We are all raring to pack our bags and explore the world again. While cooped up this winter season, many of us will be dreaming of the tropics. See if you could already rebook that canceled flight as many countries have reopened their borders to tourism.
You need to check, though, how the weather is at your destination. Although there would be sunshine, it might also be rainy this time of year. Rainy season would be the worst to go through cities with streets that might not have had their sewer lines checked and repaired for years.
But other than that concern, you could already imagine wiggling your toes on the sand and feel the water lapping around your soles. Go through with us some of these reminders so that your much-anticipated vacation wouldn’t be ruined.
Follow health protocols.
There is a misconception that the virus that caused the pandemic couldn’t live long in hot weather. The World Health Organization has already clarified that transmission could happen in any climate. It doesn’t take a few seconds for you to get infected by the virus if you’re careless. In most countries, social distancing and wearing of masks are still being imposed.
If you feel that the place you’re visiting is safe with no one showing symptoms, remember that you may not have the same resistance as these people. They might be asymptomatic, but you don’t know how your body would react if you get infected.
Limit your interactions with people. This is not yet the time to party so be contented with dipping in those clear waters and sunning yourself away from crowds. Carry with you an alcohol spray all the time. It’s no longer rude if you rub your hands with alcohol right after handling things that were touched by other people. It’s even ok to give someone without a mask or someone who comes too close to you the dirty eye.
Be prepared for intense insect attacks.
You might want to skip hotels and go instead to resorts that have separate cottages for guests. That way, you wouldn’t have to touch elevator buttons, door handles, surfaces that other people have also been using. These separated accommodations would normally have screened rooms, but don’t expect common areas to be a hundred percent free of bugs. Your enemy is not just the mosquito. There are thousands of insects that thrive in the tropics. While not all of them are blood-sucking, they could be itchy on your skin.
Prepare for the heat.
Yes, you are going to the tropics for the sun, but it could burn. There’s a reason why locals often don’t do sun-bathing. You might be used to the cool wind despite the strong glare of the sun. Beach resorts would be hot and humid. You might be tempted to get a fan room because it would be cheaper than an air-conditioned room. Locals are used to this, but if you’re not used to the high humidity kind of heat, better get a more expensive but convenient room.
Always have an SPF 50 sunscreen slathered on you even if you’re just going out to buy a bottle of water. And yes, always bring water with you. It might also be good to bring a light wrap around you could use so that the sun wouldn’t directly burn your skin when you’re out walking.
Do your research.
Identify which parts of the country you want to visit and look them up. But don’t limit your research to these touristy paradise-looking havens. You will most likely be transiting in that country’s urban centers so prepare yourself. Most complaints of tourists occur in these transit areas. Know what to expect so it doesn’t ruin your mood and your vacation.
Know the culture of the country.
Some tropical countries are not used to seeing bikini-clad people walking on the streets, especially in towns that are not often flocked by tourists. Observe how people dress and try to respect their norms.
Also, remember that you are not there to judge the people. If they wear long-sleeved swimming attire when they are at the beach, leave them be. In Asia, lighter skin, despite criticisms, is still very much important as a beauty standard. While you would want to argue against it, don’t impose your own culture. If you befriend a local, then you could share your opinion, but don’t be preachy.
The excitement of people after having heard that international travel is once again possible is understandable. Even if the beach in your neighboring state would have the same sand and saltwater, it’s not the same as getting jet-lagged to see another side of the ocean. It’s not just the beach but also the thrill of being in another country. As long as you follow all safety measures and tourism etiquette, this winter vacation might just make up for all those cloistered months.
Meta title: Preparing for the Tropics This Winter
meta desc: As more countries are opening up to international travelers, many of us are excited to escape the freezing temperatures this winter. Here are a few reminders before you pack your bags.