How to Mindfully Travel During COVID


Travel in the time of COVID may sound wild, but what if we need it more than ever? I’ve long been a proponent of traveling mindfully and curate retreats where travel is approached in an intentional, thoughtful manner. While it’s been necessary to hunker down for some time, it’s also important that we learn to readjust, prepare for the future, and not live in constant fear, as that’ll do a number on our health. As someone with autoimmune issues, I don’t take this likely and fully understand the exacerbated fears of COVID. But I do feel as though if I can do it… then so can you. Traveling mindfully is key here and part of our new “normal,” a world where we better accept how uncertainty has always been the only truth. 

In planning personal travel, as well as evaluating how to travel with clients, I’ve developed a recipe for mindful, safe travel in the era of COVID. It’ll take thoughtful care and planning on your end, but traveling mindfully always has. The goal is to be thoughtful, adaptive, accepting, and quite frankly, to be respectful of your fellow travelers and the humans in the destinations where you’re going.

I hope you enjoy reading this, and I’d love to hear your tips for travel during this time, should you have any of your own.

Plan ahead and keep a human-centric approach

Gone are the days of traveling spontaneously, at least for now. When it comes to excursions, dining out, and well, just about every aspect of taking a trip, you have to plan ahead. Firstly, bear in mind that different states and countries have different rules and regulations. Research where you’re going to see what rules they have. The bottom of this blog post has a checklist you can refer to for things to look out for! 

Remember that as much as you want to protect yourself, you want to be mindful of the communities where you’re going and how they are affected. You may want to get tested yourself before your trip. Above all, remember to be kind: businesses, especially those in travel and hospitality, have been especially affected by COVID. Things may be slower, and many are adjusting to new operations and lower pay. Everyone is doing their best to try and make things work. In an interesting way, traveling mindfully reminds us how interconnected we all are with each other as a human race. Be a traveler, NOT a tourist. 

Don’t be afraid to take it slow 

Gone are the days of packing in as much as possible to your travel plans. Resist the urge to overdo it on your itinerary. COVID has forced us to take it slow and chill out in some positive, unexpected ways. There are new limits, ranging from how many visitors can enter certain national parks to how many people can visit a museum. It’s likely that you won’t be packing your schedule like before, simply because many of the options no longer exist! Let this be an advantage and see the opportunity created by the space. Use it to get creative, to take things more slowly, and really adapt to the vibe of the place you’re visiting. Spend an entire afternoon at that cafe, journaling, and people watching. Visit just one museum instead of three, but fully relish the experience and take it slow while you’re there. Turn to nature if and when you can. 

Travel more sustainably 

This one may be tougher in that it requires a commitment of time and planning. This has less to do with our post COVID world and more to do with being a human being on planet earth. Consider traveling with cutlery, reusable cups and water bottles, and whatever else you may need. Many restaurants only do takeout now, and you can greatly decrease your footprint by having reusable utensils. 

What to plan ahead for: A Checklist 

When it comes to preparedness, you’ll need to go beyond your overall research to get organized for a trip that will restore you rather than leave you feeling stressed. On my Impact Retreats, we take care of things like meals and researching transfers for you so that all you have to do is show up. Below is a checklist of things to consider for your trip: 

Restaurants ~

Make reservations in advance! Call ahead to see if they are taking any precautions for COVID, and be extra kind to the waitstaff. Remember, many restaurants have limited seating and hours now. 

Museums ~

Some museums remain closed, while others are slowly opening but with limits. Research where you want to go and reserve in advance so you’re not shut out.

National Parks ~

Visiting nature? Check out the website and see if you need to reserve special passes for anything. Many parks have limits to certain areas. Plan ahead so you won’t have to miss out on that extra special hike or lake. 

Hotels ~

Call your hotel ahead of time to see if they’re taking certain measures, especially if you’re concerned about COVID. 

In summary, it’s a new world we’re living in, and maybe that isn’t such a bad thing. If you’re planning to travel, which I know so many of us need on a body-soul level right now, do so with care: for yourself, your fellow humans, and the planet. 

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