Since March 2020, much of the world has been self-isolating. Shops and businesses were shut down, as were restaurants, cafes, and places of worship. Some have re-opened; some have closed permanently and some continue activities in a limited way. Many people are still working remotely. The pandemic continues to impact our lives.
According to a survey conducted by Censuswide Research with 3700 senior managers in seven countries, 75 percent of the managers are still uncomfortable about returning to the office; 72 percent believe that digital transformation will accelerate to adapt to remote work. This suggests that the ways of doing business may change radically and, accordingly, labor forces in big cities may relocate to less densely populated cities.
It seems that the pandemic has and will continue to have radical impacts in many areas of our lives. One of those areas is our concern with hygiene. Hygiene measures have proven to be among the factors that prevent the spread of the virus, along with social distancing, and these two elements have altered our approach to travel and vacations.
Holidays are a source of relaxation and entertainment, a break from daily routines, an opportunity to see people we love or discover new experiences. Whatever the purpose, holidays nourish our imagination, our mind and our soul. How can we reconcile the idea of a holiday with the reality of a global pandemic?
Is it possible to have a relaxing holiday, considering the current limitations? The answer is yes – provided we take precautions and abide by the guidelines set forth by health authorities.
Planning a holiday can be as enjoyable as taking one
The pandemic has given us two main areas of crisis. The biological, which has introduced into our lives social distancing, hygiene, disinfectants, masks, HEPA filters and an ever-growing list of virus symptoms. The other crisis area is psychological. Social isolation, anxiety, and economic uncertainty all contribute to psychological trauma. If going on a holiday seems too stressful, perhaps imagining the holiday you will take – when the pandemic has ended – will be therapeutic. Looking at places to visit, where to stay, what to see…never underestimate the power of vision and imagination.
As the planning of a trip is part of the journey itself, relax into this stage of the holiday and don’t worry about what comes next. Let your imagination run wild. Plan your dream holiday. In a sense, this exercise can also contribute to your own self-awareness and your priorities; as well, it is an affirmation that the pandemic will not last forever.
The 1918 Pandemic and its effect on social life
The 1918 Pandemic, also known as the Spanish Flu, took place between 1918 and 1920. About a third of the world’s population was infected and 50 million people are believed to have died from the infection. There was no vaccine available, and medical science was, of course, less advanced than it is today. As well, the first World War had just ended and mass movement of people, including soldiers returning home, also contributed to the spread of the virus.
The 1918 Pandemic, like all pandemics, significantly impacted daily life and cultural mores. For example, the percentage of women working in the USA rose to 21%; many working-age men had enlisted in the military services, so women augmented the labor force. Also in the USA, wages for workers in the manufacturing sector increased 2.5 times over a five-year period. Concurrently, due to high mortality rates in India – which was still a British colony – the colonial administration came under harsh criticism by Young India magazine, published by Mahatma Gandhi, and the independence movement began to grow. The Health Organization was established under the leadership of the League of Nations, the precursor to the United Nations. The aim of the Health Organization was to implement systems to address future pandemics. In addition, national health ministries were created or strengthened.
The 1918 Pandemic also drove artistic and cultural changes. For instance, in Germany, in 1919, architect Walter Gropius founded the Bauhaus School. Considered the beginning of Modern Architecture, Bauhaus aimed to unify art and functionality, encouraging streamlined designs suitable for daily life. Marcel Breuer, who came out of the Bauhaus school, began designing minimalist wood and steel furnishings that were easy to keep clean, unlike the fancy, heavy pieces of the period.
The global despair brought about by World War I and the 1918 Pandemic also led to the emergence of the Dada movement. With nihilism as a dominating philosophy, Dadaism was considered the forerunner of surrealism. Its philosophy was simple: “If life is so meaningless, why should art be meaningful?”
Going on holiday during the pandemic…
We can reflect on the many practices that developed under the influence of social change driven by the 1918 Pandemic, but how can we live and thrive during the 2020 Pandemic?
In a practical sense, if you’re at all uncomfortable leaving your home at this time, do not go on holiday. Your home – your ‘castle’ – is the place where you’ve implemented hygiene measures to your comfort level. No matter how excellent these measures are elsewhere – at a hotel or an airport – you simply do not have the same control.
For those who are willing to relinquish a certain amount of control, it’s time to conduct research. Travel during the pandemic will be different and will require additional planning.
In addition to hygiene, social distancing is an important issue. Let’s begin.
Why is social distance important?
During the first World War, parades were held in the US to promote the government bonds issued to finance the war. With the influenza epidemic raging, the cities of Philadelphia and St Louis made two different decisions regarding their parades. St. Louis canceled it, while Philadelphia did not.
As a result, Philadelphia – with 200,000 people attending the parade – suffered the highest death rate during the 1918 Pandemic, compared to other US cities. The shutdowns and lockdowns that we have experienced were implemented to prevent those with the virus from infecting others. According to the WHO, the virus is “primarily transmitted from symptomatic people to others who are in close contact through respiratory droplets, by direct contact with infected persons, or by contact with contaminated objects and surfaces.” As such, health authorities advise staying at least six feet away from each other. In a situation with crowds of people, that distance is impossible to maintain. In a closed area, the potential for infection becomes even greater.
To minimize our chances of infection – and to protect others – we follow the guidance of health authorities. The health authorities and scientists have both history and facts on their side!
So, accept that social distancing will be a necessary element of your holiday and proceed accordingly.
What type of holiday aligns with pandemic measures?
In following social distancing guidelines, a holiday in nature stands out as ideal. Camping with family, a few close friends or on your own is a delightful experience at any time; it is an excellent idea during the pandemic. Hiking, biking and other nature-friendly activities can all be accomplished without close contact. If photography is your passion, a vacation in nature or a less well-known destination is an unparalleled opportunity!
If camping is not your preferred mode of accommodation, you can select pensions, bungalows or smaller boutique hotels – places with fewer rooms and guests. You can also rent a house, villa or apartment. Even in a popular destination, such facilities offer less potential contact with others.
Holidays focused on rest and renewal, such as yoga retreats or secluded spas, provide both relaxation and less crowded conditions.
New holiday destinations gaining popularity due to the pandemic
As one of our main priorities is to avoid crowds and comply with social distancing guidelines, this may not be the optimal time to visit a metropolis.
Some countries and cities are experiencing a smoother transition in terms of coronavirus cases. In Montenegro, for instance, the number of cases has declined to nearly zero. In Turkey, Kas, Amasra, Ordu stand out as the most risk-free cities in this regard.
The Black Sea Highlands in Turkey feature small towns and villages, as well as clean air and scenic vistas. And, with their attractive nature, the Aegean and Mediterranean coastal towns are wonderful and picturesque destinations.
It goes without saying that it is absolutely necessary to check the health statistics of the city or country you want to visit. As well, check on any restrictions regarding that country’s quarantine or entry conditions.
What about traveling?
The vast majority of operating airlines and airports have implemented enhanced hygiene standards from the start of the pandemic. These measures include omnipresent hand sanitizer dispensers, contactless processes and mandatory mask wearing, as well as social distance applications in most areas. We go into more detail in our blog about health measures in airports and airlines. You can also review “Travel during the pandemic: 5 tips for protecting your health” and “Hygienic travel during the pandemic” for additional information.
How to select hotels, restaurants and transportation?
The answer to this question is the Safe Tourism Certification Program of Turkey.
The Safe Tourism Certification Program of Turkey identifies a series of measures for domestic and foreign tourists in Turkey. These measures cover a range of issues, from passenger, guest, and employee hygiene, to transportation and accommodation. The certification program was prepared under the leadership of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, with contributions by the Ministries of Health, Transport, the Interior and Foreign Affairs, and in cooperation with sector stakeholders.
Details on the criteria used for certification can be found in our blogs, “Pandemic-related measures for tour and transfer vehicle services in Turkey”, “Pandemic-related health processes for hotels and other accommodation venues in Turkey” and “Pandemic-related hygiene processes for restaurants, cafes and bars in Turkey”. Reviewing these blogs can give you a better idea of how to select the safest accommodation, dining and transportation options – in Turkey and anywhere else.
We hope that this information is helpful. Most important, we hope you have a wonderful and relaxing holiday!