As someone who was planning to take an International trip this year, I have felt the disappointment set in as the likelihood of it getting postponed became more certain. Even though most of us are still under some type of Stay at Home restrictions, it doesn’t stop airlines and hotels from begging us to plan trips. And let’s face it, we are all ready to leave our nests. I read a lot of articles by the travel gurus who poll us readers about when we next plan to travel internationally. Summer, Fall, Winter?
My thoughts are that this is a fluid situation. By that I mean that it is constantly changing. And just like it is hard to catch liquid in your hand, it is hard to confidently plan trips when you don’t know how this is all going to evolve.
Right now, I am not comfortable planning a trip within the US or even a local one, let alone one to another country. But I began to wonder exactly what WOULD it take for me to get on board planning my next international trip?
My need to travel should not endanger myself or others
Safety is my primary concern. Safety for myself, for whoever travels with me and for everyone we come in contact with along the way. As much as I want to break out of my home and fly somewhere awesome, it should not be at the cost of risking the health and well being of myself or others.
The next most important factor would be that there are no travel restrictions for either the country we would be visiting or our own country. Additionally, if a country did allow incoming international travel, but then required a 14 day quarantine once you arrived, that would eat up all of our vacation time. I would also need to be very certain that their would be no possible restrictions in place that might keep us from easily returning to the United States once our trip was complete.
Airlines Safety Measures
Most international trips begin with a fairly lengthy plane trip. Airlines are still working through their processes to determine how best to clean their planes and protect their passengers. Delta recently stated that their planes would be thoroughly cleaned between every flight. Many of the airlines are now using sanitization sprayers to help disinfect their planes. Let’s say I have a few trust issues. History tells us that the first thing that airlines cut when they are behind schedule is plane cleaning. I would need to feel very confident that these steps were not only adequate for controlling the virus, but indeed being done between every flight.
Even if they can prove that they are doing a bang up job cleaning the planes and that they really are cleaning them before every flight, how are they going to seat the passengers to keep them safe. That my friends is still being worked out by the airlines. Yes, I am willing to wear a mask when flying, but I don’t want to be smushed between two strangers, who might have Covid-19, for 9 hours or more. I know that airports and airlines plan to do some preliminary screenings for temperature and symptoms, but will it be enough? Moreover, will it be enough for me to feel comfortable that I am not sitting very close to an asymptomatic Covid-19 carrier.
Hotel Safety measures
If we are traveling to another country, there will be hotels. I am not really an Airbnb person, I really like hotels. When we travel on big adventures, discovering interesting hotels is part of the fun. We have stayed at a few historic palaces that are now hotels, hotels on the Mediterranean seaside, hotels with interesting design elements and some that are super modern with all the luxuries you could imagine.
Like the airlines, hotels are still working out their processes for how they will keep hotels clean and guests safe once we are able to travel again. As I have mentioned, I have some trust issues. This is another place that I would need to feel the utmost confidence that the hotels are really being cleaned thoroughly in all the public areas and every room between guest stays. To give guests more piece of mind, some hotels may become part of a certification process that includes random independent inspections. The hotels would get cleanliness and sanitization grades that would be posted publicly.
As long as people are still contracting and spreading this virus, their is risk in travel or any person to person contact. Based on science and medicine, it is going to be a while yet before their is a solid vaccine for Covid-19. Especially since it is already mutating and changing. A rushed vaccine may slow the virus but not stop it.
With countries and states starting to open back up for business, there will most likely be another big wave for this virus. Pandemic scale viruses don’t usually go away quickly or easily. It is definitely more difficult to control them when they effect us globally.
So When Will I Travel Internationally Again?
It comes down to safety. I don’t want to push the travel envelope until I am sure that in doing so that I am doing no harm nor being harmed.
Realistically, I think that it is going to be a while yet before all the travel restrictions are lifted and before the airlines and hotels have solid processes for cleaning and safety in place. If I am constantly worried about contracting the virus from the airport, the plane, or the hotel it would be impossible to enjoy traveling. So…Not only must I BE safe, I must FEEL safe.
We are still in the stage where what we don’t know is greater than what we do. That being said, it’s better not to get too eager to make any international travel plans until we reach the place where we have seen evidence that the virus is under control and what we do know outweighs what we don’t.
After considering all these things, I think that the best bet for us is to reschedule our international trip for next fall. For this year we will stay safe and hang out at home together, hope to hug our adult kids soon.
Stay Home, Stay Safe, Be Patient because We Will Travel Again!