit the risk of spreading the virus. Some have eliminated buffets altogether, while others serve the buffet food themselves.
Yes, the experience may be "different", but it still has the potential to be as if not more incredible. With fewer crowds, unique opportunities are sure to arise to discover and explore wondrous new destinations. All you need to do now is enjoy the moment and savour this chance to travel again.
For a tailored travel experience, plan your upcoming trip with @luxurylondonguy today. With over 20 years of experience in luxury hospitality, we offer our clients insights and personally curated itineraries that take the stress out of travel, allowing more time to decompress and discover and explore your chosen destination while you're on the road.
@luxurylondonguy is a boutique luxury agency providing exceptional leisure and business travel services to a discerning client base. Founded from over twenty years of global experience in the luxury hospitality industry @luxurylondonguy is an affiliate of Protravel International, a Virtuoso Member.
From designing the perfect itinerary, discovering hidden-gem hotels or planning a sumptuous private dining experience, @luxurylondonguy offers meticulous service and attention to detail. Supported by our extensive travel knowledge, expertise and premium partners, @luxurylondonguy assists clients to travel, explore and discover the world. For more information, visit www.luxurylondonguy.co.uk
Find out why leading brands in the private client industry are partnering with PCD to raise their profile, make connections and drive new business.
Find out how you can participate in the leading club for international private client advisors and unlock opportunities around the globe.