Thanks to the pandemic, we’ve spent most of the year confined to our homes. We don’t know about you, but we are getting cabin fever! We can’t wait to get out safely and start traveling again. Thinking about planning a holiday in these times can be overwhelming, so we’ve rolled up our sleeves and done the work for you. Here’s our handy guide to travel in the time of Covid-19. We take you through choosing a destination, determining duration realistically, assessing risk, and general tips for when you are traveling.
International travel to most countries has not resumed so focus on a domestic holiday. Plan a languid trip and enjoy the hill stations near Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore. Slow travel & road trips are the way to go. Goa has opened up for the upcoming tourist season and is a great option. With a plethora of villa rentals and resort options and open-air dining that allows you to social-distance in peace, Goa makes it easy for travelers to enjoy the destination safely. Make it into a workation so you can stay longer. If your heart is set on an international holiday, at this point your options are the Maldives and the UAE. Urbanaut for Dubai is coming soon! However, with the kind of deals being advertised by many resorts in the Maldives, this might be the best time to take that luxe bucket list Maldives vacation you’ve been planning, at a huge discount.
Research the quarantine requirements at your destination. If you are traveling within your state, there won’t be any quarantining requirements but interstate and international travel requirements might vary and expect a 1 week to 2-week quarantine at the destination.
With work from home being the norm for many executives, this is a perfect time to plan a longer getaway in a location with internet connectivity. Drive or fly to Goa and rent a villa for a few weeks and work from a seaside paradise. Go kayaking on the Chapora, eat at Prana Cafe or Edible Archives, or one of the many options listed on the Urbanaut app. (Pssst: We have a surprise in December for our Urbanaut tribe! Watch this space!)
If the mountains are calling you, drive to Kumaon from Delhi, stopping over at The Homestead for a day (check out Urbanaut for more details) on the way and take in the mountain sunshine as winter rolls in. You can mix work and play in a way that you couldn’t before, so make the most of it.
We don’t need to tell you that you should avoid eating in public places unless they are open-air or tables are spaced sufficiently apart. Make smart choices to help support local food & travel businesses without compromising safety. If eating in restaurants on the highway while on a road trip makes you uncomfortable, pack your meals and snacks, and take it with you for the ride. In case you are flying, do not take off your mask to eat or drink when near others at the airport and during the flight.
Do not forget to take a medicine kit with you when you travel. Do some research about where you are staying and make a list of emergency service providers, COVID helplines, and hospitals in the area. This resource will ensure that you do not panic. Equip yourself for the new normal.
The most important factor when planning a holiday during COVID-19 is doing a realistic self-assessment of what risks you are willing to live with. Are you or your travel partners in the high-risk categories for Covid-19? If the answer is yes, we would ask you to rethink traveling. Should you choose to go ahead with a holiday despite being in a high-risk category it would be best to avoid public transportation or a holiday that might expose you to people, even if you are wearing a mask and washing your hands. If you do not want to take the risk of public transport like aircraft, road trips in your vehicle should be a perfectly safe mode of transport as long as you are careful about being masked.
Our mantra when traveling at this time is to be mindful of our ability to profoundly jeopardize the health & safety of the people we travel and interact with. We know that we shouldn’t travel if we are showing symptoms or have been exposed to anyone with Covid19. But it is still worth repeating for those in the back that didn’t get the memo. Wear a mask and ask others around you to mask up as well. Do not attend crowded events or packed stores and restaurants. Go on a trek instead. Learn to surf. Take that guided city walk to get to know your town better. Visit that old fort on the way to your hotel. There are many things to do without compromising on social-distancing.
We get it. Traveling in these times isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Don’t fret, there are tons of fun things to do to feed your wanderlust while staying in your city.
Hop over to https://window-swap.com a project dedicated to giving us a window to the world. You will feel like you are in an apartment or house on the other side of the planet from the comfort of your couch!
To get a dose of perspective on living in confinement read A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel. Count Alexander Rostov must live within the walls of the famed Hotel Metropole till his death and watch the world go by and change from its windows. What happens when your world shrinks from the globe to a hotel suite and then to a tiny room in the attic? What inner strength must you draw on to navigate this life with verve and wit? Read the book to feel a little (or a lot) better about our housebound situation.
Or fire up Urbanaut and explore hidden gems and experiences in your own city. Our contributors are updating their cities and adding new spots so there is always something new to discover. And you know what’s better than taking a hurried trip? Planning future trips! So, do that while you are housebound. And keep your fingers’ crossed for the new normal to be old news soon.