Travel, enjoy and be safe

Nawartha Nirmal @ Diyathalawa - Unsplash

Travel, enjoy and be safe
by Dulitha Peiris 23 days ago

Being forced to stay at home can be extremely boring and there is a high possibility that it can cause depression. The slight chance we get to go out, maybe even to get our groceries, is considered as a “Get out of jail free” card. This is what most of us felt during these troubled times, so just imagine how travelers would have felt. Pretty sure they must have been itching to step out of their homes.

Despite the frequent lockdowns happening in various cities and villages, the government has decided to open up the borders of Sri Lanka to shed some light on the almost dead tourism industry. And, along with the opening of the borders, new Covid-19 travel guidelines have been introduced, while the existing ones got much tighter.

As a tourist, there are few things that you need to know and adhere to when traveling to Sri Lanka. Don’t worry, these are a few simple steps that you can easily follow and they won’t disturb your journey as long as you adhere to them. One of our sources also reveals that there are few mandatory documents that you need to be carrying when visiting Sri Lanka.

 

How to travel safely

It is needless to mention the places you should visit because by now you may have already googled & found out through the likes of SLTDA (Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority), DiscoverTripadvisor, Yamu, Zomato, and many more. 

 

Planning your journey

It is always good to plan out your journey and book the hotels ahead of time so that you have a clear idea of where you want to go. Planning your destinations even before you leave your country is an okay idea but booking hotels may not be such a wise idea with the current situation.

 

 

Booking hotels ahead of time is not entirely recommended, as lockdowns in Sri Lanka happen frequently in villages and cities based on the casualties found. Therefore the best solution would be to book hotels while you are in your certified hotel, which serves as a quarantine center. Continuously, keep in touch with the local news so that you can avoid booking places that are under lockdown.

The other alternative would be to book hotels 2 weeks in advance before your departure. Some hotels may not allow you to do that, so the best option would be to find hotels that allow you to book a few days before check-in. 

You might wonder why planning is considered an okay idea. It is considered as such mainly because of the constant lockdowns that are taking place. As a result, the places you wanted to visit may not be available for tourism. So as a traveler, you need to be flexible in order to quickly change your travel plans accordingly.

Of course, unlike booking, the travel journey can be readjusted quickly even while you are in your hotel, but to do so, you need to be constantly connected with the local news. 

However, there could be situations where the destination you are planning to go to is not in correspondence with the location of your accommodation. This could be problematic. One way to overcome this approach would be to find hotels that allow being booked a few days before your actual check-in.

 

Safety is the word to remember

Washing hands, sanitizer, and social distancing are words that we hear daily, and they have become part of our lives which we have accustomed to. While traveling in Sri Lanka, you will notice a lot of washbasins and taps along with soaps or sanitizers, and it is true that we must keep our hands clean no matter where we go, but that is not the message.

The message is that you need to keep yourself safe rather than relying on soaps/ sanitizers of the shops you are visiting. Now, you might wonder how you can keep yourself safe. No need to think big just make sure you follow these steps daily:

  • Wear a mask at all times whenever you are traveling outdoors.
  • Carry your sanitizer wherever you go.
  • It is better if you can stick to using Uber or Pickme when you are in Colombo.
  • While shopping, avoid using cash and instead opt for contactless payments, such as debit or credit cards.
  • When using buses, always sit in a zig-zag seating pattern.
  • When using public transport, avoid traveling during *peak times.
  • Avoid going to crowded places.
  • When going to stores, ensure that precautionary measures are in place, such as washbasins with soap/sanitizer (mandatory), infrared thermometer, and contact tracing methods (mandatory).

*Peak times are usually in 2-time ranges, which are 5 am - 9 am & 5 pm - 8 pm.

 

Contact tracing is extremely crucial to reducing the impact of the casualties. So what can we do to support contact tracing? Some apps support contact tracing which you can download. One of them is MyHealth Sri Lanka.

SLTDA has also built an app for tracking the movements of tourists. However, it is currently in the approval stage. 

The authorities can only constantly remind us what needs to be done when traveling, but it is our responsibility to be mindful and adhere to the guidelines.

It is also our duty and responsibility to enable the authorities to conduct their work smoothly. After all, they are doing their best to keep us safe while risking their own.