That's when it is safe to travel again

The year 2020, where travel industry really bled to death, has gone. We're now in a year where hopes and many possibilities are greatly anticipated. 

The world slowly springs back to life, businesses are reopening and airline companies are offering low deals on its flight rates. Pretty enticing isn't it?

But is it convenient to travel? Is it really time to start fixing our travel goals and plan a trip once again? Is it safe? 

No one can exactly tell when the pandemic will end but one thing is certain, we are still in the uncertain times. We are still not out of the woods of COVID-19 despite the roll-out of the vaccines. 

Everywhere, the number of infection is surging, and measures to curb the disease are still very much in place.

We need to cooperate with the world's effort to combat the surging cases of the virus. Leisure can wait. When all these inconveniences are over, we are free to hop in for adventure but the first six months of 2021 is simply not ideal to start kicking off travel plans. 

Add to this uncertainty is the newly discovered strain of the virus reportedly started in the United Kingdom and South Africa and now quickly spreading everywhere. We need to be mindful with this health alert and as much as possible, stay indoor.

Not yet the time for adventure

Clearly, this year is not yet the right time to embark into an adventure. Even if we want to. Yes, we are fed up, we are emotionally and mentally exhausted with the longest quarantine period, we want to escape, we want to enjoy the sun, we want to experience life in another place.

But it is not just the right time yet. 

Armada resort, Magalawa island, Zambales

First, the environment is still not totally "cleanse" from the virus. Second, there's a new strain of coronavirus. Third, we are not helping the world to curb the disease if we go outdoor, we might be a super spreader instead. Fourth, so much inconveniences of travel with tons of complicated travel documents, then there are government rules to follow like wearing face mask, face shield, health protocol and social distancing. 

A hell of discomfort awaits us. I would never enjoy the trip, and it is just a waste of money and time and effort.

Everyone is exhausted with life in home quarantine

Yes, everyone is scrambling to get out and escape somewhere. After all, it has been a crazy year of isolation, long period of home quarantine, we have been pushed to the edge of life and we cannot wait to be on the beach or the island or the mountains. 

Jomalig island, Quezon province

It is an innate character of humans never to be trapped at home. We want to see the other side of life in a different place. We want to explore and discover life beyond our station!

But unfortunately, we are still in the time of pandemic. Despite local tourism slowly opening to tourists, it is not just safe to be out there. 

Traveling in the time of COVID-19

For passionate adventurers whose travel plans for 2020 were snapped by lockdown and long home quarantine period, this year, 2021, is the start of bouncing back to the road.

With the availability of the COVID-19 vaccines and the easing of travel restrictions locally, travelers are now eager to book a trip, never mind if there are complicated travel documents required by the authorities and resorts. We need to escape!

But wait, is it really convenient? After all, traveling means a leisure trip, enjoying the moment exploring a new place, new destination, new view, but how can we do that if there are too many restrictions and threat of catching the virus?

In the Philippines, vaccine jab has not yet even started. The public has been left in the dark when it will be rolled out. No schedule has been released. And that's something really worrying, something that discouraged me to go on a trip this year. 

With the inept action of our government officials to procure vaccines and their very slow response how to control the spread of the virus in the country, planning a trip, even locally, sounds crazy at the moment. 

I would not take any chances. I would not sacrifice my safety. Even if local tourism assures guest of safety and cleanliness, I will never enjoy the trip due to many restrictions and rules to follow. It defeats the purpose of adventure and the thrill of travel.

Torres Farm, Cavite.

It is still not safe. That's a glaring fact. Maybe in the last quarter of this year. But for the first six months of 2021, it's not really convenient to hit the road for a leisure trip. So better stay at home while herd immunity is not yet developed in the country.

When can we travel again?

Local destinations are now accepting guests, albeit, reduced capacity, provided they will present necessary documents and will strictly follow health protocols imposed by the authorities.

Resorts, travel agencies and airlines are offering tempting low rates. But whether we will be having a comfortable trip experience, that's a different story. Definitely, a leisure trip is out of the questions this year. 

White Beach, Puerto Galera

It is uncertain when can we travel again normally. Even health experts cannot provide an exact timeframe when these inconveniences and threat of catching coronavirus will be over. 

One thing we need to do is stay safe and stay indoor while the world is still in the process of healing. Fun of adventure can wait. Remember that we need to cooperate and help the environment stop the spread of the disease. 

The need to travel

Traveling will never be the same again post-pandemic, that's certain. There will be major changes the moment we hit the road again. Strictest protocol for sure will be imposed.

Nonetheless, we still need to travel. I mean, the idea of going out there, exploring the world, discovering new places, enjoying the beach and nature and road trip. Having fun in the sun, watching sunrise in another place. It's a human desire. 

Enchanted river, Hinatuan, Surigao del sur

It is an innate character of a person to escape and go somewhere else to breathe, to relax, to de-stress. Our emotional and mental self needed it to find our balance. Life is not meant to be spent in one place, worst, at home. We need to go out and enjoy the outdoor view.

It's part of our nature to connect, to socialize, to explore, to see the other side of life, be with friends, have some fun. These are part of being human and no virus-threat could ever stop this human desire. 

Traveling is a therapy. It heals emotional wounds and mental anxiety. It bridges the gap of connection and fun and excitement. It is a great escape from a tedious life. A liberating getaway.

However, timing is everything. 

Since traveling or going out on a trip somewhere is a kind of leisure and adventure that we are supposed to be enjoying, convenience and comfort must always be considered. 

The first six months of 2021 is not really an ideal time to travel. Perhaps in the last quarter. We can start planning a trip. But not now.

Why I am not thinking of planning a trip this year

I resolved to never travel this year. Apart from the complex travel documents need to present to authorities and destinations, I am mindful what I can contribute to the community. 

I might add to the statistics of infection. I might spread unconsciously the disease. The scare of catching the virus is all over my system. And I am afraid I might infect others too.

Island trip!

Staying safe, staying at home, faithfully following the social distancing and other health protocols are the best way to curb the spread of the virus. And for this year, that's all what I needed to do.

It can wait. Leisure can wait. My appetite towards adventure can wait. I am not in a hurry to explore the world and enjoy traveling once again. 

For now, staying out of the traveling wagon is the best way to help the world fight off the disease. I will just save this year for a liberating trip next year.

Triggering point

Just today, while taking a break from writing this article, I read a heartbreaking news published by Daily Mail UK, about a dying COVID patient, describing what his painful ordeal fighting the disease: "Absolutely terrible, It's very, very frightening".

He added, "If people would have taken a lot more care when this come out and had not ignored it, we would not be in such a mess we're in. We would not have had so many deaths, so many people who are critically ill".

The man, unfortunately, died a day after the interview. How devastating and painful it was. The man was full of hope he could recover. 

He was anticipating to get reunited with his wife and family. But he did not make it.

It hits me in the gut. I feel guilty thinking about travel when the rest of the world is reeling with agony, heartbreak and pain due to the virus. 

It's through these circumstances that I resolved never to travel this year until the virus is put in control. We need to cooperate and help get rid of this pandemic. 

We need to help our health workers who are already exhausted with the surging of COVID patients treated in the hospital. We need to be patient. Someday, things will get better and we can get over this misery.

Definitely, going out there for a leisure trip, won't help anything.  

Traveling for 2021

We need to ponder hard if we really want to go for a trip this year. Now is the time to never think of our personal pleasure but the situation itself. Now is the time to think what contribution we can really give to the environment. 

There would be inconveniences as resorts and hotels, even vacation rentals need to implement strict health guidelines. It would be a nightmare accomplishing requirements to adhere to health protocols.

This year, therefore is not really an ideal time to reconstruct our travel plans. The disruption of services, controlled mobility and complicated travel requirements to accomplish will give us a headache going somewhere for leisure.

Government protocol in traveling is still very much in place, though restrictions are slowly easing down, it is still not a completely free world to enjoy a trip.

Budget-wise, it would be an expensive adventure due to travel requirements. Reduced capacity in accommodation means high rates.

New Normal in Traveling

As the world slowly bounces this year from lockdown, businesses reopen also. Travelers are eager to spring from life. We've just came out from a very stressful year that our desire to go somewhere to relax and enjoy the weather and adventure with friends is very much in our system.

But it is not just safe yet to travel.

Wearing face mask is here to stay

Whatever in store for us this year, one thing is certain, traveling will surely change. The way we travel in the new normal will have a major shift.

Here are some of the major changes and inconveniences:

  • Strict security screening everywhere which may delay the trip and lengthen the travel time.
  • Lots of travel and health documents are required. 
  • Facemask and face shield are still required. Very inconvenient.
  • Expensive accommodations due to the level-up service they will provide and the reduced capacity of guests.
  • Restrictions and limited exposure in the destination to ensure everyone is safe during the trip/

The best time to plan a trip again?

No one can exactly tell when these inconveniences will be over but definitely the first three quarters of 2021 still not the best time to plan a trip.

Rates in accommodation or even flight tickets might be low, but risk would be too high. And yes, we are not helping to stop the spread of the infection, we are even making it worst. 

The best time to start planning for a trip might be this coming autumn. September to December 2021, the last quarter of the year. Hopefully, by then we can build a herd immunity with the vaccine roll-out in the country. And can finally start planning a trip.

I am thinking of just going home in the last quarter of the year, see my parents and be with them instead of going somewhere for leisure. I will just think of traveling again by 2022.

Stay safe everyone!