For the first time in a long time, travel is becoming a real possibility. The pandemic hasn’t disappeared (and it’s not going away any time soon) but we’re turning a corner. More of us are getting vaccinated against COVID-19 every day, and more of us have a ready-to-travel mindset. After months of doing everything from home, we’re ready to get out — and really get away! And we’re not wasting time. About 2 in 3 folks say they have a trip planned within the next 3 months. Most are looking to get out of state or go abroad. That’s more than since the beginning of the pandemic. TSA airport screenings are up. As excited as we are to get out of our COViD-19 caves, we’re also anxious. We’re worried about getting sick or stuck in our destination. And we fear the unknown.
These worries are valid. But we can manage our stress about traveling by taking action. The right planning can help us manage our anxiety and prepare for the changes that will come with post-pandemic travel. So, if you’re just starting to think about getting out or you’ve already booked a trip, here are some of the most important things to consider so you can make smart, safe choices and still have a great time.
Traveling can be a wonderful, deeply enriching experience. It’s an exciting way to recharge, enjoy the world, and open up to new perspectives. It also takes us out of our element. By nature, traveling puts us in unfamiliar places. There’s always going to be some level of uncertainty when you take a trip, because there’s no way to be 100% sure that everything will go as planned.
The pandemic only amplifies that. But it doesn’t take away our ability to deal with it. Despite the new risks in post-pandemic travel, it’s not the first time many of us have had to deal with more travel anxiety as a result of current events. If you flew after 9/11, you saw firsthand how tense airports became and how much changed. Still, we found ways to cope and overcome. We made new plans and adapted to new travel screenings and restrictions. And some of the changes we made became our “new normal” for traveling. We’ve been taking our shoes off for TSA airport screenings for about 20 years now because of a single incident in December 2001.
The point? You can’t totally avoid risks in traveling or in life, but you can manage them better with thoughtful planning. The truth is that the choices you make as you prepare for your trip can affect your whole experience — from the risks of getting stuck, to how prepared you are if the unexpected happens. And, although there’s a lot you can’t predict, you do have total control over your decisions. You can make more informed choices about where to go, how to prepare and get there, and how much risk you’ll take on to get where you want to be.