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Tips for a seamless post-pandemic holiday

Taveuni, Fiji Taveuni, Fiji

Having resumed travel in what seems like a different time and place, I want to share a few tips for those whose past travel is pre-covid or pre-digital for everything.

Please share a tip of your own in the comments section.

1. Although contactless servicing is a new norm, don’t assume your digital wallet or smart phone will work every where - every time. While these technologies offer convenience, smaller restaurants, taxis and supplier services can be offline or not digitally connected to your systems. In a remote locale as I write (Taveuni, Fiji), I am traveling with 3 nations currencies as well as 3 debit cards and one credit card. I have already had to use 6 of the 7 payment options. Cash was still king when transactions failed and greatly appreciated by the local companies. Not all bank cards work in local ATM’s. Keep a copy of your ATM receipts (regardless of whether or not they issue cash) in case of post-travel dispute.

2. You are entering an ever-changing landscape for global entry requirements. Get your evisas well in advance. Although advertised as a same day to 72-hour digital approval, a recent electronic travel authority took 6 days to arrive with the arrival only 24 hours before my flight. This story is repeated in travel forums with many travelers turned away at the airline check-in counters. Planning can eliminate or reduce pre-departure stress.

3. Keep both digital and hard copies important documents. This includes proof of vaccination, airline tickets, visas, certifications for driving/diving, and any other entry or Government document. This will streamline the process at counters and points of entry.

4. Buy travel insurance. Delays, trip cancellation, out of country-health, trip interruption, unforeseen incidents become less concerning with the peace of mind of the insurance policy in hand.

5. Check the weather and your flight status prior to traveling and prepare accordingly. Bring a good book or downloaded movie on hand for potential delays along with snacks. With a snowstorm hitting metro Vancouver on my day of departure, my own 26-hour flight to New Zealand took 3 days with a night on the floor of the airport, and a night in an unexpected stop-over hotel. If you aren’t following the news from North America, Europe, and Asia, I can assure you this delay scenario is playing out heavily this winter and holiday season.

6. Keep a change of clothes, and all your medication with you in case of lost or delayed baggage. This recommendation includes your side trips once at the destination (where you leave your main luggage behind at a hotel or airport storage locker). The ever-changing landscape can mean you can’t get back to where you thought you were going to go.

7. Pad your time between flights, tours, and any transition points. A once two-to-three-hour window can evaporate quickly in the new disrupted travel norm. Consider doing less better. Stay longer in each location and move at a slower pace. And while you wait, adopt an attitude of patience. Stress is not a friend to your well-being.

8. Support local economies heavily. Most of the destinations you will visit have had little revenue in the 2 ½ years prior.

9. Expect higher prices. Once tourism picked up, the cost of doing business also picked up. I have traveled or worked with tourism on four continents and everyone of them has increased by 15 -30%. And despite the higher price point, service levels can be lower than in previous years due to labour shortages (globally), staff illness/absence, neglected machinery, and supply scarcity.

With all the moving pieces, the travel scene is still remarkable and rewarding.

Dive Rainbow reef, Taveuni

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