Around the World

Planning a Trip During the Pandemic

Oct 2021 | By Catherine Daley

Is Pandemic Travel Planning Worth it? We Think So. 

You already know that it’s best to roll your clothes instead of folding – scientific fact. And, it’s also helpful to separate ‘like’ clothing, like t-shirts in one packing cube and knickers in another, so that specific items are categorized and easy-to-find. But added to your packing woes, is your newest reality – post pandemic vaccine rules.

Travel advisors have their work cut out for them, and we’re being advised that regulations can change from day to day. One travel agent said that in addition to advising clients about related inoculations for certain destinations, and checking to see if their passports are up-to-date, they also have to ask if they’ve been fully vaccinated, which vaccines they received and if they were both the same. Initially, certain countries weren’t accepting the Astra Zeneca vaccine that was made in India (Covishield), the next day it was good-to-go. Some countries and cruise lines weren’t accepting mixed vaccines, but that, too, has changed. It can be a challenge to advise clients if they are visiting multiple countries in Europe, or having to connect in one airport enroute to their final destination.

You may have to budget for a PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction), or an antigen, test depending upon your destination, and for re-entry back in to Canada. Plus, you may have to have to allow for extra check-in time with temperature taking, long line-ups and disgruntled passengers who weren’t prepared.

Because information is so tenuous, you really do need a travel professional to advise you, as they have access to most current information. You can also visit websites like Sherpa where they list travel and health restrictions.

It is expected that passengers will still have to wear facemasks while in the airport and onboard the aircraft, except when eating or drinking. Vaccine passports may also be required. Come prepared for all possibilities, and don’t forget to bring anti-bacterial wipes to clean armrests, meal trays and seat belts – it all adds up to a more-courteous traveler.

Since it’s been a while, let’s review a proven packing plan.

Get a good set of wheels

If you’ve ever sat in a window seat and watched how the handlers handle your luggage, you’ll agree that a hard case is the best option. Check its wheely capability. Newer models have double wheels, which are also larger, and they roll with ease on carpet and turn on a dime. Similar to the progression of strollers, today’s models are so much slicker than when our kids were toddlers.

Your checklist is your guide

If you’re on a pre-planned trip, print out your itinerary and plan what you’re going to wear for each activity. Give yourself some extra time to reconsider the best options so that you don’t overpack, and then record all that you’re taking – and check it off.

Think again

  • Come up with a colour scheme or pack neutrals that you can mix and match.

  • Add a splash of colour with a scarf or a new pair of earrings.

  • A clutch purse can double as a wallet in a larger tote, and be used on its own for evening wear.

  • Is it worth bringing high heels for one night out? They’re not practical on cobblestones, and they hurt your feet.

  • In addition to your electronics, pack a light change of clothing and some toiletries in your carry-on, in case your luggage is delayed, or you’re put up at hotel overnight.

  • Sunglass cases come in handy when packing chargers, headphones and extra cords.

  • Grab an extra pill organizer for your rings and earrings. Put necklaces and bracelets with fine chains in a zip-lock bag, and keep part of the chain in the zipper to prevent tangling.

Roll, pack and compartmentalize

Not only has it been proven that rolling saves space, it also cuts down on wrinkles. You can purchase packing cubes to separate your tops and bottoms, or use large see-through zip-locks.

Work your way up

Pack your heavier items, including shoes, cosmetic bags, etc. at the bottom of your suitcase. The weight distribution will help with the maneuverability of your bag.

Extra considerations

  • Bring a mesh bag or a pillow case for laundry.

  • Put shoes in a grocery bag or shower cap.

  • Wear your coat to save precious suitcase space, and it can also double as a pillow on the plane.

  • Especially if you’re with a large group, use matching luggage tags to help identify your bags.

  • If you’re staying at a four- or five-star property, you may not need to bring shampoo, styling products and the like.

  • Once you get through security, fill a reusable water bottle so that you stay hydrated on your flight.

Write out your own list, as it helps to imprint it on your subconscious. Plus, we can never have too many reminders to help us to navigate this new world. Now all that’s left to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy your destination.

Safe travels!

JOIN THE ALC MEMBERSHIP