Holiday Etiquette Tips During COVID-19

With quarantine requirements being recently re-imposed by the FCO for holiday hot spots such as France, Spain and Malta, and other destinations being closely monitored by the government for any spikes in cases, there’s undoubtedly a bit of uncertainty around travel at the moment. However, that doesn’t mean that travel is off the cards completely, with many looking forward to exploring and enjoying the world once again in the coming months.

When we do head away we’ll find lots of aspects that will be the same as before: it will go by in a flash, no doubt we’ll pack far too many clothes, and we won’t find the Euro purse we left in that ‘safe place’ until after our hols. But of course, other things will have changed significantly, and it’s going to take some time to adjust to – dare we use the phrase of 2020 – the ‘new normal’.

As is often the case, the devil will be in the detail. And as a global society we’re taking this uncommon step together which makes it important to be a good traveller in even our smallest interactions. From keeping on top of hygiene advice to smiling with our eyes, there’s plenty we can do to get through this unusual year with camaraderie for our hospitable friends. Here’s our advice on what we need to be mindful of when travelling.

Find out the guidelines…and stick to them!

Yup, the single best thing we can do is brush up on the regulations at our destination and follow them to the letter. Rules are changing all the time, and locals might be going to great efforts to comply with a new one. If so, they’ll expect visitors to do the same, whether that’s wearing a mask outside as well as indoors, or being spatially aware so you conform to their particular social distancing requirements.

Don’t take risks

Holidays are all about relaxing and getting away from it all, and while we might in the past have been happy to truck on with our vacation even if we were feeling a little under the weather, things are very different now. To be good citizens of the world we shouldn’t take illness lightly, even when we’re abroad. If you’re feeling unwell and have any of the noted COVID-19 symptoms, it’s important to act as you would at home – to self-isolate straightaway and try to get tested. There’s also lots of small ways you can take greater care – for instance while you might be tempted to sample your friend’s fancy cocktail or delicious looking dish, it’s best not too.

Stay hygienic

Just like at home, practices that are likely to be second-nature to us now, such as washing our hands and using antibacterial hand gel frequently, sneezing or coughing into a tissue, or your elbow if you haven’t one to hand, and throwing used tissues straight into the bin should all continue. It’s also a good idea to pack antibacterial wipes to clean high contact points, such as remote controls and switches in your accommodation, for added peace of mind. And if you plan to put a bottle of hand gel in your hand luggage make sure that it’s under 100ml.

Try not to travel at peak times

In urban centres, office hours will dictate when public transport is busiest. It means that if you have flexibility to travel outside of those times, there will be a little more social distancing happening, so you’ll be safer, and other people will be safer too. With any luck, it won’t be too difficult to plan an action-packed day of sightseeing that starts around 10am and ends whenever you’ve run out of steam!

Be kind

Finally, being considerate is obvious, but in these weird times, it helps to keep it at the forefront of our minds. Little gestures, like being patient for a table at a restaurant or being respectful of a fellow holidaymaker’s extended personal space, make a world of difference to those feeling a little tense or confused. This point extends to being mindful that there might be a non-visible reason a person can’t wear a mask, in case we’re tempted to offer polite reminders. All in all, the hosts at our destination are navigating this ‘new normal’ just as much as we are, so a little patience goes a long way!