By: Bryan Herb – Zoomvacations
International travel has changed a lot over the past few years, and as with all changes, it is up to us to adapt. With that in mind, there are a number of healthy habits that one can develop to make “post-Covid” travel as relaxed and comfortable as possible.
1. Photograph everything. I am not talking about taking pictures of beautiful sceneries, or creeper pics of hot Brazilians in Rio de Janeiro. I am speaking about taking pictures of things like your luggage tags, and your luggage in general, as well as a picture of your passport, vaccination card and other important documents so that if any of those things ever go missing, it becomes much easier to acquire them.
2. Bring a mask and antibacterial gel even after Corona. One of the lessons that Corona taught me is the importance of having a mask handy as well as antibacterial hand gel. If and when Corona is ever a thing of the past, I am still going to bring these things on my travels. There have been so many times in the past where I have been seated by a passenger who was sick, but I didn’t have any tools with me to avoid the germs. Now I’m going to have a mask in my travel carry-on at all times. I already was bringing antibacterial hand gel on all of my trips, and now I am just going to make sure that I always have it handy.
3. When buying your plane ticket, get in the habit of checking all classes of service before actually purchasing the ticket. People assume that coach is always much cheaper than business or first, and sometimes this isn’t the case. Taking the extra step to check all of the options may reveal that business or first are not that more expensive than coach for that particular journey. You don’t know until you look.
4. Related to number two, get in the habit of washing your hands often and thoroughly. On our Zoom Vacations tours, every time we sit down to a meal, I jokingly tell everyone that as their mother I am reminding them to wash their hands. There is actually no joke about it. This is probably the easiest way to avoid getting sick, and staying healthy while traveling. I see tourists all the time who have been out and about seeing the sites and touching handrails and foreign surfaces and then pop into a local restaurant and immediately dip their hands into the bread basket. If you’ve ever been sick while traveling, the habit of washing your hands is something you will always do from that point forward.
5. Get in the habit of always bringing something to do to entertain yourself, whether it be a tablet loaded did with your favorite shows, or a book you’ve been dying to read. Do this even when you have a short flight. You never know when you have a travel delay or when your plane could be stuck on the tarmac for hours, and having things to do can transform a stressful or frustrating situation into a relaxing and pleasant one.
6. Following on number five, always bring a snack with you. The habit that I started a couple years ago is that I always have a protein bar in my carry-on bag at all times. If you’re like me, if you let yourself get hungry, you’re less likely to think clearly when a situation requires a solution, and it’s easier to get crabby if your stomach is empty.
7. It’s great to get in the habit of providing loved ones with your contact information to reach you while traveling, especially if traveling somewhere with no cell phone coverage. You should never rely on having cell phone coverage, and always have the back up plan with local contact information for where you’re staying that you can provide to people back home in case of emergency.
8. Get in the habit of reconfirming your flights sporadically before your trip, and especially the day before and day of. Airlines are making changes to flights more than ever, and it is very easy to miss a flight change notification. We have seen peoples’ flights change from one day to the next, and if you weren’t checking these things on a regular basis, you could miss it.
9. One of the best and most enjoyable habits that one can develop is learning basic phrases in the local language of the place you’re visiting. You definitely want to learn how to say “thank you,” with bonus points for learning “good morning” and “good evening.”
10. This last habit may be the most difficult to develop, but it is such a good idea to get in the habit of packing early for your vacation. There are several reasons for this. If you wait to the night before to pack for your trip, you may not realize that items that you were considering to pack may be in your dry cleaning bin, or you may pull at an item to pack and it may have a large hole in it. Plus, packing in haste right before your trip increases the odds that you are going to either forget something or pack things that you don’t really need because you are in a rush.
Bonus: 11. Arrive at the airport a little earlier than before for international flights. Since airlines now have to check vaccination cards, Covid arrival requirements, PCR certificates, other health forms, and QR codes, it’s best to allow extra time for this. And if you follow number five above, if you end up with extra time, you can always use a book, ipad or phone loaded with entertainment to start your trip on a relaxed mode.
Bryan Herb is co-owner of Zoom Vacations®, a US company that creates stylish international private events and gay group vacations to the world’s hottest destinations. Learn more about them at www.zoomvacations.com or call 773.772.9666.