Mary is a freelance lifestyle writer and photographer. She runs a blog, An Eye Behind, that focuses on the secret life of London.
As new government guidelines continue to put more countries on the green list, many of us are booking our first post-pandemic trip away this summer, excited to be acquainted with the all-inclusive bar, sandy beaches and well-deserved relaxation. In the wake of 2021, airlines are now seeing a steady increase in the number of air travel passengers, suggesting that destination hopping has become popular once again.
With new statistics from TSA revealing that air travel passengers have all but doubled since February 2021, it’s no surprise that experts are worried about the impacts of mass travel on the spread of Coronavirus. As holidaymakers frantically pack their bags in preparation to jet off to their favourite destinations, it’s time to learn how to travel safely in the wake of Covid-19. Read on to find out how you can travel in style while also keeping yourself and others safe this summer.
1. Think About Where You’re Travelling
Before booking that well-awaited plane ticket, you have one more important thing to check before you get excited to jet off. Whether you’ve narrowed your trip down to a couple of destinations, or just can’t quite decide which beachscape takes your fancy, there are other important factors that could impact your decision.
Before making your decision, we advise you to check with your government or state department website, in order to make sure your desired destination is safe to travel to. Search for the latest information in the area, travel ban news and post-Covid entry requirements. Consider choosing a country that is currently on the green list for ultimate travel safety and avoid overly popular tourist spots in order to reduce the spread of the virus.
2. Get Your Covid-Test
Now that you’re all booked in to go, it’s time to start preparing for that long haul flight. Whether you’re jetting for 2 hours or 16, the most important travel essential this year is a negative Covid-19 test. Most countries currently on the Green and Amber list require a negative test certificate that has been issued within 72 hours of boarding. So, in order to enjoy that holiday in the sun, make sure to book your pre-flight test in advance.
3. Pack Smart
In order to reduce contact when checking in, we advise you to start packing smart. It’s time to whip out those scales to measure your luggage before you leave for the airport. Knowing your airline’s specific weight requirements before travelling can save time panicking at the check-in desk, frantically piling on 4 layers of holiday clothes.
Travellers should also be aware that prohibited items are still very much prohibited. It’s time to pull out a clear plastic bag and have your liquids packed and ready to go. As for jewellery and anything metal, remember to remove it prior to entering the security checkpoint. Being prepared helps minimise contact between yourself and the security professional, while also allowing the line to move quickly to reduce overcrowding.
4. Check-in Digitally
Check-in digitally wherever possible if you’re looking to reduce waiting time and contact between yourself and staff members. Thanks to the rise of the digital E-Ticket, passengers are advised to make use of an online checking in system in order to reduce line hold-ups and cross-contamination. Simply scan your E-Ticket using the new ‘touchless’ system, for a safe approach to registering your arrival.
In fact, airline experts predict that the future of air travel could soon become 100% digital in the wake of Covid-19. Coming after the introduction of digital passport scanners and online booking in systems, new technological advances could see a completely contactless future for travel, improving both hygiene and customer service.
5. Avoid Crowded Areas
One of the easiest ways to reduce the spread of Covid-19 is to maintain social distancing when travelling. Reach the airport in good time, giving yourself a wide window of space to make it through both check-in and security procedures. When travelling through the airport, it’s important to avoid crowded areas and remain socially distanced within the line.
Better still, why not book flights during off-peak periods. Miss the morning rush and fly during the evening in order to reduce your contact with others. Flying during the night isn’t often ideal for avid holidaymakers, but you will be met with smaller lines, quiet duty-free stores and a quicker screening process for ultimate safety.
6. Stock Up On PPE
Flying during the pandemic can be stressful, especially with an added layer of Covid-caused anxiety inevitably lacing the trip. One of the most effective solutions to reducing post-pandemic stress is to remain masked up and protected.
Stocking up on PPE is vital when planning to travel. From masks and gloves to anti-bac wipes and sanitiser, the more layers of protection you invest in, the smaller your chance of contracting the virus. In fact, a recent study revealed that wearing a facemask can reduce your chances of contracting Covid-19 by 67%, making them a vital addition to your holiday luggage for both in the airport and on the flight.
If you’re a glasses wearer, we also have you covered. If you’re worried about your mask fogging up your lenses, simply place your glasses over the top of your mask in order for your line of vision to remain clear. Not only will this hack help you see better, but applying pressure to the mask will keep it secure, improving your Covid-19 safety.
7. Keep Food Covered
For the avid airport snackers, this tip is for you. When packing your own flying fuel, packaging has never been more important if you’re aiming to reduce cross-contamination. As a commonly triggering item for security checkpoint alarms, we suggest that you pack all food in a plastic see-through bag in preparation for your trip. Better still, to avoid contamination, why not forget food altogether. With food stores littering duty-free, it could be time to invest in a meal deal or some pre-flight fast food, to avoid taking your own food through the check-in process.
8. Offset Your Carbon Emissions
This next travelling tip may not be essential, but in the wake of Covid-19, it could be the most crucial move to make. With many aircrafts currently flying at such a low capacity, now is the best time to start offsetting your carbon emissions. As we jet set into the air, we contribute to an influx of CO2 emissions that continue to damage the environment around us. In fact, the aviation industry as a whole is responsible for over 12% of all transport-related emissions. Therefore, it has never been more important to get involved with nonprofits that offer carbon-neutral programmes.
Better still, if you’re looking to boost your sustainability, choose to fly with a low emission airline to help reduce your carbon footprint. Many major airlines companies such as EasyJet and Qantas are now turning to low emission biofuel and beginning to fly greener. In fact, a recent report by the London School Of Economics revealed that Easy Jet is currently the greenest airline, cutting its emissions to half that of some of its rivals.
9. Wash Your Hands Frequently
One of the easiest ways to rescue the spread of Covid-19 is to keep washing your hands. In fact, a recent study by MIT found that “if 60% of travellers moving through airports worldwide had clean hands, global disease spread could be curbed by almost 70%”.
If that doesn’t encourage you to stock up on sanitiser, we don’t know what will. In fact, many airports and airlines are providing a number of sanitising stations across the airport and within the plane in order to assure that passengers remain protected. TSA is also currently allowing up to 12 ounces of sanitiser per passenger to be accepted at the security check-in, in comparison to 3.4 ounces pre-pandemic.
In order to reduce the spread of disease, remember to wash your hands as you enter the airport, before food and again before you enter the aircraft. For ultimate Covid-19 safety, we also suggest you carry antibacterial wipes in your hand luggage. Not only are they great to wipe down surfaces around you, but they make fantastic alternative cleansers if you run out of sanitiser. Especially if you have little ones, this flight hack is a must.
10. Keep An Eye On The News
Finally and most importantly, travellers must keep an eye on the news and ever-changing government updates. As a pandemic that is constantly transforming, restrictions are frequently being updated in order to protect the global population. We suggest that those of you who are frequent flyers should set up news alerts for important travel-based updates and also keep an eye on your airline’s online hub. Staying up to date with travel restrictions will better prepare you for the journey ahead and ensure that your air travel experience is both safe and smooth.
The Future Of Air Travel Post-Covid
Despite the surge in post-Covid holidays and new green lights for keen travellers, the aviation industry is still a long way from recovering. With experts predicting that project traffic won’t return to normal before 2024, it’s no surprise that airline providers are worried.
However, a post-pandemic future of flying will drastically change air travel as we know it. From a more hygienic experience to new forms of contactless customer service, if anything, Covid-19 has proved that air travel can be digitalised. From online check-ins to airline based applications, post-Covid flying may only just be off the ground, but the sky certainly is the limit.