Travel in times of uncertainty
We're living in a very different world at the moment, COVID-19 has truly left scars, and we're all learning how to adapt to the new normal. Things are bound to change even more in the coming days, weeks and months. But if there is a glimmer of hope we're holding on to, it's that we're certain travel will be more important than ever.
As the world slowly begins to open up, we all want to feel comfortable in making travel plans, and brave enough to look to the future just a little. We hope, when the time is right for you, that you'll want to start exploring the world with us again. Our passion for doing just that isn't going anywhere. If you're already making plans with us, rest assured that your safety is, and has always been our number one priority. Our long-standing relationships with our teams all over the world help us to deliver life-changing, yet utterly safe experiences for you. We never compromise on your this, or the safety of our team or our local crews.
Perhaps you're not that keen on going anywhere far just yet, and that's okay too. Cancelled plans can always be rescheduled. We're here for you and your next adventure awaits whenever you're ready. Like you, we can't stop dreaming about it! For now, there are plenty of ways to keep the adventure alive at home, as our team have more than proved over the last few months (read their blogs here).
We want to share some top tips that we will be fully embracing moving forward in our own travel plans and on our trips.
We aim to bring you peace of mind, where we can, provide some expert advice and relieve any possible fears you might have about travel.
We have spoken with you, the DA crew, our medics and the experts. We've done extensive research and read as much official advice and guidance as we can possibly digest.
Your Trip in Safe Hands
We're very grateful to hear, having spoken to many of you over the last few months, that your safety on our trips isn't your primary concern. Especially when it comes to coronavirus.
If you've been on an adventure with us, you'll know how much emphasis we put on keeping yourself clean. It is imperative to protect yourself and others from illness. Anti-bac gel takes pride of place on as an essential item on kit lists, as do wet wipes. You're advised to wash your hands regularly, and we say a big no-no to sharing sweets, water bottles and snacks (As tempting as a Jelly Baby might seem, we know how quickly bugs spread!)
In the post-corona world, there will undoubtedly be things that we introduce on our trips to add another layer of safety. These changes will vary from trip to trip, and we will be working closely with the team on the ground to ensure you are protected to the highest standard. We will work with ground operators, hotels and restaurants to cover all bases and guarantee you'll have plenty of extra time to plan and prepare for any changes.
Our brilliant UK crew are clear on our safety expectations. They will continue to be up to date in all regulations and official guidance before departure, as standard. As always, they are there to help you through any wobbles; be it on the mountain or in the airport!
Of course, there are some aspects of travel that Discover Adventure can't control - this isn't just the weather! But we hope by sharing our tips with you that you will be comfortable in navigating this, when the time comes, with our support.
We know that one of the things concerning a few of you is what it might be like to move through an airport and sit on a plane. So, here's our information and top tips for staying safe and protecting yourself.
Protecting yourself at the airport
Despite assumptions, airports are some of the most sterile environments and generally speaking, there is enough space inside terminals to allow for sensible social distancing. As the UK is behind much of Europe in reopening borders and running scheduled flights, we have time to learn from the them. However, that's not to say that UK airports aren't well-ahead making plans of their own.
Bristol Airport's "Safe journeys start here" campaign outlines all the steps they are taking to ensure their visitors are protected. This is no doubt something that is happening across all UK airports. These steps include; encouraging passengers to check-in at home before heading to the airport - this limits contact to just a bag drop with staff safely behind screens. Great news for everyone who hates queuing at the check-in desk!
They're asking passengers to arrive in plenty of time to move through extra safety checks, and to wear a face covering. Don't forget your contactless payment methods as cash is a big no-no! On top of this, there will be restrictions on who can enter the airport (passengers only), temperature scans, sanitisation stations, social distancing and extra cleaning in progress.
We're confident that the entire travel and tourism industry is taking this as seriously as we are and although things might feel a little different or even excessive in places; your patient approach and positive attitude will help you to feel safe when travelling. What's more, the closer we follow these rules and guidelines, the more likely it is that normality will return. Although, we think that extra hygiene processes here and there is no bad thing!
Coronavirus and Aeroplanes
We all know what it's like to question how clean a plane is but, it's in the airlines best interest to change our feelings on this.
The main areas to look out for on planes are; the bathroom (although, surprisingly, this isn't the dirtiest place on a flight!), seatback trays, your overhead air vents, belt buckles and aisle seat headrests. Pretty much anywhere where people touch a lot. The cleanest time to get on the plane is early in the morning as the aircraft would have been cleaned overnight. Some travel routes and countries require the flight to be disinfected with aerosol anti-bac and we reckon we'll begin to see this a lot more often.
We spoke to some of the crew who have experienced flights since the pandemic began to get their pro-travelling tips.
Keep Clean Kit - What to pack for the plane
We recommend packing a clear plastic bag for your hand luggage (as you would with your liquids) with your sanitisation kit. Don't forget to create another for your return flight and pop it in your hold bag, so you know you have a spare. What does this kit look like?
- Wet wipes and anti-bac wipes - make sure you have flight friendly packets available to you at all times, you'll probably want a fair few for peace of mind. Wipes are famously bad for the environment, so we encourage you to look carefully at eco-friendly options or ensure to dispose of your non-eco wipes in the best way possible. You will use these to wipe everything you have to touch; your passport (the outside), tray table, belt buckle etc. These are also another great way to quickly wash your hands (but nothing beats soap and warm water!) You could also use these to help you open/close doors if you aren't wearing gloves.
- Anti-bac gel or liquid handwash - great to have a couple of these in your kit as it can be used not only to keep your hands clean but also as a way of cleaning sown surfaces too.
- Gloves - gloves are okay, and it probably pays to have a couple of pairs in your kit. The key thing is to remember that they aren't that different to your hands if you're touching your face etc. Gloves can still transfer the virus, and you will still need to wash your hands before and after wearing them!
- Face masks - Compulsory on transport now, and planes are no different. We're not going to get into the argument of whether they protect you or others because both are equally important. There are lots of type of facemasks; fabric ones, fabric ones with a pocket for a filter, medical grade disposable ones... Whichever you're most comfortable with we encourage you to wear, you can be on a plane for a while so making sure you're comfortable or have a few spares to change is a good idea.
- Pens - immigration forms on planes are one of the necessary evils of travelling, and the likelihood is there might be one or two more forms to fill in, in our post corona world. Having your own pen means you can keep it clean and don't have to borrow from someone else.
What else should I remember when travelling by plane after Coronavirus?
Take your own food and drink. Although, we know and do not doubt that food outlets will be taking all the necessary precautions, reducing contact with other people is one of the main ways to stay safe. Having your own bottle of water to hand is important, as it's inevitable that the new procedures will take more time. A Water-to-Go bottle could do just the trick - just make sure it's empty as you go through security!
Wipe your luggage down when you get it back as an extra precaution too. Remember also, your boarding passes will be checked multiple times, by multiple people, and even if this is on your phone, you will need to wipe down what you can and wash your hands.
You should treat an aeroplane and airport like any public place. Practising good hygiene habits can limit your exposure to germs. But the best advice we can give is to relax, don't worry and stay calm.
We know that you're all very sensible people, so we know that you'll use a hefty dose of common sense when it comes to travelling. We hope that this blog acts as a guide to help you, and to reassure you.
Read the official goverment advice here on the link below.