Our family is carefully emerging and rejoining the community. It was an easier decision to go into isolation than to come out of our bubble. AJ returning to school was the beginning and although Hubby is working from home, he’s had to go to meetings and BJ, well he was just busting to get out and about. The recent spike in COVID cases in the state of Victoria is a reminder we need to be hyper-vigilant about hygiene and safety when we are out. It seems we all need to adjust to a new normal. We were never more aware of that than when we were travelling. We found it incredibly liberating to be back out and about so we thought we’d share our post COVID travel tips.
POST COVID TRAVEL TIPS
If you are ready to take those first tentative steps back out into the community and wondering where to start, we recommend the great outdoors. It’s easy to social distance and on a fine day there’s nothing better than fresh air. Whether it’s a trip to a quiet beach or a walk on a bush track, it’s sure to invigorate.
Travelling further from home for a short getaway, we recommend somewhere where you are self-contained. A cabin in a holiday park is a great option as you can isolate to a degree within your own cabin. Choose one with a view or nice walk nearby and you’ll enjoy a break from home with minimal risk.
On our recent trip away we stayed in a cabin for the first few days of our getaway and then an apartment with a stellar view. Staying in self-contained accommodation meant we could cook for ourselves and we preferred not having daily servicing (like in a hotel) as we knew no-one was touching the surfaces once we’d arrived.
HWWT TIP – Travel with antibacterial wipes to wipe down surfaces if you’re concerned. If there is no dishwasher in the apartment or cabin to assure crockery has been properly cleaned, wash the cups and cutlery you plan to use.
We ventured out to dine in a few restaurants while we were away. We were pleased to see diligent cleaning of tables. Even when we swapped tables after sitting down only for a few minutes, we noted the table we’d abandoned was cleaned thoroughly. I felt guilty for swapping but appreciated the cleaning protocol in place.
We noticed cafes and restaurants cleaning menus down between patrons but we researched our food choices prior to arriving which saved time and eliminating the need to touch menus. Restaurant staff have so many additional processes at the moment, I think it helps venues too.
Keep in mind, although you are encouraged to hand sanitise at the door of a restaurant, and tables and menus are cleaned regularly, chairs are not. The first thing we did after sitting down in a restaurant was to sanitise again prior to eating because we’d been touching the chairs.
HWWT Tip – Check if the restaurant takes bookings. With limited numbers allowed, spontaneity is a thing of the past. If you can’t book, we suggest arriving early and be prepared to queue.
If you prefer to grab take away, phone ahead and order to limit your time waiting with others. Use a credit card to pay to limit contact. And if you plan on eating at a park bench, take your own table covering. A table cloth is our new must have travel accessory.
Getting a MLAK key (Master Locksmiths Access Key) has never been more important. Our theory is MLAK locked bathroom facilities will have far less users. A limited number of people will have access to these bathrooms. Use less populated bathroom facilities. Take Isopropyl wipes to clean down grab rails before use. Use tissues or hand towel to open the door after washing your hands.
We keep a MLAK key attached to the back of BJ’s wheelchair for easy access.
You can read more about the MLAK key and how to get one on the Master Locksmiths website.
Stopping for petrol is part of road tripping. Where possible we use the BP Me app so we can pay for petrol using our phone and don’t need to go into the service station. On our drive to the country this wasn’t possible so we chose out of the way petrol stations rather than the big highway centres with high traffic. We always use gloves and hand sanitiser as added protection when using the petrol pump.
SIGHTSEEING & ATTRACTIONS
Venues have restricted numbers. Where visitors and tourists could once turn up and buy a ticket or go into a free attraction without prior notice, bookings are now required. Particularly in school holidays or on weekends, it’s important to check an attraction’s booking policy. We saw many people being turned away from venues as capacity had been reached under the COVID restrictions. Go online, research and book ahead to avoid disappointment.
In Australia it’s still recommended you download the COVID-safe app. We’ve all downloaded it to our phones.
Signing in to venues, restaurants and attractions is now necessary in Australia to assist with contact tracing should there be a COVID-19 case linked to a particular venue. Take your own pen to avoid touching the pen used by everyone else signing in. I keep one in an outside pocket of my little travel backpack and also one in the back pocket of BJ’s wheelchair.
Hand sanitiser is only effective for 7 to 8 uses and with all venues requiring people to use it before entering it doesn’t take long to reach this number. Keep this in mind and wash your hands in between.
Keep tissues in your pocket to use for door handles and other communal touch points.
A pump pack of hand sanitiser in the door of the car makes it easy to sanitise hands before touching the steering wheel or seat belt. Holiday parks have key pad entry access and having the hand sanitiser in a pump pack made it quick and easy to access as soon as we’d used the key pad.
If, like me, you can’t go long without a cup of tea or coffee, travel with your own. We think eliminating unnecessary stops on a road trip at popular tourist road stops is a good idea.
If you have the space, take your own pillow with you and if not, consider travelling with your own pillow protectors.
And remember the basics – social distance, wash your hands and avoid crowds.
I suggest checking the government health alerts in your area and seeking personal travel advice from your health care professional. The tips we’ve shared are simply our thoughts on being out in the community and travelling when we know COVID-19 isn’t going to disappear any time soon.
Our time away was wonderful for all of us. It was certainly different to our usual travels and we were on alert at all times but we feel we did our best to keep our family safe. Staying at home is the only 100% guarantee but we felt it was time for us to get back into the community in a limited way.
If you are planning future travel, you may also find the tips we received from travel industry insiders helpful and you can read that here.
Don’t forget it’s also important to clean your wheelchair regularly when you’ve been out and about. You can read our tips and our reader’s tips here.