We recently travelled overseas — our first trip since pre-covid. We attended a beautiful wedding in the U.K.. Back in October we felt that by this time of year, we’d be good and ready to get back on a jet plane and since the event took place away from any big city, we decided it would be an ideal getaway. Of course, we had hoped that Covid would be done but unfortunately it’s still dragging its heels in many parts of the world. I’m in no way suggesting that we have to stay cocooned at home, but if you’re comfortable, do your research and book that trip!
Travel now looks a bit different from pre-pandemic times so there are a few adjustments that you’ll want to consider as you plan your vacation and with less stress in today’s environment.
Fresh from my recent travels, here are a few tips that I hope you’ll find useful as we head into the summer season of travel…
The “C” Word Mentality: While many places are more relaxed about Covid it doesn’t mean that the virus isn’t continuously evolving nor has it disappeared. It’s still very much hanging around. When speaking with locals on our recent trip to the U.K., it appeared that most were in a “we’re just going to have to learn to live with it” mentality. Mask and vaccine mandates vary globally so check accordingly. If you’re fully vaxxed you should be able to manage without the virus landing you in a hospital. Pack a couple of Rapid Antigen Test Kits for peace of mind, some cold, sinus & flu meds and additional disposable masks to have handy.
Covid Testing When Travelling: Currently at the time of publishing this blog post, the Canadian government has waved mandatory random Covid testing when you return to our country. But that doesn’t mean testing has disappeared entirely. They can still ask you to test only the testing will be done off-site rather than at the airport. Also, each person travelling back to Canada is required to download the ArriveCAN app and input required information within a 72 hours of when you’re travelling back regardless of method of travel. This is supposedly to help speed up the process at the border crossings. Definitely check a couple days before your leave or arrive for the most up-to-date information. More details and updates can be found here.
Masking on planes, trains and other public vehicles: Currently airlines are still requiring us to mask up. For your safety and comfort, disposable N95 or three layer masks are ideal. Honestly, on a 7 hour flight (plus factor in delays at Toronto Pearson leaving the country UGH) it isn’t that bad if the mask is comfortable. Forget the fabric ones and ditch the used disposable mask upon arrival at your destination once you’re outside of the airport. Wear a fresh one if you desire. We waited three hours for luggage at our Terminal in the UK with a sea of international travellers. ‘Nuff said. Follow your comfort level and respect local and travel carrier guidelines. BTW, the times when I felt like I wanted to wear a mask I was not harassed in anyway. People were respectful of each other’s choices. Phew!
Get yourself Apple AirTags. The airports around the world are facing a shortage of workers, including baggage handlers. It’s a fact. As various airports challenged with re-hiring and hiring workers it will take a few months before they can catch up to the rapid increase of travellers. Not only do they need to hire, but they also have to do police background checks on each worker. Which means, in the meantime, there are more chances of luggage being displaced. On our recent trip, there were a handful of travellers we knew who did not have their luggage arrive for several days, if at all. Luckily for one, he had included AirTags inside his luggage and was able to track the exact location using the Apple “Find My” technology on his iPhone. With this information, he was able to speak with airport representatives to retrieve the lost article. How detailed was it? He saw that it was still in Toronto when we arrived in the U.K.. I’d also recommend AirTags (they are the size of a coin) for handbags and backpacks while you travel (or even at home). You never know when that will come in handy in foreign lands. We quickly purchased them when we came home.
What to pack in your Carry-On: Following along the theme of displaced luggage, your carry-on luggage is your most important piece now. Aside from including hand sanitizer, wipes, prescription meds, and whatever else you deem essential and depending on your type of travel, have a “back up” outfit just in case. We have another trip coming up overseas and I already know to pack three articles of clothing that can pack small but have several options in wear to get me through at least the first couple of days in the event I cannot get to a store or my luggage goes MIA. You’ve heard me sing the praises of Canadian designer, Diane Kroe‘s very versatile travel wear. Having taken her pieces on my travels for over 10 years now, I can tell you they still remain a staple now more than ever. Dresses turn into tunics, blouses and skirts in an instant. Travel leggings can take you from comfort to elegant in a flash. Wear a clean pair of white sneakers and pack a nice pair of flats and you’ll be amazed at how put together you’ll look. For the actual carry-on bag, I prefer something that is soft instead of a hardshell. I have a Longchamp tote that I had purchased 10 years ago at the duty free shop in Paris and it remains to be my favourite carry-on as it also doubles as a city bag for sight seeing without screaming tourist. The other bag I love is by FWD (forwardwithdesign.com) a modern city backpack that can carry quite bit but doesn’t look or feel bulky. Remember, you can take a handbag AND one piece of carry-on on most flights without additional charges.
This Orgami Dress is one I have in several colours and patterns.
Apple Maps is super handy not just to see the best route to get from A to B but also to see the terrain, or the streets along the way. Maps offers a 3D view with rich details, enhanced navigation with amazing details. Whether you want to directions or just find a coffee shop or a few landmarks to guide you, this proves to be a perfect tool for everyday. Real images show users on their devices what to expect. There is also step-by-step walking guidance in augmented reality that can be activated by simply raising your iPhone to scan buildings within sight and lead you to where you want to go in cities including London, LA, New York, San Diego, Washington D.C., Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and more. Handy for your walks, dog walks, runs, bike routes, public transit and drives.
Keeping on top of your Fitness & Wellness: While on vacation you may want to maintain your workout routine or need some added stretching after that long flight! Whether you take advantage of an indoor gym or explore an outdoor setting, there are options to help you keep fit even right inside your hotel room. I’ve found Apple Fitness+ handy as it offers up a wide variety of workouts that you can take wherever you go — there are guided mindfulness audio mediation sessions, yoga, are great for travel to keep stress levels down. Apple Fitness+ is the first fitness and wellness service built entirely around Apple Watch.
If you love a good run and a fan of their Time to Run audio experience, you can now experience one of Canada’s most beautiful cities in Time to Run Vancouver. The series is designed to help users become more consistent and better runners, with each episode focused on a popular running route in some of the most notable and iconic locations. Coach Sherica specifically designed this interval run for broad appeal with a mix of easy and hard intensities, and rounded out by an all-Canadian playlist including Drake, Michael Bublé, The Weeknd, Tegan and Sara and more, to get your heart pumping.
Finally, travel with a load of patience and kindness. The world is adjusting and catching up to our eagerness to get back to travel once again. Whether travel is for work or leisure, we all need to factor in extra time and extra care for us and for others. Give yourself extra time at the airports arriving and departing. The stories are real. Long lines for customs and luggage are not exaggerated particularly during peak travel times. Just breathe. Download an audiobook or two for all those wait times and remember that the journey is very much part of the travel.
Have you travelled recently? Do you have any tips you’d like to share? Drop them below!