Looks like we’re learning to live with our new normal circumstances in this ongoing pandemic. Despite the looming threat of COVID-19, the Philippine government has eased a number of stringent restrictions in the so-called world’s longest lockdown.
Curfew hours in most Metro Manila local government units are now from 12 AM to 4 AM, residents from the ages of 18 to 65 are finally allowed to go out of their homes, the Department of Tourism has awarded certificates of authority to eight luxury hotels to offer staycations, and popular getaways like Boracay, Baguio, Ilocos Norte, and Ilocos Sur recently welcomed local and foreign tourists. (Read: Your Ultimate Guide Before You Visit Boracay, Baguio, or Rizal Park)
Granted, there’s a long list of requirements to fulfill and present before you travel, whether locally or overseas, but the effort is worth it. (Read: PH Gets ‘Safe Travels’ Stamp From International Tourism Council) A change of scenery—even if it’s in a fancy hotel minutes away from home—will do wonders for your mental health. This is especially helpful in this time when many people have been dealing with fear, anxiety, or depression brought about by the months-long quarantine period and ongoing pandemic.
But nonetheless, we must still remember that this is leisure travel in the time of a pandemic, so even if your trip is for a little R&R, that doesn’t mean you should let your guard down. “If you want to go on holiday, there is the need to be flexible,” says loveholidays.com, “as rules and regulations can change quickly.”
Here are other tips for safe and responsible tourism from the UK’s fastest-growing online travel agency!
Tips for Safe Travel: Do Your Homework
Before booking that long-overdue vacation, answer the following:
- Do you know whether the country you’re traveling to is open to visitors from the Philippines? Are there any requirements to self-isolate or quarantine?
- Are you happy with the amount of information your travel provider has given you? Is it clear what happens if you fall ill while you’re away?
- When booking for accommodations, have the COVID-19 precautionary methods, including changes to cleaning routines, been made clear?
- Have you found out if there are any activities or facilities unavailable due to COVID-19?
Tips for Safe Travel: Observe Protocol
Travel opens you up to a whole new world of people from different places—and different cases of the novel coronavirus. Protect yourself, as well as others, from catching COVID-19 by doing the following:
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds—or clean them with a hand sanitizer. Cover your mouth with a tissue or the crook of your elbow when you cough or sneeze. And please don’t spit!
- Clean up after yourself. Throw used tissues and facemasks in the proper disposal bins. (Read: 5 Quarantine Habits That You Should Keep Even After the Pandemic)
- Wear a facemask. Cloth masks need to be washed after use; bring extra masks while your newly washed one dries.
- Observe social distancing. Keep a safe one-meter distance from fellow travelers or avoid crowds by visiting tourist attractions earlier, later, or in non-peak hours.
Tips for Safe Travel: Defer Your Trip
Whether you’re feeling a little under the weather or anxious about traveling during a pandemic, the advice is one and the same. Reschedule your trip for another time, when you’re feeling much better and more at ease with the idea of traveling. Travel is all about enjoying yourself, spending time with those you love, discovering new places, and creating memories—not worrying about whether you caught COVID-19 while exploring the local market or relaxing on the beach. (Read: 4 Places to Escape Near Metro Manila to Save Your Mental Health)
COVID-19 is a reality that cannot be ignored. So do your part by staying healthy: Eat a balanced diet, get at least 7-8 hours of sleep, exercise regularly, have a positive state of mind—and don’t let the virus stop you from living your best life yet!