We know there are many who are still anxious about being so far from home and away from their bubble. So we wanted to share some sensible ideas about what you can do for yourself to make travel a little less stressful.
Health & Fitness
Travel in the Post-Covid Era: 6 Tips for Cyclists
Posted on Friday, March 4th, 2022
Story by: Ken Lovering | Travel Writer
If you’ve traveled with VBT, you know that we take preparation very seriously. We can tell you firsthand that planning a seamless trip requires us to be ready for anything. These days, we’ve amped up our obsession with logistics with one unwavering goal in mind: Keeping our travelers safe.
But we know there are many who, for all their resolve to get back out into the world, are still anxious about being so far from home and away from their bubble. So we wanted to share some sensible ideas about what you can do for yourself to make travel a little less stressful.
First, remember that a little knowledge goes a long way in easing anxiety. So you need to be aware of these entry and exit requirements of the country you’re visiting. Your airline may also have requirements, particularly on international flights. You might also read about the experiences of some of our travelers who talked to us fresh off their Summer 2021 Bicycling Vacation.
During your trip, adapt some habits and behaviors that can help you relax and make you feel more welcome at your destination. All these ideas are based on the proven psychological theory that we feel less anxious when we feel a sense of control.
Think of it this way: At home, we can control our environments to a T. For instance, we know how to avoid large crowds of people – and if we can’t, we plan to mask up. But by definition, travel requires us to relinquish some sense of control. That’s part of its appeal, right? Well, maybe not always, and maybe not today. But that shouldn’t stop you from having fun.
So here are ways you CAN take control next time you explore the world by bike with us:
Consider what you can control … then control it. Some psychologists say making a list of things you can control eases your anxiety. Items on your list might include “Deciding the circumstances in which I’ll wear my mask and sticking to it” or “Doing yoga to relax.” You can also bring along some “comfort” items that make you feel more at home – whether books, a journal, downloaded music or movies on your electronic device, and contact information should you want to call a friend.
Be Ready to Follow Masking Requirements. VBT requires you to have proof of inoculation before traveling with us. Still, no matter your vaccination status, when in Rome, you must do as the Romans do. In Europe in particular, locals wear medical-grade masks, not cloth. So take a cue from all those times you visited your favorite aunt’s house as a child: Be a good guest and follow house rules – regardless of what you might do at home.
Of course, the beauty of a Bicycling Vacation is the freedom of movement in clean, open air. Because you’re outdoors, medical experts say there’s no need to wear a mask. But once you get off the saddle – even for a quick stop to admire the produce at a market square – you’ll need to mask up. Keep your face covering visible so you’re less likely to forget to slip it on. Wear it as a bracelet for quick access. Attach it to your handlebars. Resolve to follow these strategies before your trip, and stick to them during.
Smile. It’s true what they say: When you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you. A smile is the international symbol of friendliness and can lead to some of the most rewarding exchanges you’ll ever have with locals. Even when you’re wearing a mask, a true smile comes through in your eyes and your voice. If you want to be extra sure someone can “see” your smile, give a little laugh when you greet them.
Learn a little of the language. Necessary as they are, masks can be depersonalizing. All the more reason to go out of your way to learn a few words in the local tongue. A simple “bon jour” or “ciao” goes a long way in showing locals that you’re more than a faceless visitor and that you respect their home and their culture.
Call ahead and be flexible. If you’re planning to visit a restaurant or museum, call first to make sure they’re open. Even the most world-renowned cultural institutions have adjusted their hours and protocol due to the pandemic. Ask for their hours and if they are operating by appointment. Find out if the exhibit you’re dying to see is open and what will be expected of you when you visit. You can do this either before your trip or – if you’re traveling with VBT – ask your trip leader to help.
When you’re ready, we’re here for you. In the meantime, bookmark this page so you can have these tips by your side for your next VBT Bicycling Vacation.