10 Ways To Be A Responsible Traveler In The Age of COVID-19

In our countless travel experiences in the past, we’ve probably kept a list of dos and don’ts as a responsible traveler. We’ve learned how not to be that annoying hotel guest who hoards food at the breakfast buffet, or how to tip the housekeeping personnel, or how to be a little friendly with fellow tourists.

And just when we thought we mastered the etiquette of traveling, COVID-19 happened, bringing us a whole new list of dos and don’ts. But this time, our lives, as well as the lives of the people we meet, are on the line.

If you’re planning to travel soon, here are 10 travel rules you need to observe to protect yourself and keep others safe.

1. Don’t travel if you’re sick

Be responsible enough to evaluate your own health before leaving your home.

Do you feel under the weather? Are you experiencing flu-like symptoms? The last thing you’d want to happen is failing to get past the temperature scanners and wasting your time. Aside from saving yourself from major inconveniences, delaying your trip until you’re feeling well is also a kind gesture to prevent infecting others.

Just to be sure, consider getting tested for the virus (if it’s available to you) and wait for the results before embarking on a journey. Don’t forget to ask for a medical certificate, proving that you’re cleared to travel.

2. Obey the authority

Don’t be that annoying traveler who complains about everything and insists on their privileges. Now isn’t the right time to argue with the airport personnel about temperature checks or insist on the suspended buffet experience because you paid for it.

Before traveling, know the regulations, limitations, and other things you may expect once you arrive at the airport, hotel, restaurant, and other target destinations.

3. Maintain a safe physical distance

If you’re planning to travel by the time the world reopens, chances are that hotels, airports, tourist destinations, and transportation services, are still going to be strict with social distancing protocols. Maintain a safe distance of 6 feet apart or 2 meters from other passengers in the queues, hotel guests, customers, and hotel staff.

4. Limit physical, social interaction

No touching, no shaking of hands, no hugging, and no sharing of personal items – if you’re someone who loves to mingle with new people or rely on strangers for directions, I’m afraid you’ll need to distance yourself a little bit more.

But just because physical interaction is limited doesn’t mean your travel experience will be a depressing one. You can find contactless ways to communicate with other tourists, like using phones or keeping a safe distance when talking to someone about directions.

5. Be as contactless as possible

One of the best ways to be a responsible traveler in this pandemic era is to embrace contactless modes of paying and communicating. For example, you may consider making your reservations in advance online and using cashless payments like credit and debit cards. This applies to hotel accommodation, restaurants, museums, and other planned activities.

6. Refrain from touching common items

If possible, travel without touching anything needlessly. For instance, don’t allow your skin and other belongings to rest onto the receptionist’s countertop. When in public places, don’t let your belongings come into close contact with anyone else.

7. Use sanitizers before and after touching surfaces

If it’s impossible to do so, like if you’re going to hold the transit’s metal handrails, open doors, and hold your credit card, make sure your hands are clean. Sanitize your hands with an alcohol-based rub or hand sanitizer before and after touching surfaces.

If you have access to a clean restroom, make it a habit to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly for 20 seconds.

8. Observe respiratory etiquette

Whether you’re tested positive for COVID-19 or just having allergies, it feels like a crime to sneeze and cough these days. Let’s be honest – this pandemic has turned everyone into germaphobes.

To avoid that intimidating glare from people in the subway, make sure you observe respiratory etiquette when coughing and/or sneezing. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, dispose of it, and sanitize your hands immediately.

9. Wear your face mask all the time

Make sure you’re wearing protective equipment, like masks and gloves, during your whole trip. While you can’t spread positivity with your smile hidden behind your mask, wearing protection is enough to show that you care.

10. Get rid of your used masks properly

Be extra mindful when disposing of your used masks, tissue papers, and other wastes. Don’t just drop them on the floor or leave them irresponsibly on your hotel bed and desk for the housekeeping staff to touch. Instead, throw them in the designated trash bins.

Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is one of the seasoned writers for Holiday Inn Parramatta Hotel, a modern hotel located in the heart of Western Sydney, delivering top-class Parramatta accommodation. She has always been passionate about traveling, taking photos, and writing travel tips and tricks.

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