Tips for tourist travel safety during Covid-19

Tips for tourist travel safety during Covid-19

We are starting to see a (very) faint glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel as some regions begin opening their borders, encouraging tourism and travel. Your safety, however, and that of the travel community, is paramount to a successful recovery of international tourism. So, here are some tips on tourist travel safety during Covid-19 and some things to keep in mind about the current situation if you’re considering a trip before the year is out.


Tourist travel in 2020 — home or away? 

Firstly, you’ll want to figure out where to go on your last-minute vacation. While you may be itching to get out of the country and experience some far-flung corner of the world, as you used to before all this craziness, 2020 may well be the year that the ‘staycation’ wins out.

If you are about to be a tourist in your own country, check out our helpful guide to the do’s and don’ts of domestic national tourism here, and make the best of holidaying at home during Covid-19. 

At the time of writing, many countries are still requiring or suggesting self-isolation for as long as up to two weeks upon entering, so it’s good to check if this applies to your desired destination, or indeed upon return to your own country of residence before deciding whether to staycation or travel abroad.

Furthermore, as countries are starting to lift travel restrictions, many are still closed to international visitors or are only allowing transient travel, and these restrictions are changing every day. So, be sure to check out what restrictions apply to your desired destination. You can also check an up to date timeline of different countries’ efforts to reopen travel here.

When picking a travel destination during the age of coronavirus, it is probably wise to consider places that will be less popular and less frequented by international and domestic tourists. It may be wise to avoid capital and prime tourist cities, whether at home or abroad, and opt instead for secondary towns & cities and rural getaways. Consider hiring a car, rather than relying on public transport, or visit a destination that is easily explored on foot or by bike.

Home or away

Airlines policies during Covid-19

If the lure of cheaper flights and newly opened borders are just too much to resist, then it’s wise to be familiar with airlines’ policies during Covid-19 restrictions before booking - You never know what  2020 may still have in store to disrupt your travel plans. Many airlines have extended and loosened their policies and made unprecedented allowances to facilitate changes and rebooking.

Airlines have been offering vouchers in the event they cancel flights, so you can postpone your travel with them, and this may suit you, however it’s good to know that in such cases you are entitled to deny this for a full refund instead. This has been clarified and restated by both the DOT in the U.S. and the European Commission.

If accepting vouchers in such a scenario, be sure to read the fine print – especially any expiration dates and who can use the voucher, it may be specific to you only as the original customer. Also, it’s worth considering how often you actually fly with the carrier, as well as the potential likelihood that they may have reduced schedules, fewer destinations, or may even be insolvent by the time you will use the voucher. 

One change that is worth knowing is that the EC261 E.U. directive, which guarantees compensation for flight delays or cancellations, has been suspended temporarily during the ongoing situation; so while you’re entitled to a full refund, the compensation clause does not apply currently.

Airline policies

Pack for travel safety during Covid-19 

Travelling in the current climate requires us to pack items we likely will not have prioritised before when taking a trip, such as face masks and hand sanitiser. As bleak as it sounds, they are now travel essentials and will be as common a sight in airports and on transport as neck-pillows and earphones. 


Travel essentials - Facemasks & facial coverings

Airlines, while still operating at only a fraction of their pre-pandemic capacity, are starting to, or planning to soon, operate at a somewhat increasing capacity in the coming months. However, there will, no doubt, be requirements on passengers such as the wearing of face masks or coverings on board and, in many cases, in the airport terminal.

You may also like to pack disposable or reusable face masks or face covering for when you’re out and about in public during your trip, especially in places where maintaining social distance can be trickier, such as in a supermarket or on public transport, for example.

There have been several studies showing that face coverings greatly reduce the viral load emitted from a person and many regions now include face-coverings in public among their suggested protocol. Importantly, it’s recommended to use cotton or home-made face coverings or non-medical-grade masks as medical-grade protective equipment should be left available for front-line medical and essential workers. There are lots of videos showing how to easily make your own home-made facemask or covering without sewing; here’s one of them:


Travel essentials - Hand sanitiser 

Of course, face coverings are only one element of our ‘new normal’ and only effective when worn and disposed of or washed correctly, and in conjunction with practising social distancing, good cough and sneeze etiquette, and good hand hygiene – this means washing your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water regularly.

Regular hand washing, though, may not always be possible when travelling, especially when out and about, so do make sure to pack a few bottles of alcohol-based hand sanitiser (minimum 70% alcohol) and keep one with you always. Remember, if flying and not checking in a bag, there will be a limit on your liquids and gels in your hand luggage.

Travel essentials

Social Distancing while travelling

Keep in mind that social distancing may likely still apply in many regions for some time yet, even as borders open and tourism is being facilitated. To this end, being mindful of ways to avoid unnecessary person to person contact will be useful when planning a holiday.


Accommodation - travel safety during Covid-19 

When it comes to accommodation, private dwellings such as short-stay apartments can be an attractive option for ensuring social distancing. If you do prefer a hotel room, however, you might like to check online for hotels in your desired destination that are currently facilitating automated check-in procedures, or ways to limit face to face interactions with staff.

 While hostels are traditionally all about the social element of travelling, sharing spaces, facilities and experiences with fellow travellers, they simply are unable to operate in this way currently. You might find hostels offering private rooms, and you should check with them first about the ways they are safely facilitating the hostel experience in regions where social distancing requirements remain.


Enjoy your destination, safely

If you’re not intending to spend your entire vacation in your room or apartment, then try to fill your itinerary with as many out-door activities as possible, rather than indoor, as there is a reduced risk posed outdoors.

So have lunch and dinner al fresco where possible when dining out, enjoy open parks or beaches instead of shopping, and do some walking tours instead of visiting museums and galleries.


Tips for safe tourist activities during Covid-19

Many attractions, tours, and activities are currently only available by advance booking in many destinations. So, check online if this applies to the experiences you are intending to do. These types of tourist activities will highly likely be operating at a reduced capacity, making available slots somewhat limited, so booking in advance is recommended in any case.

When attending your booked activity, be aware of any measures that may be in place. For example, on you can see in each individual tour profile what procedures are in effect – this may include social distancing, facemasks being provided, reduced number of participants, and so on. There will soon be some clever travel safety features available in the Freetour app too. 


Many of us regular and infrequent travellers alike are dreaming of soon enjoying a change of scenery and embracing again the simple pleasures of travel that we, perhaps, had taken for granted before. So, be it a trip abroad or a domestic travel staycation, let us travel safely and protect ourselves and others as we embrace a new normal of travel safety during Covid-19.
Better Features in the App
cashless tips
Cashless Tips
cashless tips
Google / Apple Pay
cashless tips
Nearby Map