As of August 2020, several countries in Europe have more or less reopened for travel and tourism from many specified countries. After a few weeks of observing our friends travel, Sher, Faiz, and I eased our selves into traveling again with a road trip from London to Brighton. Then a weekend trip by train to Bath. And now we’re planning a short flight abroad.
Adjusting to our new normal has taken some research and lessons learned, but thought I would share what we are experiencing thus far! The main thing is that even though tourism has re-opened, it’s opened with some modifications. Social distancing, altered hours, reduced number of people in the vicinity has influenced the way the hospitality industry is welcoming in tourists. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Pre-book All Excursions: This was already important to do before traveling for major attractions, but with COVID restricting the number of people to enter a vicinity at the same time has limited the number of people who can enter. I suggest as soon as you book your trip, do some searches if you main destinations have pre-booking. If they do, go ahead and secure your spot to avoid any disappointment or begging the volunteers at the entrances to let you in.
- Make Reservations for Meals: Same as above. Restaurants are spacing out the tables they are providing for guests, which means less people in at a time. Research the restaurants you want to try, and if possible, make the reservation (using tools like opentable.com or calling the restaurant directly). Having kids means you have a general idea of when they need to eat, which helps with the timing coordination and restricts certain time slots (i.e., anything after our babies 8:00 pm bedtime).
- Compile a Hygiene Pack: In your purse or backpack, it will be helpful to have your hygiene pack ready to go. Since most indoor places require face masks, make sure to have extra on deck. Additionally, a pack of wet wipes to wipe down surfaces or seats will be helpful, and tissues to dry it off. Bring hand sanitiser. I even carry my reusable water bottle so I can avoid drinking from glasses as much as possible.
- Verify Public Health Measures: Verify the public health measures that your flight/transportation/hotel/air b&b is taking to ensure you are comfortable! Whether it is their modification on social distancing, mandatory face mass, or cleaning frequency, it is good to have a sense of what you might be exposed to.
- Weekday Visit: If you can, go on weekdays to limit the number of people you will come in contact with (or have to compete with for reservations and bookings). And even before COVID, I preferred smaller crowds. An extra perk is that non-peak hours, such as weekdays, are generally cheaper as well.