Are you preparing for travel soon? If you’re like me, you may be chomping at the bit to get out and see more of the world. It’s been hard to find a way to cure the travel bug. Well, I hope it’s safe to say it won’t be long before we’re all allowed to travel more. But are you ready?
What can you be doing now to be prepared? Here’s my list, although not comprehensive, of ways you can be more prepared and ready to travel soon:
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Create your inspiration list
Call it your bucket list or just a list of all the places you’d really like to see someday, but a goal not written is a goal not attained. Then sit down with your family or travel partner and narrow down your list. Ask questions like, “How much money can we spend?”, “When is the best season to travel to this destination?”, “What do we want to accomplish?”, “Is it likely to be open for travel soon?”, and “How much vacation time do we want to spend at this destination?”
Then go through your calendar to determine the best time for you to travel, considering holidays, extra days off, family celebrations, or special events. When you consider these plus your answers to the above questions, you should be able to narrow your list down to a few options. If necessary, put those options up for a vote to decide on the destination you will prepare for now.
Learn everything you can
Now you need to do some legwork! Some people actually enjoy traveling without much preparation. They’re up for the adventure of not knowing beforehand what they will do or where exactly they will go. That’s not for me. I’ve learned that the better prepared I am, the smoother my travels go — and the fewer mistakes I make. Plus…now that we are still recovering from a pandemic, it seems prudent to be armed with information. This is an important part of preparing for travel.
Research your destination. Learn what the pandemic-related requirements are. Find out what is closed and what is open. Read articles written by others who have traveled there recently with tips to share. Read reviews, too. A hotel that might have been a good option a few years ago might not be the best right now. (For example, I have preferred motels during the pandemic where I can park right outside my room and not cross paths with others in hallways or elevators.) Be sure to ask lots of questions, like “Do you still serve a breakfast buffet?”, “Is the pool going to be open?”, “Is there a pandemic surcharge to cover additional cleaning and sterilizing?”, and “Are there facemask requirements?”
You also need to know what is required for Covid-19 testing or vaccines. Some countries are requiring both — evidence you are fully vaccinated AND a negative medically-monitored Covid-19 test result within a few days of departure. These requirements are constantly evolving, so be sure to read the most current information you can before leaving on your trip. Unless you like surprises! We don’t really know how long it will be before travel will return to pre-pandemic conditions, if ever. I’m afraid this may be a new normal.
And finally, make sure your passport is current if you desire to travel internationally.
Prepare a back-up plan
You know — like a Plan B. Fortunately, most travel reservations can now be changed fairly easily, without penalty. Cruise reservations can be cancelled up to the day of departure if you get sick. Airline reservations can also be cancelled or changed with fewer restrictions. And most hotels, motels, and Airbnb’s are the same. They understand that today’s world is one of constant change. So, have a Plan B — another vacation option if your preferred arrangements go south.
Perhaps your back-up plan might be a roadtrip to a national park — something a little easier to plan at the last minute. Or even a family camping trip. When amusement parks, museums, and theaters were still closed last year, we found that it was wonderful to spend time in the Sierra Mountains camping, hiking, and kayaking on Mono Lake! (None of those attractions were closed!)
Purchase what you need
As you are preparing for travel, you may wish to purchase some of these items, depending on your plans:
Are you traveling by air?
- TSA PreCheck
- Carry-on luggage
- Kids’ activities
- Travel pillow
- Passport/Vaccine card holder
- Luggage tags (this link shows how to make your own)
Are you making a roadtrip?
Are you camping?
- Electric power source, (this is what we use and love!)
- Tent and sleeping bags
- Air mattress
- Cook set
- Camp stove
- Hiking poles
Preparing for travel includes being grateful
Our expectations have been challenged a lot in the last year and a half. Learning to be flexible– and grateful for what you can do goes a long way. Traveling doesn’t have to be complicated to be enjoyable. In fact, more simple activities may actually bring the most pleasure.
At first, I told myself I didn’t want to go on a cruise again until I wouldn’t be required to wear a facemask. But now I’m realizing it may be a small sacrifice to wear a facemask if it means I get to see the icebergs in Alaskan harbors, or a glorious sunset from the rear deck of a cruise ship. And I’m sure there will be outdoor activities in ports where facemasks will not be mandatory.
We live in a stunningly beautiful world. I think we were meant to explore and experience at least some of that beauty — and it’s good for our souls! Much better, in fact, than staying cooped up at home. Find a way to see the world again. Start out small if you have to. Preparing for travel means you’ll be ready when the opportunity arises. Dont miss out!