Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has issued warnings that tougher travel restrictions are coming. Canadians could be stranded abroad if they choose to travel. When the new testing requirement came into effect early January, requiring every Canadian boarding a plane home to provide a negative test result, some people indeed got stranded already. As annoying as that may be, traveling during a global pandemic means accepting an inherent risk of uncertain conditions, which these travellers apparently were willing to take. As a result, they now suffer the consequences. Annoying, but that’s the reality of today’s world.
Not very Canadian measures
But apparently, according to Trudeau, restrictions are about to get even tighter. The warning to be locked out and unable to come home is not very “friendly” Canadian at all, at least according to this immigrant. The new plan is to quarantine people returning to Canada in a hotel at their own expense for 14 days to limit the spread of COVID-19. Funny how all those things came into effect after several Canadian provincial and federal politicians opted to travel abroad for vacation anyway.
Similarly, countries around the world are imposing new travel restrictions. For example, travellers from non-European countries to The Netherlands must take a rapid test within four hours of their flight, making it nearly impossible to meet the requirements. In response, KLM (the Dutch national airline) has announced to cancel all of their long-haul flights. For a moment I thought I’d be “trapped” in Canada again without the blue planes flying over from time to time. As airports try to find ways to meet the demanding restrictions they have found a way to continue to fly to Amsterdam from some Canadian cities, for now.
Freedom means having options
While I don’t have any booked flights until much later this year, the idea that you can board a flight if you really wanted or had to is better than no flights going at all. Freedom comes from the ability to make a choice. That doesn’t mean you have to execute that option. Having (and adding) options to your life is better than the inability to do so.
I just had to get that off my chest. But, this post is not meant to rebel against Covid restrictions. It’s with a heavy heart I follow the news of riots in various Dutch cities this week. Even if you felt the need to protest, destroying property is not ok. This impacts small business owners who already may not be able to survive this crisis. Now, they may have been pushed over the proverbial edge by seeing their stores and inventory destroyed.
Travel is NOT the enemy
Contrary to what the media and most governments want to make us believe travel itself is not the enemy. Some people still believe that diseases are more easily transmitted on board of a plane. This is not true, according to research by the airline industry. Filtering and refreshing cabin air is claimed to protect you from viruses spreading onboard the plane itself. The video below explains the process:
Unless you sit beside someone who carries a virus, you should be relatively safe. Another reason to fly premium or business, as that usually means a significant increase in your personal space. On a side note: if you follow my Travel Hacking principles, flying in style may be more achievable than you thought your budget allowed.
Your behaviour is the problem
Instead of blaming the airline industry, I’d like to focus on accountability and taking ownership. What increases or decreases your risk of infection is largely based on your behaviour. It doesn’t matter whether you go grocery shopping, to a gym, or personal stylist. You can take measures to keep your distance, wear a mask, wash your hands, etc. to decrease your chances of getting infected. Where in the world you are may have less of an impact than the actions you choose to take, or not take.
“Social distancing” at the beach is how I’ve always travelled even before it became the popular thing to do. On some trips, I like to truly get away and disconnect, and not necessarily see or meet other people. If the plane ride itself isn’t the issue, could you, theoretically, travel to Mexico or Hawai’i and follow all recommended practices to stay as safe as you would be at home?
Should you travel abroad during Covid?
The two questions I hear a lot these days:
“Should you travel abroad during Covid—and where can you go?”
I think the first one is a still a NO. Which makes the second question mostly irrelevant. I’m not recommending anyone to travel during a global pandemic, as this virus was able to spread as fast as it did due to the geographic mobility of people and the connections they make at each of their destinations. The new “UK” version of the virus, which is more contagious, has spread rapidly. People still make connections with one another after travelling to another part of the world. The spread likely has more to do with behaviour than it does with travel itself. Travel is not the enemy.
Now that’s off my chest: Do I miss the travel and the ability to go somewhere at a moment’s notice? Absolutely. But if you read my approach to organizing travel in my book, or learn my principles in my Travel Revolution class, you’ll know that the potential of getting stuck somewhere is not my idea of maximizing your Experience Value on that trip. I haven’t been anywhere for almost a year now, and I choose to continue to not go anywhere for the time being.
Making plans: my booking spree
I have been on a booking spree lately to make some serious plans for when travel becomes easier again. Not traveling in 2020 didn’t mean I didn’t follow my travel hacking principles during those long months. Right now I have more vouchers, points and miles for free flights than I know what to do with. That’s not meant to impress you, but to impress upon you that you can do the same.
Despite the stricter measures, I still believe we will travel again this year. Traveling more 6-12 months from now means it’s time to start making some plans today. If you’d like to join me I invite you to have a look at the preview of my Travel Revolution program. Let’s make some plans!Travel Revolution