10 tips to safely holiday during Covid
Taking a holiday during Covid, is this possible? As we get excited by the reduction in Covid restrictions we are thinking of Christmas, holidays, going to visit friends and family. Whether travelling by yourself or with your family you want to be able to have a holiday as safe and enjoyable as possible.
Some tips for having a safer holiday during Covid include –
- Research your options
- Be prepared
- Stay updated
- Look locally
- Stay in your country or state
- Have a plan if you get stranded
- Don’t travel if you are sick
- Check-in with family
- Stay away from the big tourist spots
- Stay away from the crowds
During these chaotic times, how do you have a safe holiday without the risk of disease and travel restrictions? With Covid and borders are closing and opening all the time so choosing the time and place can be tricky. Some areas are in lockdown so you may be holidaying at home.
Overseas is basically off the list with a lot of countries having closed borders or a lot of restrictions. And some countries have Covid going out of control so not a safe place to be. You may in rare cases be able to leave but you may not be able to get back home again, ask anyone stranded overseas.
What if I get stranded?
Ask yourself where do you want to get stuck if you can’t get home again. There could be a risk of being in 2 weeks of quarantine on your return. Hotel quarantine can cost thousands.
And there is a risk of contracting Covid while in quarantine from others. You may not even get the luxury of a hotel as Quarantine camps are being built across the country.
1. Research your holiday options
Keep an eye on the news, where is there a Covid flare-up? Which borders are looking at closing or opening? What is the current government travel advice? What are you going to do if you can’t get home?
Research local tourist areas, restrictions, prices and the like. Do you aim for a motel or rent a more secluded Bed and Breakfast for the week?
Motels or caravan?
Motels might be too risky with high volumes of people and limited cleaning time? You could rent a caravan and travel or go camping.
What’s on your bucket list? You watch a local travel tv show and say we should see that one day. Pick a location and then research what you can do in that area (fishing, adventures, picnics).
Do you really need to travel for your holidays?
Can you stay home do some reno jobs and go to the beach? For those who have been in lockdown for months, I know what your answer will be.
2. Be prepared
After doing your research sit down with the family and make a plan. Where are you going? What are you going to do when you get there? How are you going to get there? What is the lowest risk way to get there? What are you going to take with you?
If you are planning a driving holiday you need to have the vehicle checked and packed well beforehand. For a more detailed vehicle checklist, you can download ‘Vehicle preparation guide and checklist.’
Do some risk assessment around having a holiday with Covid, ask yourself what you will do if….
- The borders close
- The borders will be closing in a few hours
- You get sick
- The area you are in goes into lockdown
- A new case breaks out in your area
You might be doing the right thing but you can’t rely on everyone else doing the same thing.
Go through your emergency kits and pack the essentials for the area you plan on travelling too.
3. Stay up dated
Before leaving and through out your holiday stay up to date with the current situation in your area.
- Local news – tv, papers, radio
- Government and health authorities web sites
If the situation starts to change you can change your holiday plans to suit.
4. Look locally
With the variable risk of Covid, borders can close quickly leaving you stuck away from home. If you really need to have a holiday try looking locally. What haven’t you seen that is only a few hours away from home? Do you have any nearby relatives you haven’t seen for a while?
Don’t travel if you are in a disease hot spot.
You could get fined for breaking lockdown or you may be unknowingly spreading the disease. Do you want to infect or kill your grandparents? Have patience, wait it out and save your money for a big holiday when it’s less risky.
Have a short trip away and spend the rest of the time at home. Covid has seen a rise in home renovation, spring cleaning, hobbies, online businesses, working from home and other at-home activities. Save your holiday money or put it towards some much-needed repairs.
Stay in your state. There is a lot to see and do in your home state, we just keep saying one day I should look at that. We get more drawn to the whole romance of overseas travel or a tropical island. But checking out a mountain café and waterfall can be just as romantic.
5. Stay in your country or state
If you must travel your own country is about your only choice with most countries having closed borders.
Australia has its closed borders to those who have been overseas, if you do come back from overseas you have an expensive 2-week quarantine in a hotel with other travellers who may have picked up Covid overseas.
Staying in your own country can reduce the risk of infection.
6. Have a plan if you get stranded
All is clear, no signs of infection the borders are open for travelling. Four days into your holiday there is an outbreak in your area and the borders are closed.
Sure, if you are in the next state, you may be able to get back home but if you have multiple states to travel through or you’re overseas relying on air travel to get you home you may end up being cut off.
Or from the opposite point of view, you are holidaying out of state and the state you are in has an outbreak. Your home state may not let you back in or you will have a 2-week quarantine period.
What are you going to do until the borders open again?
Self-isolate – stay away from the crowds, go to a more remote area camping, try not to get infected if you are in a hot spot.
Seek income – if you are not in a direct hot spot, try finding some local temporary employment if you need money. Such as fruit or vegetable picking or other backpacker work.
Keep travelling – if the outbreak is only in one location such as the capital city, you could keep travelling in remote areas.
Just keep in mind your hygiene and infection control methods such as a mask, personal distance and hand washing. Follow the direction given for each situation. Travelling may not be allowed.
7. Don’t travel if you are sick
Don’t travel if you are feeling sick in any way. It may not be Covid, but you could be spreading the cold, flu or something else. Being sick reduces your immune system and leaves you open to catching something else.
Don’t even aim to travel back to your home if you are sick, stay put.
Reconsider even if you just have hay fever, with the whole Covid thing anyone who coughs or sneezes raises alarm bells in the community. Unless you like having sticks stuck up your nose (testing).
If you get sick when you’re on holiday all you want to do is go home but rethink travelling until you have been tested and cleared for Covid. You could be just spreading the bug all the way home and then giving it to family and workmates.
If you feel unwell, fever, sick and the like, ring the local doctor or hospital for testing and advice.
You may not be the only one. Another thing to keep in mind is if you are going on a family holiday with other people and you start feeling sick in the lead-up, you may be just the first one to get sick. The whole family could have the bug.
Don’t just pull yourself out and send the rest of the family on their way. You may have given them the bug and they will become sick in the next few days.
8. Check-in with family
If you are travelling to visit distant family members check if they are unwell before leaving. Communicate your plans with them and see if they have any problems or restrictions.
For example your 85-year-old grandmother doesn’t want to see anyone because she is afraid of getting sick.
With Christmas rapidly approaching, it would be a good time to see if they have plans for a large family gathering. Remember to check what the local group gathering limit is.
9. Stay away from the big tourist hotspots
As restrictions are lifted the first thing everyone is going to do is go to the big favourite tourist spots like Bondi Beach, Whitsunday Islands, Gold Coast and the like. It only takes one to travel in denial about their illness or wanting to escape the sick people around them to spread the disease.
It comes down to risk management so you can have an enjoyable holiday with Covid in the country. The more people in the area, the closer they are, the more objects they are touching the higher the risk of contracting something. Why are cruise ships a biological nightmare? They are a lot of people crammed into a small area all sharing the same stuff.
Social distancing, sanitiser, masks and bleach can only go so far. And if the area has a couple of tourists who didn’t follow the safer guidelines spreading their bugs the area will be declared a hot spot and so ends your enjoyable holiday.
Travel in the offseason, there will be fewer people travelling and it will probably be cheaper (bonus). The off-season can be not during school holidays, public holidays such as Christmas or going to the alps in the snow season. I went to New Zealand about 5 years ago in the non-ski season and it was less stressful and cheaper.
10. Stay away from the crowds
Again, it comes down to statistics. More people more chance someone has got something. And in really crowded areas it is difficult to control social distancing as people push you aside to get through the masses.
If you are in crowded areas, be aware of your hygiene, wear a good mask, wash your hands regularly, steer clear of anyone who looks or sounds sick. Even if the area does not have any registered cases at the moment. Where did that new family that arrived last night come from?
Tips to avoid crowds
Change your timetable to avoid the crowds. Don’t plan on going to the zoo on the train at peak hour. Go out to dinner early, it’s cheaper usually and less crowded than later in the evening.
Rethink your exercise location. Even in hot spots, you are allowed out to go shopping (the most crowded area around) and exercise. But if everyone decides to go for a run at the same park it can be a higher risk.
Grocery shopping – an enclosed building which is visited by 1000’s everyday touching everything. Even with the reduced number of people allowed in the store, it’s still a lottery.
If you are on holiday and require groceries there are other options these days, there grocery delivery, order online and pick up in the car park to name a few.
Tips to improve your holiday during Covid
Check with your travel agent or trip advisor before going on holiday for changes to travel restrictions and risks.
Don’t drink the local water
Local drinking water – which includes ice and foods cooked with water. Ask the chef first before ordering. Water is different from town to town and country to country. Some of the water is treated and not in other areas. Your stomach may not like the water change or you could end up with some unfriendly parasites, Gastro or food poisoning.
Go with higher quality.
Cheap motels and restaurants will have a lower quality guarantee than the more expensive businesses as the cheap ones have to keep costs down. Bed bugs, food poisoning, pests and diseases can destroy a cheap holiday.
Research your destination
What are the road rules in the area? Any legal restrictions, religious constraints, curfews, public holidays, no go zones and the like.
Vaccines won’t prevent you from getting Covid, they are aimed at reducing the side effects and hospitalisations from the disease.
Don’t think you’re are now bulletproof because you are vaccinated. Vaccinated people are still getting sick. 
Some businesses have brought in restrictions of no entry if your not vaccinated so include this in your research.
None of the vaccines developed at the moment are 100% effective and as there hasn’t been enough time to research them long term. There is limited knowledge on how long they will provide protection and long term side effects. The side effects are different in different people based on genetics, immune system, other health issues and the like.
Don’t travel if you or anyone in your family is sick with anything. Stop the spread.
Look locally for a holiday destination and have a plan if you get sick on holiday or get stranded by border closures.
Stay away from the favourite tourist hot spots and crowds to reduce your risk of contact.
Do your research before going on holiday and follow the directions of the authorities to make your holiday more enjoyable for all.
Vaccines don’t make you bulletproof, you can still get sick as they are aimed at reducing the severity of the disease. You can still spread it through the community. 
Being safe is better than sorry.
You can still enjoy your holiday with Covid with a bit of thought and planning.
Be safe and enjoy your holiday.
- The Possibility of COVID-19 after Vaccination: Breakthrough Infections
2. Things to do before you book a holiday during the COVID-19 pandemic
3. COVID-19 (coronavirus) information for consumers