21 Travel Tips for the 2021 Traveller
With the start of the new year, people are excited about resuming several aspects of pre-pandemic life. For many, that means travelling again soon. And with vaccines now starting to roll out, there's light at the end of the tunnel.
While it will take some time for travel to be "normal" again, now is a great time to book a future trip. For one thing, airfares are at historic low prices. Data also finds that the vast majority of people — 97% — are much happier when they have a trip planned.
At Coast Hotels, we're thrilled that people are itching to get back out there. We want to help you have the best and safest possible experiences, so we've put together our top travel tips for 2021.
1. Take advantage of flexible booking policies
In addition to low prices, many airlines, hotels, and travel companies have introduced never-before-seen flexibility. Book with a company that guarantees you'll be able to make changes or get a refund if COVID-19 affects your trip.
2. Always read the fine print
Not all companies have such generous policies. One of our top travel tips is to do your due diligence before booking, so you know whether you may be able to postpone or get a refund — or if changes are allowed at all.
3. Follow all destination-specific COVID-19 guidelines
Every area has unique COVID-related regulations. Most require masks, and some may require a negative COVID test or even a quarantine period upon arrival. Before your trip, be sure to check Canada’s current travel advisories or the State Department's travel advisories if you’re in the United States for further research specific restrictions.
4. Purchase travel insurance
According to AARP, travel insurance excluded pandemics pre-COVID. While many providers now offer policies covering coronavirus-related travel issues, they're expensive. You're better off booking with a company offering travel flexibility. For example, Coast Hotels' Flex Rate is "fully cancellable up to 24 hours in advance of your stay date."
5. Find out if your credit cards offer coverage
Want some insider travelling advice? Your credit card may have built-in travel insurance. Many premium cards do, including CIBC Aventura® Visa, American Express Cobalt, Chase Sapphire and American Express Platinum. Note that you must pay for your travel with that specific card in order to be covered.
6. Keep your physical distance, masks and hand sanitizer
Although COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed, it will take time for the majority of people to get immunized. Wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance and sanitizing your hands remain some of the best and easiest ways to keep yourself — and others — safe.
7. Prepare for high demand once vaccines have been widely distributed
People across the world feel an enormous sense of "cabin fever," eager to get to the best places to travel 2021. Countless cancelled 2020 trips and special events have also been rescheduled, so experts predict incredibly high travel demand later this year.
8. Allow yourself more travel time at the airport
If you've flown since last spring, you may have zipped right through ticketing and security lines. Don't expect that to last, though — as more people begin flying again, airport crowds will start to resemble what they were pre-COVID.
9. Continue taking road trips for now
As travel continues to be somewhat in flux for the immediate future, consider road trips for the next several months. It's a wonderful way to travel, as driving is physical-distancing-friendly and allows you to (literally) cover a lot of ground.
10. Take advantage of "work-cations"
Before your office or campus reopens, why not book a "work-cation?" Many jobs and schoolwork can be done remotely, so consider booking a staycation nearby and working from there. You may find great deals on weekdays when you normally wouldn't be able to "get away."
11. Book big trips far into the future
According to data obtained by Business Insider, a stunning 65% of bookings for the best places to travel 2021 are postponed from 2020. It's okay to book vacations, but consider scheduling about a year out, for late 2021 or into 2022, to lessen the chances of having to reschedule again.
12. Plan ahead and have a Plan B
One of our best pieces of travelling advice is to have a Plan B to your Plan B. Even when you're able to safely travel, there's a very real possibility that things could change while you're away. Have plans in place for what you'll do if new restrictions are put in place while you’re travelling.
13. Research how COVID-19 has affected your destination
Individual regions — even adjacent counties — may have vastly different restrictions, so don't assume anything. You don't want to be surprised by the fact that beaches are closed or restaurants are doing takeout only.
14. Support local businesses in your destination
Communities all over the world have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, especially those that rely heavily on tourism. As you plan your trip, research small local businesses you can shop or dine at. Additionally, museums have been hard hit, so consider including them in your itinerary.
15. Consult professional travel advisors
Even under normal circumstances, there's a lot to manage when it comes to travel planning. Professionals keep up to date on new (and ever-changing!) safety and cleaning protocols, entry requirements, and more. Consider reaching out to them for the most current travelling advice.
16. Remind yourself safety precautions aren’t going away anytime soon
Similar to No. 6 on our list, it’s important to remember that even after vaccines are widely distributed safety precautions such as hand washing and mask wearing will still be part of everyday life for months to come. Even when travel becomes more widely available you should still be preparing yourself both mentally and physically for the same safety precautions.
17. Consider getting a COVID-19 test before and after travelling
The CDC recommends travellers take a test 1-3 days before departing and 3-5 days after returning. After all, there's a chance you could contract coronavirus during your trip.
18. Book a travel package for more reassurance
Many reputable companies, like Coast Hotels, offer travel packages. Generally booking a specific package has many benefits, including providing customers with flexibility should they need to postpone, change, or cancel, and making just one phone call is easier and less stressful than managing it all separately.
19. Be flexible
The right mindset makes all the difference, so one of our best travel tips is to come to terms with the fact that travel might be, well, a little weird for a while. Embracing it and rolling with the punches could be the key factor in salvaging a trip that doesn't go according to plan.
20. Plan outdoor activities or those that allow for physical distance
Instead of shopping and touring museums, consider hiking, fishing, or renting kayaks. As an added bonus it's also great for your mental and physical health.
21. Enjoy your 2021 getaway
Our last — but certainly not least — piece of travelling advice is to fully enjoy every aspect of it. From the physical change of scenery to the little things, like sleeping in a hotel bed, we hope you enjoy your 2021 getaway! When you're ready to book, Coast Hotels has 35 properties throughout North America ready to welcome you. Safe travels!