| Victoria Zurakowski
Travel Hacks for 2021 to Help You Plan a Holiday Responsibly
Disclaimer: Please note, these are personal travel tips and hacks. For the most up-to-date Covid-19 travel advice, please consult government pages.
2020 will undoubtedly go down as a year to remember – not necessarily for the right reasons. It was a year of being locked down, restricted, isolated from loved ones, working from home, experimenting with Instagram baking hacks, making TikTok videos, Zoom calls, and the one that hurt our fellow wanderlusts the most - a ban on international travel. But as regulations begin to ease and the world is slowly opening up, you likely want to get travelling again.
But before you book, check out these 2021 travel tips that will allow you to explore again while keeping you, your travel companions, and the communities you visit as safe as possible.
We consulted our very own Lucy Gibson - the founder and owner of Sand Dollar and globe-trotting extraordinaire to learn her travel hacks for post-lockdown holidays.
The UK has a travel traffic light system in place with countries being given a green, amber, or red status, Covid depending. With countries being added and removed with little warning, it'd be a pointless task stating which countries you can and can't visit. Still, a quick Google search will give you all the answers you need, and for a more current and reliable list, visit the government's official webpage.
Lucy's list of travel hacks covers things from safety tips for travelling abroad to what to pack. Here are Lucy's top 2021 travel tips.
1. Research, research, research...
And research...you get the drift. Even before the Pandemic, Lucy has always been organised when it comes to her travel plans, which is why one of her top 2021 travel tips is to do your research first.
If previously, you were that "on a whim" travel type who didn't have an agenda and preferred to go with the flow when it comes to travel, unfortunately (for now), this is just not viable.
Today, it's essential to understand what the current Covid-19 status is in your desired destination, especially when it comes to any restrictions from entering from abroad. You'll also need to keep tabs on what's happening at home.
Please note, this is an ever-changing situation, and you'll need to regularly check the most up-to-date official government travel pages.
2. Get Protected
As far as travel hacks go, this isn't revolutionary, but you'd be surprised as to how many people don't consider adequate travel insurance.
Covid-19 has taught us many things - one being that things can go wrong without warning, and when travelling, good travel insurance is a way of mitigating potential issues.
Travel insurance that covers anything COVID-related is one of our biggest safety tips when travelling abroad right now. From flight cancellations to medical support, decent insurance will put your mind at ease knowing you're protected.
Unfortunately, many travel insurance companies have changed their policies since the pandemic. However, one that's still offering comprehensive coverage that covers medical treatment, repatriation, prescribed PCR tests, and 24-hour medical support is HeyMondo.
3. Travel Responsibly
As far as travel hacks go, this isn't revolutionary, but you'd be surprised about how many people don't consider adequate travel insurance.
Once you've followed the above travel hacks and you've bitten the bullet to travel, you need to remember to be responsible at all times. First, you need to keep yourself and your travel companions safe, but you've also got the responsibility to keep others safe as well.
Get a PCR done within 48 hours of departing. Negative - fantastic - you're set to go, but don't forget many countries require a PCR on arrival too. Positive? Don't travel, report it, and self-isolate for 14 days.
All the other safety protocols need to be abided by, such as masks and social distancing. These differ from place to place, which is where your research comes to play.
4. Paperwork Travel Hacks
Previously, it was quite common to just rock up to the airport with your sunhat and holiday luggage in tow and collect your boarding pass when checking in. These days, it's a little different - there needs to be as minimal contact as possible.
To make your check-in process contactless, download your boarding pass to your phone. However, you should also print off your boarding pass if possible in case your battery dies.
5. Check Your Operators
Just because they have the title of "travel operators," it doesn't mean they're being responsible, and this is why this is one of Lucy's most important family travel tips - choose travel operators that stick to the strict COVID-19 safety rules.
As far as Covid travel tips go, the following are pretty easy. First, check out their websites - are the COVID policies clear? Have they introduced guest limits? Do they do deep cleans? What about their cancellation policies?
6. Packing Travel Tips
Mix and match co-ords are ideal for day and eveningwear - you'll be able to switch up your look easily.
Comfy footwear is a must - flip flops pack easily and pair nicely with most outfits. A pair of good trainers is also a good idea, especially for air travel and sightseeing - there's nothing worse than sore, swollen feet on holiday.
And if you haven't already purchased a sarong, do! The multi-functional sarong is a must-have and part of the 2021 summer capsule wardrobe. It functions as a coverup, a skirt, a scarf, a dress, and a towel.
A good beach book is also part of Lucy's packing travel tips. A beach holiday is a perfect opportunity to unwind and read for pleasure, and during the Coronavirus travel era there are fewer chances to socialise, a good beach read could be your saving grace.
7. Make Luggage Stand Out
Airports are chaotic at the best of times - add the extra stress of Covid checks to the situation and it can get stressful. This is when following one of Lucy's luggage travel tips is essential.
To easily recognise your suitcase at arrivals, add some pizazz to it. Make a personalised luggage tag, tie a colourful ribbon to it, use bright coloured bags and suitcases, or wrap an eye-catching strap around your case.
8. Family Travel Tips
Flying with little ones can be stressful for everyone, which is why one of Lucy's go-to family travel tips when flying long-haul is to book nighttime flights - no cabin lights make it much easier to sleep. If you book a night flight, keep your kids active during the day with their routine, which means they'll have a better chance of sleeping the duration.
9. Carry-On Baggage Travel Tips
Airlines are becoming stricter with their carry-on luggage restrictions, making it difficult to carry on smaller "cabin-sized" suitcases. Also, if you've got babies or toddlers to push or carry, taking a mini case with you can be cumbersome.
Lucy recommends carrying an oversized, sturdy canvas tote that can be slung casually over the shoulder while you're trying to juggle boarding and the kids at the same time.
10. Be Environmentally Conscious
Lucy is a huge advocate of sustainable travel so another one of the travel hacks she sticks to is being as eco-friendly and responsible as possible.
Just because we're amid a pandemic doesn't mean we should forget some of the basics. One of the most important things to remember is being respectful of the local people, their culture, customs, and natural environment. This includes limiting plastic use.
Plastic takes thousands of years to break down, so do your part and carry a reusable drinking bottle with you instead of using single-use plastic bottles, refuse plastic cutlery, and carry the oversized tote you used for travelling instead of using plastic bags.
All these travel hacks aside, there is a glimmer of hope, and it's heartening to see the world slowly begin to open again. We can understand the excitement, which we get and feel. However, it's still essential to follow the basic Covid-19 travel tips and safety tips for travelling abroad to ensure you can enjoy your holiday, get some much-needed RnR, and keep yourself safe and protected.
Wishing you a safe and happy holiday!