As the Covid-19 pandemic struck the world, most of us were taken by surprise by the turn our lives had taken. Restricted to our homes for the sake of safety, hanging out in parks, going on picnics and holidays seems like a far-fetched dream. Just a few months ago, most of our Pinterest accounts were filled with travel ideas and vacation plans. Cut to the present, those plans have been replaced by a concern for safety. The lockdown and restricted flight operations mean that you might have to put off your international holiday plans for some months. Even if one plans to travel locally, the suspended train operations will play a spoilsport unless you don’t mind going on road trips with fewer pitstops.
It is not just us, but the travel industry has also been hit hard due to the pandemic. Several travel startups have shut down, others have scaled-down operations and many have laid-off employees. Be it airlines, hotels, or the hospitality sector, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we will travel in the near future.
Rigorous sanitization and contactless operations are changing how the travel and hospitality industry is luring their clientele back to generate business. The uncertainty about how long the pandemic may last has forced many companies to do a re-think and offer customized solutions to travellers, while placing an emphasis on safety precautions.
The current state of the travel industry is in contrast to the interest it had stoked over the last few years. The travel industry had cashed in on mentally exhausted professionals who were looking for ways to rejuvenate. As travelling gained traction as a major stress buster, more companies mushroomed to cater to this new breed of travellers. Nevertheless, a probable reason why travelling gained popularity over the last few years was because of its effect on one’s mental health. Health experts rave rallied for vacations and travelling as a way to escape the hustle and bustle of cities, find oneself, introspect and rejuvenate.
The pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns have made travelling much more difficult. Apart from remembering to wear masks when they step out, travellers are taking care to sanitize their hands and vehicles every few hours. Moreover, if you are planning to take a trip you will have to follow social distancing. Next, you might not find restaurants or hotels open every few kilometres like earlier. So, be prepared for longer trips and fewer stoppages.
However, these gloomy facts do not mean that you shelve your travel plans indefinitely. You can still travel, albeit with precautions and in new ways. Here are five ways in which you can travel during the pandemic while minimising the risk to your health:
Bored during the weekend and have nowhere to go? Discover your own city. While there might not be a vacation on cards, but you can always go for a drive on your bike or in your car to discover your city’s hidden treasures. Every city has several underrated spots that are just waiting to be discovered. Just don’t forget your mask and sanitizer.
Camping is an ideal solution for those looking for an escape from the busy city life, but want to follow social distancing. There several places for camping in cities like Dehradun, Nainital, and Rishikesh. You can also opt for homestays in hill stations after checking out their compliance with safety measures.
The lockdown might be the ideal time to take that road trip you promised your friends years back. You can go as far as Goa or as close as Agra if you live in the National Capital Region. Trips to other smaller cities like Lonavala, Pondicherry, and Mahabalipuram can be turned into one-day or weekend getaways.
Taking a trip on your own during the pandemic can be a wise idea given the importance of social distancing. Plan a trip to anywhere you want while ensuring safety precautions. Cities like McLeod Ganj, Rishikesh, and Pondicherry are some of the safest options for solo travel.
Instead of planning long vacations, opt for short trips. You can also plan one-day trips to enjoy scenic routes like the ones between New Delhi and Mussoorie or Nainital or between Chandigarh and Kasauli.
These are just some of the ways in which you can fulfill your travel dreams during such troubled times. At the same time, it is advisable that one follows all safety precautions when traveling.
For starters, try not traveling children below 18 years of age or senior citizens as the two groups are more vulnerable to Covid-19. If you are on a dose of medicines, stock up on those because you might not get medicines everywhere.
Do not forget to wear masks as they can be instrumental in checking the spread of the infection. Also, carry enough sanitizers for you and disinfect your hands and wash your hands frequently. When you get back into your vehicle after a pit-stop, sanitize car and bike seats.
Try carrying eatables with a long shelf life with you so that you do not always have to depend on eateries, many of which might be closed due to the lockdown curbs. Next, trying cramming too many people in a vehicle. If you are traveling with more than four people, try arranging for more than one vehicle.