We know many of you are itching to get away and explore the world again, we’re right there with you! But as the pandemic goes on, we have to do our best to be safe while continuing to live our lives, albeit differently than we once did.

September 27 is World Tourism Day, and we thought it was a good time to share some things to consider when planning a vacation in 2021-2022.

Should I Even Take a Vacation?
Holidays aren’t completely off the table. But it’s best we listen to some experts for insight on how to navigate this new world and still get in some R and R.

First of all. Take your vacation!

Psychotherapist and author, Bryan Robinson, who has penned dozens of non-fiction books, including Chained to the Desk: A Guidebook for Workaholics, Their Partners and Children, and the Clinicians who Treat Them knows a thing or two about the value of a healthy work/life balance. And while some might not feel comfortable planning a vacation the way they once did – there are options.

A recent study showed more than half of workers didn’t think mental health was a valid reason to take time off work. But there are many, including Robinson, who argue otherwise.

After pandemic quarantine and isolation, all of us deserve time away from work. Studies show overworking long days on a weekly basis make us less productive, while detaching from work makes us more energetic and resilient and boosts our productivity and the company’s bottom line … Time away from the office—vacation, micro-cation or stay-cation—is an important part of any good self-care plan. You’ve worked hard and likely suffered symptoms from the pandemic and deserve time off from your job. It heals your mind, body and spirit, clears your head and gives you a perspective on life you can’t get when immersed in the daily grind.” Bryan Robinson writes in Forbes.com

Maybe taking a long vacation or one far from home doesn’t work for you right now. With ongoing pandemic protocols, air travel or hotel stays might not be your speed. But there are other ways to get away.

Keep it Simple - Plan A Shorter Vacation Close to Home
Whether it’s a stay-cation or a day-cation – find what works for you.

STAY-CATION - Many people are not yet confident in venturing too far and may feel more comfortable staying close to home. A stay-cation, done right, can be a great way to get a mind and body break.

Robinson suggests you unplug from your usual household routines. Rather than doing laundry, do some gardening or tackle a hobby you just haven’t had time for.

He adds; “Make sure even if you “stay” that you’re still “away.” That means passing daily work duties over to a colleague and changing your email and voicemail to let people know you are off the job for a bit.

WHAT ABOUT A DAY-CATION? There’s lots to discover close to home. Find a hiking trail, a tourist attraction or plan a picnic. If you get out while it’s still warm enough, you can take advantage of outdoor spaces which work well with social distancing.

Pandemic Travel Planning Tips
Of course, the pandemic situation changes frequently. But some travel opportunities are opening up. Do your research and know the rules you need to abide by when leaving and returning home and what the situation is like at your destination.

Whether you stay close to home, explore somewhere across this great country or go further abroad here are some pandemic travel planning tips:

  1. Check for health advisories and travel warnings - Make sure there are no “significant” travel warnings or health advisories for your destination. Each city, region and country has different rules and advisories in place. Requirements at home may be different than at your destination. Check Canada’s travel and tourism site and other trusted government websites for more information regarding your destination.
  1. Keep your eye out for a deal – As travel cautiously begins to pick up, hotels, airlines, restaurants, and tourism-related businesses are anxious to attract people. Be sure to do your homework and find something that’s safe for you and your budget.
  1. Drive instead of fly – Why not limit as much risk as possible by booking a destination that is close enough to drive, helping you avoid the crowded airports and airplanes.
  1. Get travel insurance - Travel insurance has always been important. Whether it’s a trip to Vegas or the province next door, having insurance coverage for unexpected emergencies is very important. Make sure you get travel insurance for both medical coverage and trip cancellation and interruption. It might cost a little more up-front but it could save you money in the end and give you peace of mind during these uncertain times. Investigate what coverage you might have through work, your credit card company or with your travel agent. GMS offers TravelStar Emergency Medical coverage because no one expects to have an accident when they’re travelling, but they do happen.
  1. Get registered - Many international destinations are opening up to visitors. Just make sure you research before you arrive. If your travels take you overseas, register as a Canadian travelling abroad. It costs nothing but will be invaluable if government officials need to reach out to you in case of a family emergency, natural disaster or civil unrest.
  1. Pack smart and safe - Pack lots of masks, hand sanitizer and wipes for road trips. If you’re flying, be sure to wear a mask when in close quarters with others, and be sure to wash and sanitize your hands often. Get into the habit of wiping down your luggage, especially the wheels and handles.

Getting away is good for you – just be smart and safe about it. With these six tips, you’ll be well on your way to that rest and recovery you deserve!