Adjusting Your Travel Mindset During Coronavirus

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Even if you were always a thoughtful and neighborly traveler, there’s a longer list of considerations in this new era of travel.

Adam Aronson, co-founder of travelhelix, has traveled the world and helps his clients do the same. While his personal adventures are on hold, Aronson is adapting to new challenges and thinking differently about the future of travel.

“People now look at travel differently. As travel planners and adventurers, it only makes sense that Danielle and I approach it differently as well,” Aronson said. “Now more than ever, our actions as travelers matter a great deal. Travel is reopening in the United States and certain international destinations are on the near horizon. Before we’re let loose on the world again, we’re being given the opportunity to test the waters in our own backyard.”

Here are five recommendations from travelhelix, a Global Rescue Safe Travel Partner, to help you adjust your travel mindset.

Hold Yourself To A Higher Standard
It’s easy to convince ourselves we simply must escape. But we shouldn’t allow wanderlust to overshadow our better judgment or cloud our view of what’s considered safe. This starts with a stepped-up risk assessment before you start booking.

“Whenever you travel, you’re an ambassador for your home state and country. If you choose to travel nonessentially in the era of COVID-19, do so with a heightened sense of responsibility,” Aronson suggested. “This means thinking more deeply about the risks involved, not only for ourselves and our loved ones, but for the strangers waiting to greet us on the other side.”

“We’re not trying to discourage anyone from traveling. But we absolutely encourage everyone to put a deeper level of consideration into trip planning than ever before,” Aronson said. “We advise our clients to be more thoughtful, aware and observant than they’ve ever been — and to recognize the definition of travel safety has evolved significantly in recent months.”

Upgrade Your Personal Travel Risk Assessment
Before, your travel risk assessment may have been mostly inward-facing. Now, it must evolve to become more outward-facing.

“A travel risk assessment should always include you and your loved ones. It’s normal and reasonable for you to start there, but it doesn’t end there, especially in the wake of a new and considerably unknown threat,” Aronson said. “Today a travel risk assessment needs to be equally about others.”

Aronson provides an example. “As our plane departed for Quito in December 2018, Danielle turned to me: ‘Any chance we get through seven months in South America without getting sick?’ Today, we’d have a different conversation: ‘Well, we may have recently been exposed…and we haven’t been tested…so can we — in good conscience — make this trip? What if we were to unknowingly get 10 people sick … and what if they …’”

Aronson recommends checking all of the right travel safety boxes by researching your destination, getting a COVID-19 test before you leave home, visiting a travel medicine clinic for certain international trips and signing up for a travel protection services membership.

Approach Every Human Interaction Through A New Lens
Through every stage of the travel process, you will encounter different people who all play unique roles within your travel journey. In recent months, each of them has been through a different version of the pandemic.

Before becoming frustrated with customer service representatives over the phone or TSA agents as you’re passing through airport security, remember they’re just doing their jobs and those jobs have been particularly difficult lately.

“Show more empathy. Heighten your situational sensitivity. In today’s world, there’s no limit to either,” Aronson said. “Coronavirus has leveled the playing field and we now find ourselves standing on at least one piece of common ground. Perhaps this shared experience creates an opportunity for a new degree of human connection and may make your travel more rewarding than ever.”

Take A Closer Look At Destinations This Summer
After months inside your home, you may be eager to hit the road somewhere — anywhere — right now. For millions of Americans, this is going to be the summer of road trips and national parks. Can you follow a similar path while staying safe and still get the vacation you need?

“If you’re planning on going that route, choose a place you can safely social distance and still get your much-needed dose of travel therapy,” Aronson said. “You may want to consider a road less traveled. That is, a less popular destination, despite what’s been on your bucket list.”

“We’ve been looking at how particular states and countries have responded to the pandemic and what sort of approach they’re taking as far as reopening,” Aronson continued. “In the United States, Maine and Hawaii have rolled out state-mandated 14-day self-quarantines for anyone arriving or returning to the state. Hawaii’s was just extended from June 30 to July 31. Maine’s four-phase reopening plan extends into August,” he explained. “The common underlying theme: protect the local residents. In turn, this should have positive public health implications for tourists.”

You might also consider exploring what’s in your own backyard.

“Now is a great time to become a traveler in your own home area,” Aronson said. “You can still come back feeling relaxed, refreshed, renewed with a weekend camping trip to the local lake.”

Have A Backup Plan
Carefree, spontaneous and open-minded are key components of adventure travel. Today, however, there’s a whole new level of safety diligence involved.

“We’ve always been cautious travelers, but we’ve never had everything planned out, minute by minute,” Aronson said. “We’re firm believers in the idea that the most rewarding travel experiences come from the unplanned and unexpected.”

“Unfortunately, we no longer have the luxury of being able to travel with that same relaxed and worry-free attitude. We still won’t have everything planned out, but we will have better contingency plans for medical emergencies.”

This is one reason travelhelix recommends Global Rescue memberships to clients.

“Travel is an investment in experiences. A Global Rescue membership helps protect your investment and offers peace of mind from the unexpected while you’re out discovering,” Aronson said. “For the foreseeable future, we plan on keeping it fairly local and completely domestic. It’s good to know we can plan an adventure trip to a remote, off-the-beaten-path place in the United States — and still be covered in a worst-case scenario. In today’s travel world, that means more than ever.”

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