Are you prepared for post Covid-19 travel in the ‘new normal’?
Key Points When Planning Your Next Trip
View of the beach at Da Nang, Vietnam (Unsplash Image by Link Hoang)
By Lavinia Rajaram, APAC Head of Communications, Expedia
(Singapore July 22, 2020) The fact that travel has come to a standstill remains extremely hard to reconcile for globe-trotting Singapore residents who are used to taking multiple overseas trips a year. As we await the time when we can all travel again, it is important to note that the future of travel will require a significant mental and emotional shift. To help you prepare for and navigate travel’s ‘new normal’, here are some key points for you to consider before making plans for your next big escape.
Next Destination: Singapore
Aerial view of Sentosa Island, Singapore (Unplash image by Victor He)
With uncertainties surrounding the destinations that will be safe for international travel, the next immediate travel destination could be right in our own backyard. Over a third of accommodation searches made in June for check-in between July to September on Expedia.com.sg covering staycations in Singapore.
As local movement restrictions begin to ease, the entire island is now your oyster. Fulfil your wanderlust by planning a series of local staycations at hotels that have been approved by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB). With over a third of accommodation searches made in June for check-in between July to September on Expedia.com.sg covering staycations in Singapore, there’s no better time than now to grab that amazing staycation deal that you’ve been eyeing.
With the time saved from travelling, you can also take the opportunity to explore the hidden gems all across the island. Head to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve in the northwest of Singapore and weave through trails that pass under large canopies of trees and around mangroves. Escape the bustle of the city and make a beeline for Bollywood Veggies for a unique farm-to-table experience at Poison Ivy Bistro. Or take a walk down memory lane through Everton Park to admire the murals that pay homage to Singapore’s past, while enjoying a cup of kopi at a neighbourhood coffee shop.
Take the Road Less Travelled
Sunrise at Mount Agung, Bali (Unsplash image by Geio Tischler)
Heading to destinations with large crowds, such as major music festivals, sporting events, or a New Year countdown party, may not be the best thing to do when leisure travel opens up once again.
With social distancing as the new norm, consider taking the road less travelled to avoid getting stuck in masses of people. When you are in Bali (opening to foreign visitors September 11, 2020) this could be as simple as heading up north instead of going straight to Seminyak. Avoiding crowds when you travel also eases over-tourism in the usual travel hotspots, allowing you to better support local businesses while immersing yourself in the local culture and discovering unique experiences.
Health and Safety First
Face masks should be worn on your travels to safeguard you and your fellow travellers’ health
Even as restrictions ease, your health and safety should always be prioritised when you travel. Keep a lookout for accommodations that meet the health and safety standards of the local authorities - such as the SG Clean quality mark in Singapore or the Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration Project – to have peace of mind on your next trip out with your family or friends.
Make better booking decisions by considering the hotel's health and hygiene measures at their properties, including contactless check-in and check-out, availability of hand sanitisers to guests, enhanced cleaning measures, and social distancing plans.
Look out for the cleaning and safety practices shared by our lodging partners on Expedia.com.sg for added peace of mind
Airports have put in new features and contactless processes in place to help protect the health and safety of travellers and staff. With new safety measures in place, Expedia recommends arriving at the at airport at least 1 to 2 hours earlier than normal.
Similarly, airlines have changed their operational guidelines to safeguard the health and safety of travellers. Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific have already have adopted safety measures on flights for both passengers and crew. Travellers can expect temperature checks or screenings prior to boarding; requirements for the wearing of face masks and other protective gear on board; reduced inflight service and entertainment; and staggered boarding and disembarkation timings.
When visiting attractions, it is important to follow the safe distancing measures put in place by the operator and the local government. More importantly, you should make the effort to be a responsible traveller and take the necessary precautions by wearing protection gear when out and about or stay indoors when you are not feeling well.
While we used to be able to book non-refundable trips at a whim to take advantage of that super attractive travel deal, we may want to revisit this approach for the next trip overseas. Even with the utmost preparation, we need to take an “anything can happen” approach as lockdowns may reoccur, so safeguarding our interests and mobility will be more important than ever.
Consider flexible and refundable travel options to ensure peace of mind should itinerary changes need to be made. To make it easier for travellers to find travel options with free cancellation or no change fees, there is now the option to filter flights with “no change fees” and lodging and activities with “free cancellation”. Don’t forget to add travel insurance the next time you book a trip. With today’s uncertainties, you’d never know when you’ll need it if plans unexpectedly change mid-trip.
Keep Your Options Open
We never know when the situation may change, flights and hotel prices may be dynamic, so keep your options open to capture a good travel deal when it comes your way. Prior to taking off, it is important to check the latest travel advisories and restrictions at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, and do your research on the websites of the attractions that you are planning to visit. You can also minimise the risks of uncertainties and avoid disappointment by booking flexible flights and hotels early, and add on the activities only closer to your travel date.
At the end of the day, whether you are travelling in Singapore or overseas, don’t forget to smell the roses and enjoy the journey. While future travel may not look as it did before, seeing beyond the bad and uncovering the good may help you to appreciate the sights and sounds in their true form.
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