It is no longer news that the entire world has suffered a lethal blow by an unseen but known enemy called the corona virus disease of 2019 (COVID-19). The disease which broke out in the Wuhan district of Central China in December 2019 was declared a public health emergency of international concern on 30th January 2020, and a pandemic on the 11th of March 2020 by the World Health Organization. Following this outbreak, many individual, social, economic, religious an indeed, tourist activities have been adversely affected by this unfortunate situation, and this doesn’t exclude the much cherished art of travelling.
As seen in many countries of the world, international and even inter-state travels have suffered various degrees of restrictions and bans which of course, are measures aimed at checking the spread of the novel corona virus disease. We have seen airports shut down commercial flight operations for months, rail stations have remained stationary, and I’m sure the busiest motor park operators in town now have a different story to tell. Taking cognizance of this present reality, it might be practically impossible to embark on that much anticipated trip to the Bahamas for vacation, take prolonged views and photographs of the beautiful coastlines of Gambia or fulfil that very important purpose which necessitates an international travel, but once these government restrictions are eased and travels are allowed, what would be your attitude as a traveller in the era of the new normal? Scratch that. Are you well aware of the bad travel habits you need to stop, going forward? If yes, come with me.
1. Excessive luggage: Except you are relocating from one geographic location to another, you really do not need the whole house stuffed in your travelling bag for travels, especially as a single adult. Travelling nursing mothers may be excused from this, but then moderation should be a crucial practice when it comes to sorting out and packing stuffs meant for travels. I have this friend who had visited home from abroad after a number of years, he sure loved all the native foods and locally produced stuffs he met so he bought as many as he could with the hope of flying back with them, only for the bulk of those items to be struck out by the airport authorities. Quite painful. The wise thing to do is to travel only with the necessary items you will need to make you comfortable during the period of your travel, as non-essential items would only create inconveniences and make you spend more money for less value.
- Panic planning: It is often said that he who fails to plan, plans to fail. One of the worst disservices you can do to yourself is not plan for any endeavour you wish to embark on, I mean, the last person who did that should have existed in the 18th century, but here we are in the 21st century. if effective planning must be anything to go by, then the habit of panic planning must be eradicated in its entirety. You may not notice this as a habit until you perpetually find yourself in worked-up situations while trying to put things in place for a travel, under this condition, there is every likelihood that you will throw out an important travel document or item out of the box and push in some other stuff which is of less importance. This is often caused by stress and lack of coordination which is unarguably, as a result of physical preparations and multitasking, so to avoid this, one must begin to plan for any travel (be it local or international) the moment the travel is confirmed, this will offer you more time to make necessary arrangements and procurements at your pace without feeling tensed.
- Lack of a flexible travel budget: It is a known fact that you cannot have an absolutely smooth travel without money, and the ignorance of this fact could be disastrous to a traveler, especially one whose destination is totally unknown. Many travelers are in the habit of setting aside a specific amount of money for a trip, nothing less, nothing more, and end up getting stranded in strange places and sometimes fall victims to fraudsters and people who may want to take advantage of their predicament. Travelling with a pre-determined amount of money can be a very unwise decision to take, as it gives no room for unexpected eventualities, should any occur. Inasmuch as proper budgeting for travels is necessary, flexibility in this matter is highly encouraged. In summary, take more money than your budget covers, it is better to go with more money and keep the balance after every expense than run out of funds. A credit card can be of help, if you are the type that feel uncomfortable with going about with much cash.
- Last minute planning: Waiting until the eve of the travel date or the travel date itself before making necessary plans and procurements can be tantamount to not planning for the trip at all, especially if it is an international trip or a long distance journey within your state or country. It is unfortunate that some travelers believe they can plan for a one, three or six months trip in just one night and get it all right, well, the obverse will always be the case because the beauty of planning for a trip is in planning at your pace and as you remember each necessary item, you pick it and fill it in
- Overeating before traveling: If know a lot of people who would eat so much before embarking on long distance travels. While some feel that since the journey is long, they may not have the opportunity of stopping by to eat while in transit, others do not. Whatever the reason may be, overeating before embarking on a travel is not a good idea, as it has the tendency to reduce the level of your alertness while in transit. Apart from that, eating heavy foods before travelling long distances is an open invitation to egestion which may not be possible at the time, and as a result, bring discomfort to the traveler and co-travelers. Tip: Take very light food and be sure to empty your bowels before travelling. You can take some snacks and drinks along if you do not want to get them by the roadside, this will save you the stress of getting pressed unnecessarily in whichever means of transportation you chose to travel with.
- Last minute shopping: If you plan your trip well, you should be able to buy all you will need to travel with within a week or some days to the travel date and save some costs, but if you prefer to buy at the dying minute, then you should know already that you are bound to pay more than the normal prices for every product or service you get. This is because the sellers there know already that at that point, you really have no choice than to buy from them, so whatever amount of money they mention is what you will likely pay, and the prices are always on the high side. Another bad side to last minute buying is that one may not have the time to thoroughly check and ascertain the authenticity of what you are buying. If it turns out that they are bad, that would be too late as you are most likely to notice that upon arrival at your destination.
- Late check-ins: If you have missed a flight or the first shuttle before, then you will agree with me that checking in late at the airport or arriving at the bus terminal behind time is a bad travel habit which you must stop. As a remedy to this, every passenger must try to be present at the point of departure at least thirty minutes to take off time, if he/she opts for a public means of transportation.
- Little or no knowledge about the travel destination: Even if you are traveling to a location that is entirely new, you should know at least a thing or two about the terrain. Never justify ignorance for any reason. Make personal researches on the culture of the people, major cities, roads, public places, language and try to communicate with someone who is familiar with the environment to let you in on the basics and what you should expect when you arrive. Google maps can also be of help, just in case you can’t find your way round. Never make the mistake of traveling with no knowledge of where you are heading to.
- Pre-determining passenger seats: Except you are traveling with your private vehicle or that of a friend or family member which you have some influence on, you do not have the express authority to choose where you will be seated in a public means of transport. If the seats were not assigned and you happen to take your desired seat, fine, but if some other person occupies the seat before you, the wise thing to do is get yourself another seat. If for some reasons, you insist on taking a particular seat, then it is in your place to discuss with the passenger seated there, stating your reasons, if it is fine by him/her, then you can swap, if not, you pick another seat to avoid creating a scene.
- Inadequate personal protection: If you do not take care of yourself, nobody will. It is commonplace to find travelers fall sick on transit, though some may happen as a result of harsh weather or travel conditions, others turn out to be underlying medical conditions which had existed but only aggravated as the journey progressed. Before travelling, ensure that you are wholly fit for the rigours of long journeys, if you have a health condition that requires medical attention, consult a Doctor for advice before embarking on any trip to avoid casualties of any kind.