Travel hasn’t been easy throughout the pandemic, but as vaccines become increasingly accessible, the world is gradually opening back up. In fact, many experts anticipate a travel boom in the near future, as cooped-up travelers look to satisfy their pent-up wanderlust.
While we’re all excited to get back on the road, however, we shouldn’t expect the experience to be exactly as it was before the pandemic—at least not at first.
Traveling in a post-COVID world will require a little extra preparation, but the rewards will be well worth it.
Here are a few things to consider as you plot your first post-pandemic trip:
1. Pack your Pandemic Essentials
Even if you’re vaccinated, it’s still a smart move to pack plenty of high-quality masks and hand sanitizer. These items will provide you with an extra layer of personal security, and they’ll also reduce the possibility of your transmitting the virus to any unvaccinated people you encounter.
Wearing a mask while you explore a foreign city isn’t ideal, but hey, it beats sitting at home watching Netflix in your underwear.
2. Ensure Your Documentation is in Order
Travel has always required us to jump through some bureaucratic hoops, from making sure our passports our up to date, to applying for visas for countries with stricter entry policies. That will be truer than ever in a post-pandemic world.
As international borders begin to open back up, custom officials will likely require proof of vaccination before they stamp your passport. For the moment, paper documents seem to suffice in most cases, but many countries are workshopping digital vaccine passports that will allow you to store your documents on your phone.
Whatever the case, you’ll want to make sure you have all your documents in order long before you board your flight. Otherwise, you risk running into some complicated tie-ups when you land.
3. Prepare for a Different Experience
Traveling will always be an amazing experience, but it might be a little different for the first few years of a post-pandemic era.
For example, don’t visit Tokyo’s Shibuya crossing an expect to see it thronging with people like it was in 2019. Don’t expect a packed stadium at your favorite team’s home games or the next big boxing match in Las Vegas.
Of course, there are going to be some major perks to post-pandemic travel too. Your favorite beach might be a little less crowded. It might be a little easier to get a table at that popular restaurant you’ve been dying to try. Who knows—you might even get a whole row to yourself on your next international flight.
Yes, travel might be a little different for a while, but it’s going to be awesome in new ways too.