Travelling During Pandemic: 13 Worst Travel Habits You Could Have

13 Worst Travel Habits You Could Have With An Ongoing Pandemic

You might want to check yourself (or the people around you).

To travel or not to travel? That seems to be the question hovering around our heads these past few months. After being cooped up at home for so long, it’s only natural to crave some semblance of our lives before COVID-19 — including going out and exploring what the world has to offer. Furthermore, the tourism industry is gradually bouncing back, with more and more destinations opening up for domestic and international travel. And, of course, there’s essential and/or business travel. 

Hence, we don’t really want to pass down judgement on those whom we see are travelling during pandemic times. But whichever is your reason for travelling — and we hope it’s a responsible one — there are some things that are simply not up for debate. 

So, we’ve gathered all the worst travel habits you (or your friends and family) might be doing amid these anxious times. (Yes, we purposely made it 13 because hey — it’s supposed to be an ominous number, right? How apt, we know.)

Worst habits to have when travelling during pandemic times

1. Trying to find a way around travel documents

travelling during pandemic

Let’s start with what’s arguably the most common among current travel habits: actively thinking of shortcuts to ‘make their lives easier.’ This can range from not bothering with health declaration forms (“no one really checks these, right?”), to actively hunting for places where there are no strict protocols. 

Alternatively, some people even take advantage of their connections to try to sneak past checkpoints and/or bypass requirements. “I’ve had people ask my dad, who’s a doctor, for a ‘fake’ medical certificate just so they can travel,” shared one of our readers, Cassie*. “It’s so cringey and inconsiderate, especially at a time where it’s super important to assure that one is in good health.” 

2. Hiding any COVID-19-related symptoms

Ever hated how some people try to pass off potential symptoms as something petty like it’s ‘just a cold’? As if trying to deny the possibility of having COVID-19 would magically make it true? Yep, same here. 

Oh, and then there are those who take this denial up a notch. We’re talking about people who have a mindset like, “I’d rather not get tested for COVID-19 because I might be positive and therefore can no longer go out.” This then potentially leads to them omitting certain parts of their travel history or even faking their test results. 

The latter is, unfortunately, a real story: several tourists bound for Boracay were caught with falsified negative RT-PCR test results. And while they eventually tested negative after legitimate swab tests, they’ll still be facing criminal complaints, according to Philippine Daily Inquirer.

3. Not quarantining after a trip

At this point, this should already go without saying, as far as travelling during pandemic times is concerned: always self-quarantine upon coming back from a trip. Required or not, we can’t stress enough the importance of taking this seriously — especially when you’re living with other people! 

It’s alarming how some travellers are that complacent, just because they show no symptoms after returning from their travels. Well, we hate to break it to you, but there’s such a thing as being an asymptomatic carrier of the virus. Or worse — the possibility that the symptoms will show up later on! Either way, do you really wanna take that risk just for the sake of convenience? 

Also read: Why You Should Self-Quarantine After Travelling Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

4. Ignoring specific safety measures from facilities

travelling during pandemic

Yep, even when there are already signs placed right by the entrance! Remember that establishments like hotels, train stations, and airports are doing their best to keep everyone (i.e., both their staff and customers) safe, so let’s all do our part by following their protocols for queueing, hand sanitising, physical distancing, and the like. 

And for goodness’ sake — don’t get offended (or worse, act rude) when personnel remind you to follow the safety measures. If you’re going on vacation during the pandemic, the least you could do is let go of your sense of entitlement. 

5. Wearing your face mask the wrong way

Okay, this one’s not just for travel but more for everyday life. Still, it’s astounding how it’s not something that everyone does correctly — never mind the fact that it’s almost been a year since the pandemic came to be. So, yes, we figured that we might as well include it. 

Rule of thumb: a face mask goes from under your chin to all the way above your nose. Anything less than this defeats the purpose of protective equipment. It’s far from the comfiest thing in the world, we know. Yet, it’s part of the new normal as long as there’s still a pandemic. Although, you can still check out some safe hacks here to make your life easier. 

Also read: 8 Reasons Why Not Wearing A Face Mask and Ignoring Social Distancing Is Disrespectful to Everyone Else

6. Making people feel uncomfortable for wearing face masks

Here, we have another one that should fall not only under travel habits but also under daily ones. Have you ever gone out in public with a group and got pressured to take off your face mask out of ‘politeness’? 

Or worse, were you that person who shamed their companions for this? Bonus points if you added in an argument along the lines of, “We’re all clean and COVID-free here anyway.” Because if so, well, we’ve got news for you: you’re part of the problem. 

7. Pulling a ‘mask on, mask off’

travelling during pandemic

This could go in two ways and often occurs when taking group photos outside. One is when you only put on your face mask when it’s picture-taking, just so you don’t get flack upon posting on social media. The other is when you remove your mask in public for the ’Gram… and don’t even bother maintaining a safe distance from other people in the shot.

8. Travelling in big groups

travelling during pandemic

Especially if your companions are people who aren’t from the same household as you! And come on, do we really still need to explain this and the many ways it could go wrong?

9. Shaming your travel buddies who aren’t comfortable enough to travel yet

Yes, we’re well aware that travelling during pandemic times is still a ‘pick your poison’ scenario. If you wish to go on vacation and help keep domestic tourism live — by all means, go for it. But of course, remember to be responsible (see previous points) and extra careful. 

Also, bear in mind that not everyone in your circle has the same mindset or even living situation as you! Some of your friends are probably also itching to go out and explore again, but can’t for various reasons. Rule of thumb: respect one another’s personal boundaries and choices.

10. Keeping up icky hygiene practises

Some top-of-mind real-life examples: sneezing or coughing without covering, not washing your hands before eating, spitting wherever you please, and so on…

Clearly, these are already filed under terrible travel habits way before the pandemic. But if you still continue to do so at a time when hygiene is of utmost priority, then you maybe need to reevaluate your sense of decency. Just sayin’. 

11. Asking tour guides to hold your stuff

Assuming that you’ve already read the previous items and yet, you still think this is acceptable, we have one question for you: WHY? 

12. Disobeying local rules and regulations

It’s no secret that the tourism industry has been significantly affected by the pandemic. Even as several destinations are gradually reopening to keep their local livelihood afloat, it’s still quite the risk especially for the people working in this sector. That said, if you’re travelling to any place outside your hometown, do remember to follow local ordinances such as age restrictions, mandatory curfews, and quarantine protocols! You are, after all, simply a guest in their home. 

Also read: Will Revenge Travel Save the Tourism Industry?

13. Forgetting to pack the pandemic essentials

travelling during pandemic

Again, travelling during pandemic times is already a ‘pick your poison’ scenario. But travelling without necessary items like soap, alcohol, hand sanitiser, and extra face masks? Well, it’s basically a death sentence, if you’d ask us. We’d rather not sound morbid, but it is what it is, folks. 

Also read: Life in A Post-Lockdown World: 7 Things We Need to Do!

Granted, most of these are already horrible travel habits even way before the pandemic. Nonetheless, avoiding all these no-nos are definitely important now more than ever! 

And okay, we know we’ve said this time and time again but it could never be stressed enough: we all need to do our part in keeping one another safe. 

* Name has been changed for privacy reasons.

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