Travelling is back after two years of lockdowns and restrictions. During this time, we were, more or less, stuck inside our houses or, in any case, could only go on pretty short trips nearby. It seems that this pause in practice has made people forget what travelling requires.
1. Forgetting the basics
They say you never forget how to ride a bicycle. But you are not quite as good as you used to after a long break, are you? The same applies to any gained skill, maybe you do not really forget it, it just gets a little rusty.
For a recent trip, I made sure I had everything with me. I checked the weather for each day, chose my outfits, packed all my chargers and a battery pack, even took a small travel iron with me. Only to get to the hotel and come to the realisation I had forgotten to pack pyjamas. Thankfully, my problem was not that serious.
Shelly Hunter told The Washington Post that she actually forgot her ID and only realised it at the security check. “While I was in the security line, I could not find my wallet. I thought, ‘That’s it, I can’t go.’”, she said. Luckily for her, her daughter remembered that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in the United States also accepts other forms of identification, so Shelly was able to use her Costco card instead.
Kimberly Davis, founder and CEO of a travel agency says even the most experienced travellers have forgotten the basics. The most frequent problem is that people forget to check their passport expiry dates and visa requirements, besides the smaller endeavours like how or what to pack and how to change money.
2. Remembering old skills and learning new ones
It is understandable to forget some things after being out of practice for two years. At the same time, travelling is not the same as it used to be. The pandemic has completely changed how we prepare for a trip. “Although travel is back, it is not back to normal. This summer, we’re seeing cruises cancelled at the last minute because there are not enough staff on board. We’re seeing slow service at resorts and restaurants. And we’re seeing massive airline cancellations”, travel agency owner Helen Prochilo told The Washington Post.
Travellers are on information overload, with changing coronavirus test requirements, local mask mandates, flight schedule changes. They have too much to think about.Alan Fyall, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management, told The Washington Post
Most of the countries have, by now, scrapped their Covid-19 entry requirements and restrictions, but some still remain and, what is even worse, they are still frequently changing. Besides the usual visa requirements that travellers must usually check, they now need to verify what Covid-19 requirements their destination has.
Another travel agency owner related how one of her clients was denied entry into the Dominican Republic because she did not follow the correct instructions. Although she had all her documents, she was supposed to upload them to an online customs declaration portal which would have then generated a QR code to be used as proof. This was another lucky situation, as she was able to quickly fill in the form at the airport and continue her trip.
3. Practice makes perfect
While the pandemic seems to be approaching an end, the risk of a new wave is still high and Covid-19 related travel requirements will probably be around for a little longer. We have to adapt to this new reality and add checking these requirements to our ‘before trip to do lists’.
As for remembering the basics, we will surely get back into it as international travel is picking up again. In the meantime, it helps to make a list before starting packing. Write down everything you need and add to it as soon as you think of something you need to pack, even if it seems an obvious thing to take. And remember to check, then check again, your documents and travel and visa requirements. Even if you think you already know, just verify again, it never hurts to confirm than to be sorry about it later.