For over a 100 days, we have been living the matchbox life, contained and closed in the vicinity of our homes. The travel bug inside us has never been more desperate to move out and be free once again. Not a weekend goes by when we are not consumed by the thought of a change in scenery, rugged mountain trails and the sound of cool water springs gushing. With no real action, we had to resort to throwing it back with photographic memories and honestly, it was getting tiring. However, the wheels continue to turn and there is a ray of hope. The government of India is finally accommodating travel in it’s latest unlocking protocols. It’s time to wipe the dust off your travelling boots and gear up for adventures on the go! Here is what you need to keep in mind while you plan your next trip-
Keep Capacity in Mind : To keep up with the norms of social distancing, operators in the travel industry will be running on a reduced capacity. Airline companies are reevaluating their seating configurations with a cap on bookings. For example flights to Dubai are being allowed to take only 80% bookings. Restaurants and cafes are incorporating the same rule by using alternate sitting systems. Some are even going to the extent of creating separate booths with glass walls. On the outdoor front, we have Rocksport running their adventure programs and day camps at 50% capacity. Mr. Piyush Khandelwal, Co-founder and Director, Rocksport spoke to us about the standard they are setting by bringing in strict measures to their campsites, “we plan to run contactless trips and programs with smaller groups. The idea is to avoid overcrowding and maintain social distance.”
Opt for Outdoors : The highest contamination is clearly around cities and settlements. The best way to navigate that is to choose a destination that is away from all the madness. You want to go somewhere that has lots of nature and open spaces. Secluded properties and offbeat places is where you want to holiday without worrying too much about exposure. Speaking to Mr. Gaurav Jain, Managing Director, Aamod Resorts, shared, “We are opening our resort properties in a phased manner. We don’t want to go wrong anywhere. To begin with we will be opening Aamod Sariska which is spread across 12 acres, has a lot of open spaces for guests to relax and also has huge rooms. Slowly and gradually we will be opening all other properties.”
Make Sanitization a Priority : Make sure to look for properties that have a strict and systematic procedure for sanitization of all contact points. Needless to say, it will be safer to trust and stay with a reliable brand or operator. A lot of hotels and Resorts are going out of the way to make sure the guests remain absolutely safe. Speaking to Mr. Jain, he shared, “we plan to sanitize all the common areas, lobby, open spaces, outdoor activity areas et cetera regularly during the day.” Don’t forget to check if your hotel is following WHO Guidelines. Thermal temperature checks, face masks and hand sanitisation are a must. Also, sanitize yourself regularly and wear a mask at all times.
Travel by Road: We can all agree that travelling by road is currently the agreeable option. Congested public transport is best to be avoided during these challenging times. Plan trips in smaller groups and share a vehicle only with people you know are not infected by the virus and can trust your safety with.
Mind the hotel staff : You have checked all your boxes for safety precautions but what about the staff and employees of the place you are staying at? Multi day trips means you are likely to interact with hotel staff and potentially other guests staying at the same property. Be cautious and observant about people around you showing signs or symptoms of Covid. Speaking to industry expert Mr. Vaibhav Kala, Founder, Aquaterra Adventures he shared, “We are following strict measures for daily monitoring. If there is any staff or guest that has symptoms they will follow protocols such as using separate utensils, designated washroom, wearing a mask at all times, etc” In case there is a positive case that emerges around you, be confident that your outfit has procedures in place to handle it professionally and safely.
Plan and choose activities wisely : The onus falls on us as travellers to choose wisely. We cannot emphasise enough on the importance of finalising an adventure outfit you can truly trust. They need to have well laid out rules to conduct safe adventure sports or activities in order to avoid any kind of transmission of the virus. Mr Piyush Kandelwal says, “One must not be afraid of travelling but bear in mind basic precautions and choose a vendor with expertise and experience. Especially during these trying times, travelling can prove to be the much needed break from routine and with a safety checklist in place, we can all enjoy the thrill of exploring new places like before.” The fun and joy of travel awaits you just as before. Take a deep breath and go for it prepared!