It’s been just over a year since the World Health Organisation declared a pandemic and it’s finally starting to look like we’ll be able to travel again soon. Of course, the situation is different depending on where you live, but here in the Thelma & Louise community, we have this in common: we love to travel, and we love to travel with a companion.
Months and months of social isolation have left some of us feeling wary about the prospect of life returning to some form of normality, with crowds and regular travel, while others can’t wait to get back on the road. Once thing’s for sure though, lockdowns have changed our ability to socialise. I don’t know about you, but I certainly feel a bit rusty! It’s almost as if we have to re-learn how to sit in a room and have a conversation with another human.
“Try to build a network of potential travel buddies, including some in the places you most want to visit and some more local to you.”
If you’re feeling rising social anxiety, your brain feels a bit fuggy and you’re suffering from an excess of tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon (officially known as lethologica – try and remember that!), you might benefit from a confidence boost when it comes to planning your post-pandemic travel.
This list of questions and talking points is designed to help reassure you that you’ve done everything you can to make sure your post-pandemic travel buddy, or buddies, are on the same page as you. It should help you avoid any nasty surprises. Because we’ve all had enough of them.
1. How did you spend quarantine and/or lockdown?
This is a gentle way to probe how your attitudes to imposed situations might gel. You don’t have to respond in the same way, but it would be helpful if you had a vaguely common approach. Were you accepting or rebellious? Did you take up a new hobby or feel endlessly bored and frustrated? Ultimately, you want to lift each other up, not wear each other down, if you’re ever forced into such a situation together on your travels.
2. Does your travel insurance cover Covid-related issues?
The last thing you want is for one of you to be left out of pocket if a Covid-19 outbreak or diagnosis means you have to cancel your trip before it even starts, or claim for emergency medical and repatriation costs.
3. Do we share a similar level of tolerance to risk?
An important one. There’s no point travelling with someone who’s happy to join group tours and visit small museums if you’d rather avoid crowds and prioritise outdoor attractions and activities. And it follows that there’s no point in splitting up to do these things, as one of you will worry about whether the other picked up Covid-19 while you were apart.
4. What is your attitude to social distancing and masks?
Again, make sure you’re on the same page here. Ideally, you’d both be willing to wear masks when local regulations require you to, and maintain a safe distance from other people when you’re out and about – and from each other if you feel safer doing so.
5. Where are you from?
Of course you’ll want to know this, but the pandemic has given this question an extra layer of importance. With lingering uncertainties about international travel, it’s a good idea to make sure domestic travel is an option. For this reason, try to build a network of potential travel buddies, including some in the places you most want to visit and some more local to you.
6. How flexible are you if regulations change while you’re travelling together?
It’s crucial to understand how your travel buddy might need to respond if border rules or quarantine requirements at home change while you’re overseas together. Might she have to rush home for work or family reasons to avoid quarantine or being locked out of her country? What would you have to do? Are you happy with being left alone, if necessary?
7. Have you been vaccinated, or will you be (in good time) before we travel?
A straightforward question, but it can prove divisive. Don’t shy away from asking it. It might not make any difference to you, but it’s always good to know. Especially if the proposed vaccine passports become A Thing.
8. Are you happy to share your emergency contact information with me, and vice versa?
Travelling in the shadow of Covid-19 inevitably means increased risk of hospitalisation, however small. Agree a plan of action in case of hospitalisation or worse.
9. How might we support each other in a quarantine situation?
If your destination is plunged into a lockdown situation, or you need to quarantine on arrival, is your travel buddy someone you can rely on? Would she willingly share tasks such as cooking and cleaning to help you both get through? It’s also worth establishing whether you’d quarantine together or separately.
We hope these discussion points help you feel more confident about travelling again after travel restrictions have eased.
If you think of any other questions worth asking in this scenario, please help out the rest of the community by dropping them in the comments below.