We were finally able to get out and take our first safe COVID-19 travel trip of the year! As the travel industry begins to open again, we took the opportunity to take a trip inside of Israel. And although it was so great to get out again, there are many changes to traveling, post COVID-19.
In order to prepare for our trip to Eilat, we had to put a little more effort into our pre-trip planning, which we usually do at the last minute. No flights meant we had to drive, which was fine with us. But because we knew that many restrictions were still in place where we were going, we had to add a few extras into our bags:
There is definitely a new travel norm following the COVID-19 pandemic, and depending on where you are located, restrictions will vary. But there are measures in place that you should be prepared to deal with.
While many countries – including ours – still have international travel restrictions in place, local travel will take over in 2020. Which is a good thing. Local tourism took a huge hit all over the world, and traveling local is a way to help get our countries back on their feet again. So even if you can’t travel internationally, yet, start small by traveling local. Support your local tourism, especially if it’s just for a weekend getaway.
For our local safe COVID-19 travel getaway, we chose to drive to Eilat and stay at the Royal Shangri-la resort. It’s around a 3 ½ hour drive from Tel Aviv, with scenic views of the Dead Sea, Mitspe Ramon and the desert along the way. I strongly recommend making sure the place you’re staying at has COVID-19 safety and health measures in place, BEFORE choosing them.
The Royal Shangri-la was the best choice for travel post COVID-19 with its luxurious villas located on top of the mountain – perfect for maintaining social distancing. Each staff member wore masks and gloves – from the main desk to the chefs – and everything was kept meticulously sterilized.
They were completely prepared for the new travel requirements with hand sanitizing stations located around the property and a welcoming hygine kit, including masks, gloves, sanitizer and wipes.
After our first family getaway of 2020, I definitely learned a couple of tips to apply during COVID-19 travel.
Each location is different and has varied travel restrictions in place, so make sure to do your research before you go. Check out the local vibe. Do you have to wear masks? Can you eat in restaurants or just get take-away? What local activities are open for tourists and what measures are in place to reserve places? You might already research a location before you visit, but with COVID-19 precautions, you’ll need to step up your research a tad.
There are many real-time tools available online to check the status of your travel location, such as the Re-open EU free web platform that provides up-to-date information on borders, transportation, safety measures and restrictions for countries in Europe.
Nature is definitely soaking up lots of love with the onset of COVID-19, which is great! More and more families are taking this time to get out and have family nature experiences such as hiking, camping, trekking or just a walk through the park. Sites like Yonder are helping people escape to nature with their Airbnb-like tools for getting outside. They have cool experiences from Reindeer Walks to Treehouse stays.
With flights starting to reopen, you might have the urge to jump on a plane and get to your destination quicker than driving (if possible). But many are questioning if flying is safe. There are medical professionals who say yes, and there are those who say no. Flying is definitely a risk, depending on the flight, the number of passengers, the length of time in flight and the space between seating. Some flights are blocking off rows and others aren’t. Keep all this in mind as you’re preparing to buy your ticket. Driving is probably the safer route.
Flexibility is so important while traveling, and even more so now. Be ready for longer wait lines, more procedures in place, closed or reduced activities and unexpected turn of events. On our Eilat trip, we were planning on visiting the Underwater Observatory Marine Park, only to discover that it was opening up 2 days after we were leaving. We were so bummed, but it was all part of the travel post COVID-19 experience.
Always put your family’s healthy and safety first! Our last night in Eilat we planned on dressing up and eating out at a restaurant on the beach. When we got there, my husband noticed that the restaurant wasn’t exactly the most sanitary (to put it gently). We were quite disappointed, but we weren’t willing to sacrifice the health of our family during these times. Instead, we ended up getting take-away from one of our favorite Asian restaurants, Giraffe, and took it back to our villa. We ended up having a really nice family dinner at the comfort of our place.
In the end, you want to remember that you’re taking a trip to get away and have a good time. Yes, it’s important to remain safe and be careful, but don’t forget that you’re on a vacation!