Your Healthy Post: Coronavirus Vacation Checklist

July 14, 2020

At the beginning of 2020, we all looked to the future, hopeful and optimistic, about the fantastic year ahead. We planned weddings, welcomed babies, booked vacations, and made personal goals for this year. Unfortunately, it did not pan out that way. Since the COVID-19 pandemic swept our world, thousands of people around the world have had to postpone or cancel their travel plans, as well as putting milestones like weddings, honeymoons, and christenings on hold until 2021. As sad as this is, these steps have all been necessary to try to flatten the curve, keep everybody safe, and save lives. 

At some point, however, the world will resume its usual course of events. Although, the world might never be the same, our freedoms will return only when it is safe to exercise them. So many people are feeling the desperation to escape, take a flight, and sit on a beach somewhere in total bliss. If that sounds like you, you are going to need some advice. Although our lives will go relatively back to normal, there are some things which will feel different from our pre-COVID life. We are all required to make healthier, more informed choices as we slowly come out of the darkest times of this pandemic. 

  1. Face Masks

Bizarrely, these have become controversial in our current times. In countries such as South Korea and China, it is normal to wear a mask on public transport or in stores if you have a common cold. It is considered common courtesy to do so, in order to protect others from your illness. Of course, COVID-19 has demanded many of us to wear masks in stores, on trains, and generally when we are out in public. Although, these have received backlash, it is important that we all get used to wearing masks when we are on planes, and in crowded spaces. If you are planning a vacation in the near future, invest in a set of disposable masks, or a few cloth masks which you can machine wash. 

Masks are proven by doctors to reduce transmission. Considering that COVID-19 symptoms do not often show up until two weeks after contracting the virus, you never know when you could be carrying it. On planes, air conditioning is circulated around the plane, carrying germs and spreading any droplets carrying diseases. Get used to wearing a mask and it will soon become a habit — and may just save somebody’s life!

  1. Researching Your Destination

Although, most places are now reopening to tourists, it is important to check your rights and freedoms when you book a vacation. Many countries are allowing tourist visits, but are imposing restrictions on their movement and activities. These can include:

  • Mandatory quarantine time. Some countries are enforcing a mandatory 14-day quarantine once you reach the country, for the safety of its residents. This means that if you wish to go on a two-week vacation there, you would not be able to leave your hotel room. Ensure you choose a destination which does not have these rules unless you are willing to quarantine first. 
  • Restrictions on travel within the country. Additionally to a quarantine, many countries will restrict travel between regions. For example, you might not be able to drive across the country once you reach it — you may have to stay in the specific zone you enter. This is to stop a potential spread of coronavirus from one region to another. 
  • Mandatory temperature checks. In some airports, all passengers are being required to have their temperature checked before they board the plane. If your body temperature is higher than average, you may be denied access to the plane itself. Please check this with your airline before you arrive at the airport. 
  • Health insurance differences. Some health insurance and travel insurance companies are not covering COVID-19 related illnesses. You must bear this in mind before you travel. Even if you already have standard health insurance for travel, enquire about their COVID-19 policies. If you were to become ill when you are abroad, you may not be covered. 
  • Closure of tourist destinations. If you are visiting a country for the specific reason of seeing famous landmarks, you must research this before you go! Just because the borders are open and tourists are allowed in, this does not guarantee that you will be given access to regular tourist spots. 
  • Calculating your risk. If you are considered a vulnerable person, due to age, respiratory conditions, heart conditions, or disability, it might be best to wait until the environment is safer for travel. Although, travel is becoming a possibility again, it might be best to have patience if you are at high risk to COVID-19. 
  1. Your Vacation Essentials

If it has been a while since you went on a vacation, remember to pack your essentials. Since COVID-19 forced everybody inside, many of us have not had as much sun exposure, nor have we traveled long distances in months. Ensure you pack your essentials such as sunscreen, all your travel documents, foreign currency, padlocks, and more. 

If you have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, you might have thought about your health more than usual. You may have begun researching a new way of living — healthier, more natural, more organic. If this sounds like you, here are some tips for healthier options while you are traveling abroad. 

  • Research your sunscreen. 

Sunscreen is vital for everyone who lives in, or visits, a hot climate. The sun’s UV rays can do irreparable damage to our skin, and luckily, sunscreen is easily accessible and very affordable. However, cheap sunscreens might protect your skin from UV rays, but they can also damage your skin with harsh chemicals. 

For years, scientists have been asking the question, ‘Is non-nano zinc oxide safe?’ Non-nano zinc oxide is an ingredient in sunscreen, which is key to protecting us from the sun. There have been many debates in science about this ingredient and whether it is safe for humans. Now, luckily, we know that it is. With this valuable information, you can make safe, informed decisions about the type of sunscreen you buy.

  • A healthy diet. 

Whilst traveling, one of the great joys is that you can taste the cuisine of other cultures. Keep in mind your health, allergies, and preferences, but it is important to have fun, let loose, and try new things! Balancing experimentation with your food and safety for your health is pretty simple; enjoy yourself, but do not get carried away.

  • Your beachwear brands.

If you have noticed of late that more and more brands are being ‘called out’ for using cheap labor and illegal methods, now is the time to step in for yourself. In a post-coronavirus world, we are all invested in being more ethical for our world which is struggling so much. With that in mind, do some research into the ethics of your beachwear brands to ensure their standards match yours. If the brand has not got much by way of information on its sources, the chances are the brand is using shady resources to pump out new products. 

Final Thoughts

The coronavirus pandemic has changed our world forever. Although, this time has been a challenge for everyone, no matter who you are or where you live, there are some silver linings to the dark days we have experienced. Now, we can travel with a more ethical mindset, a self-awareness which is kinder to the planet and to our fellow humans alike. 

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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