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Hi there! Many readers have sent messages asking when I think it’s safe to travel again. While safety is just one of the things to consider, I wanted to take this opportunity to share an email I recently sent to the community:
Many of us are starting to think about our summer plans. While half of us have no intention of leaving home, others are desperate to travel. However, it’s difficult to know what is and isn’t safe.
Things are particularly confusing because this is a worldwide issue and governments both local and global are reacting differently implementing varying protocols and timelines. While some states in the US and some countries in Europe are opening, many aren’t. Some domestic and international vacation spots have started to welcome tourists while others remain closed.
Just because a destination is open at home or in a tourist destination abroad, is it actually safe (or wise) to visit?
As global citizens and international travelers, our plans depend on an array of people in different governments with varying priorities.
Ultimately, this is a difficult time for the entire world population and it’s not realistic for anyone, leadership included, to have the solid answer. The most important thing we can do as capable, intelligent travelers is to educate ourselves, take extra safety precautions if traveling, and exercise good judgement on what’s best for us while also being considerate for those around us.
Remember, just because a destination welcomes visitors, it doesn’t mean we are not at risk of getting or spreading an illness. This is a time for us to exercise absolute responsibility, whether we choose to dine in a local restaurant or jump on a flight and travel.
I can’t trust that someone else will make the right decision to confirm whether or not a situation is truly safe. I can only be responsible for myself and understand how my actions impact others.
I don’t want to participate in exasperating an issue if it’s preventable. I also don’t want to take actions that would defeat the purpose of the self quarantine that I practiced for over 8 weeks. Self isolation was so much sacrifice for people to make. I worry that those efforts will be wasted by making the premature decision to travel.
Personally, I’m watching the results of the re-openings in Europe, Asia, and the US to determine whether or not I deem it safe for myself to go anywhere, local or far. I will observe the result of re-openings and make a judgement call when I think it makes sense, not when others tell me it does, because not everyone has the same interests in mind.
Will I travel this summer? Perhaps.
When would I go? The earliest I’d get on a flight is July 1st as it seems that’s when the governments in the destinations I want to go will be welcoming tourists. Before then, maybe I’ll drive to a national park to go hiking and camping, because it limits my exposure to others. Most likely, I won’t be visiting traditional vacation or beach spots that may draw large crowds in the USA.
However, only until I’ve seen enough global data (proving that the illness isn’t spreading at the same rate as before) will I make the decision to travel.
If I do decide to travel, I would ensure that I am taking every step possible to practice maximum precautions.
I would continue to practice social distancing, wash my hands even more frequently than I already do and use sanitizer in between. I’d wear a mask in public, be conscious of touching surfaces, and be mindful when interacting with others.
I’d probably also choose to dine in restaurants that were practicing strict social distancing measures and opt for private taxis or ubers vs taking group or public transportation. On a personal note, I’d also plan to tip a little more generously to help support the businesses and destinations that are so near and dear to my heart.
One important thing to note is that the purpose of my international travel may be very different from others. I would not be going to a destination to sightsee.
Instead, I would be going to a destination to stay in one place for an extended period of time, eat the local food, scuba dive (using my own equipment), and more than likely enjoy the same beach.
I would not be joining tours, taking public transportation, or going to tourist sites. I would be going from Point A to Point B. Essentially, almost self quarantining upon arrival.
Please note that this lack of touring isn’t due to Covid, it’s due to my type of travel in the specific destinations where I want to go. As I’d be returning to some of my favorite places, it’s almost as if I’m going to another hometown, one which I’m already familiar with and don’t need to spend time exploring – just living in one place, working from “home”, as I would at home.
To travel, or not to travel this summer?
It’s hard to believe that travel (or even leaving my house) is possible without participating in a domino effect that could potentially have a larger and more long lasting impact on the economy.
However, if it’s going to happen anyway, and destinations are opening up (rightfully or wrongfully so), do I sneak in a quick trip before the world potentially locks down even further?
This is a personal and ethical concern I’m currently struggling with.
Before deciding to travel, I will think about everything above thoroughly and do my best to be responsible and cautious should I make the decision to do so.
Stay informed, be smart, and stay safe. I wish you a comfortable, happy time at home or on your explorations this summer.
Safe and stylish (future) travels!