responsible travel

Travelling in the post-pandemic era: What do travellers have to say?

We spoke to a few travel enthusiasts about their travelling plans, the safety precautions they’ll follow, and what it means to be finally able to travel.
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Every time a global tragedy strikes, it changes the world forever. Whether it’s the world wars, wildfires, earthquakes or outbreaks, life doesn’t remain the same in the aftermath. The COVID-19 pandemic has been the most recent event that divided life into before and after. One virus changed everything. The way we work, buy groceries, study, see our environment. And also the way we travel.

Earlier, planning a trip was all about packing your bags, keeping your tickets, following your itinerary. Now, after almost two years of being at home, travel has become much more than that. Health and safety have become the key elements of planning a trip. Everything else has become secondary. Although the global cases and deaths are simmering down, the pandemic still exists, and it’s not going anywhere soon.

If we take our vaccine doses and follow the safety guidelines, we might free ourselves from the clutches of this horrible disease. But if we don’t do our part, it can turn into something much worse. In the middle of these two realities, lies our present where people have started to book tickets, to quench their irresistible wanderlust after being cooped up indoors for more than a year now.

While countries have started reopening their borders and welcoming vaccinated tourists, it doesn’t mean you can lower your guard. Remember, it’s not 2019 anymore or any year before that. We are stepping into the post-pandemic era where caution is more important than leisure. Where your safety and health is more important than your travel destination. That’s why planning your trip is more important than ever.

We spoke to a few travel enthusiasts about their travelling plans, the safety precautions they’ll follow, and what it means to be finally able to travel.

What does it mean to travel after almost two years?

Sara Fathima: It’s very exciting to get back in the world and explore things. But there is always going to be the element of fear. I will be a bit anxious and nervous that I might catch the disease. But after staying at home for such a long period, I am willing to take that chance. I think travelling is important for mental health. One needs to get back into socialising and exploring various cultures and places.

Vivek MV: It’s a mixed feeling to travel after so long. While I think I deserve this break from monotony, I carry the fear of getting infected constantly with me.

Pratyush Pratik: It’s a wonderful feeling to be finally able to go to the places that you have been yearning to go. I am very excited that I will be wandering around the hills and waking up to beautiful mountain sunrises again.

What safety precautions will you adopt while travelling?

Sara Fathima: I will make sure that I get vaccinated before travelling. I will have my mask on and maintain social distancing. I will avoid public transport as much as possible, and follow all the safety protocols such as sanitising, washing hands, et cetera.

Vivek MV: Safety precautions will be the same as I took when I was in my city. I will be mindful not to drop my guard and try and avoid crowded places. If I find myself there, I will be extra careful. When I am out, I will always sanitise and wear a mask.

Pratyush Pratik: I will keep wearing a mask and sanitise regularly. Also, I will look for hotels that have high standards in following the protocols.

Are there any specific aspects of travelling that you’d try to avoid?

Sara Fathima: I would try to avoid places that are popular or famous. Mostly, because of the crowd. Also, I would prefer to go on a drive with family (to nearby destinations), rather than taking flights and travelling to faraway places.

Vivek MV: I will look for places that are quite unknown yet good enough to go for a small holiday. Places that are too popular might have large crowds. Also, I prefer to go somewhere close, preferably somewhere there is greenery.

Pratyush Pratik: I will avoid crowded places. Since it’s festival times and long weekends are there so there will be more gatherings everywhere. That’s why I had started planning a little earlier and looked out for some relatively safer places.

What are the things you’d consider before travelling to another city?

Sara Fathima: I would look at the caseload of the city and the food options that they have. I will also focus on the convenience aspect of travel. The idea is not to go to obscure places and be stranded there. Keeping Covid-19 in mind, I would prefer to visit places with lower cases. At the same time, I would also check the cases in my surrounding areas. If I find myself living in the containment zone, I will avoid travel.

Vivek MV: Travelling by flights, train and buses can be still risky. If necessary, a flight would be the first preferred option. I would want to take a car and ride it out with close friends. I will definitely get tested before and after the trip to be more responsible.

Pratyush Pratik: I have done my research and selected a safe destination for myself. Also, I will keep all the protocols in mind as prevention is better than cure, more so than ever.

Considering the pandemic is still going on, do you think travelling right now is the right choice?

Sara Fathima: I think responsible travel is the right choice, provided you are vaccinated and taking precautions. We all want to do our bit by supporting the economies that run on cash. When you travel to a small town and you buy something from the local shop, you are supporting them. I think travelling will help small businesses that depend on tourists to flourish.

Vivek MV: I think it’s okay to travel. Vaccination drives have been great in many cities of India. I am not sure about what’s happening abroad. But I would say it’s better to pick a window that doesn’t have any festival.

Pratyush Pratik: At this point, we have to start living with the pandemic, while taking all the precautions. No one knows how long the pandemic will last. But we have to move forward. Staying indoors wouldn’t do us any good. But at the same time, we have to be more careful when we are travelling. It’s all about taking the steps that can keep you safe.

What are you looking forward to from your trip?

Sara Fathima: I am looking for my peace of mind. I would really prefer to go to small towns and hill stations. I will consciously choose to make my travel meaningful by supporting local businesses.

Vivek MV: A safe and enjoyable trip.

Pratyush Pratik: A great escape from the monotonous work from home life. I love travelling, and like I said I love waking up to the sun rising amongst the mountains. I also love to trek. So I will do all these to my heart’s content since it will be after a long time.

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