10 Useful tips for traveling in 2020
We’ve traveled 3 times this year, once in February, when all the craziness was just starting (no lockdowns in Europe yet at that point). And twice during the rest of the year. In May for a long weekend and this Summer for a road trip. All within The Netherlands. Here are 10 tips we can give you from our experience for traveling in 2020.
Traveling in 2020: know the rules
Before you take off on your road trip, know the rules specific to the country and/or region you’re visiting. Moreover, keep yourselves to these rules. Every country and in some cases regions have their own set of rules to fight the pandemic. You don’t want to break these and get a fine and/or anger the locals for not following the rules. Next to that you don’t want to cause spread of the virus, because you broke the rules.
We went traveling in The Netherlands on both our vacations, where we know the rules. Originally we wanted to make a road trip through Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, but found it too big a pressure to find out the rules of each country, so we canceled our plans for traveling in Europe Summer 2020, and postponed them to 2021. In hindsight, if we would have gone through with our plans, we would have been in Estonia or Latvia, when the borders closed from Latvia for Dutch people and the other 3 countries installed a 2 week quarantine for Dutch people.
Face masks and hand sanitizer
Bring your own face masks and hand sanitizer with you on your trip. We always brought with us our own hand sanitizer. Not all sanitary stops have soap and water available, so it’s handy in those situations.
Face masks are required in The Netherlands when using public transport, in other countries they’re required in even more places. So have them ready, so you can wear them when necessary or if you’re in a situation where you feel safer with a face mask on.
Book with a refundable option
We booked almost all our accommodations with a fully refundable option if they would have to be canceled because of measures taken. Luckily we didn’t need to cancel, but you never know, especially in these times.
When crowded, leave
We’ve made the deal with each other that when it would be too crowded somewhere and we wouldn’t feel comfortable with it, we would leave. We’ve had this once in Tilburg, where we were walking in the city center. It was crowded, because of the carnival and keeping social distance from others was hard. We opted for walking straight to our hotel to get away from the crowded streets.
Reserve far ahead
We reserved our accommodations in May, since prices for the Summer were going up per week. So we booked before prices would be out of our budget.
Moreover for museums, attractions and swimming you had to reserve a time slot. This wasn’t the case a half year ago, so it takes some getting used to. We couldn’t go to a number of museums or tours, since they were booked full for the duration of our stay. Lots of people were going on staycation on August, so it was peak season. When we would have figured out what we were going to do 1 or 2 weeks earlier, we probably would have been able to visit these things. So don’t be like us and book everything early. Although when traveling in September 2020 it will be less crowded again, and less people visiting attractions.
Swimming pools in The Netherlands now have time slots, so just going to the pool when you feel like it, isn’t possible right now. But reserve a time slot and you can still enjoy a swim.
When traveling in October 2020 get used to higher numbers again, that’s the month with fall break.
Things take longer
We noticed all over our 2 vacations that things take longer. Companies have to take extra measures and this takes time. So take this into consideration when planning something.
We had to wait longer when taking the ferry to Texel in May. Visiting attractions and restaurants also took longer. Since they have to clean more often and ask extra questions (at least in The Netherlands). Be patient, these people are just doing their job and calculate extra time for this when planning.
Kitchen and sanitary
We made sure to have our own kitchen and sanitary (except for the hotel in Tilburg). The reason being that we than would be able to prepare our own food, and not be dependable on having to go out for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
This vacation we also didn’t want to share the bathroom with others, these 2 vacations. One of the reasons we didn’t go camping this year, but we also didn’t consider some other accommodations because of shared sanitary.
For lunch we did a lot of picnic’s, which we always love.
Walking and biking
We did a lot of walking and biking. A great way to see your surroundings and easy to keep social distance from others. It’s usually free and when in a place too crowded you can easily leave. Some things we opted for visiting by car, like the Delta Works and getting out at viewpoints.
On our Summer road trip we did go out for dinner and lunch a few times, or sat on a terrace. Before going out, check whether you have to make reservations for this. The rules for this have changed a number of times over the last months in The Netherlands. Some restaurants still require it, others don’t.
Go by car
When traveling in 2020 we found it easiest and giving the best peace of mind to travel by car, so that we could always go back home and weren’t depending on other transportation to get back home again. You don’t know at forehand when rules might change and it might be best to get back home again. So road trips are perfect right now.
The Best tip for traveling in 2020
In conclusion there’s a lot more to take into account when traveling in 2020. We again put these rules in practice when visiting the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. But the best tip off all and 11th free one I can give you is: make sure you enjoy your travels! When embarking on a road trip with a baby for the first time, we have some tips here and for with a toddler, here. The tips followed here are also part of our money saving tips.
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Very helpful tips. Thank you for mentioning how things may take a little longer and be understanding of that. As a former waitress, I can say that it’s so important to bring patience, and maybe some snacks, on vacation with you! Do not take your anger and impatience out on the people serving you during a PANDEMIC.
No, indeed, but sadly some people are doing just this. Those people are doing there job as good as they can and can’t help all the checks in place.
Great post – booking with a refund is so key now. I never used to worry about that but now it’s so necessary. And definitely on the *taking more time.* Things are so different now but it’s easy (and worth it) to make travel work!
No, we never worried about it much either, although we always had a cancellation insurance. And yes, although traveling is different right now, it’s worth your time and we loved it still.
I salute you both for having the courage to go out despite the danger hanging outside. I appreciate your tips, those will be helpful for us for our future trips. Stay safe!
Yes, we still went, but it seems that being outside (avoiding large crowds) is not the greatest danger, but being inside with more people is. So we avoided that mostly.
These are some really great tips! Since the borders are still closed in my country, I’ve been going on a few staycations and doing more hikes.
Staycations and hikes are perfect now. The borders of The Netherlands may not be closed (never where), we’haven’t been outside The Netherlands since February.
Nichole the Nomad
These tips for traveling in 2020 are so helpful! I love the tip about making sure your trip is refundable. We, unfortunately, had a very rude VRBO host who refused to give us our money back for canceling our trip when COVID first became huge in the US.
Oh, that’s not great. That host was probably afraid/ or in panic for losing all the bookings/customers, but being rude won’t help in the long term. You want people to come back eventually.
Some great tips here! We’ve been doing some short day trips by car that allow us to socially distance and not have to worry about the transport portion. It’s been great.
Yes, that’s the reason indeed we opted for going by car, your in control then over your transportation.
Great tips as we all navigate the new normal and figure out how to travel in the best and safest way possible. Thanks so much for sharing.
Yes, it’s strange the new normal, although I’m getting used to it more and more.
Thank you for the awesome tips. I’m currently exploring my own backyards and getting out into nature to do some hikes in the area. It’s actually been really nice and a great way to social distance. Crazy times we are living in!
It certainly are crazy times. Exploring your own backyards and hiking are perfect for these times.
Great tips! I started going on road trips late in the summer. Most people followed social distancing rules and such, but some places definitely didn’t. Those crowded places I ran away from! Hand sanitizer has been my life lately :’)
Yes, if you notice people aren’t following the social distancing rules you can either complain about it, or just get out of there. Making sure your safe.
These are all great tips. I’m glad to see you continuing to travel safely right now.
Yes, love to travel, so when it was possible again (safely) we went traveling again in our own backyard.
These are excellent tips. I’m intrigued that you are finding things so booked up, since here in New Zealand it’s like being locked in with no tourists and even when locals travel, things are pretty open. I love the considerations you mention, like cooking your own food, and not sharing facilities. Also – did you make your masks? Very lovely!
Well, it was Summer school break here, so everybody was going on vacation, and normally this is more spread out over Europe and the rest of the world, now it wasn’t. Next to that people from other countries of Europe were able to vacation in The Netherlands. BUt every vacation stay we were at, was fully booked. A lot of museums and attractions had limited capacity because of the regulations in place, so this combination made for the booked up attractions.
Someone in our neighbourhood made our masks, so we purchased them from her, to support a local business.
Great tips! Reserve ahead is a great one. I know in the US a lot of places that don’t typically require or even have reservations usually are reservation only now. Also I agree that it is a great time to do more walking and biking.
Yes, the same is here the case, museums, restaurants, etc were you normally just go to, you now have to book in advance.
2020 is full of outdoor trips, hands sanitizer and being careful, so I love these tips. Especially the one about leaving if a place is crowded. Everyone has a different comfort level and I for one am trying to avoid big crowds or busy restaurants
Yes, comfort levels vary deeply. Some persons just stand close to you and others keep social distance.
Good points. I agree with you that this year, I had be more comfortable in traveling in own car than waiting for buses or other public transports. India is now on second position for Covid patients and I feel it’s just not the best time to travel here.
Hope in India the Corona situation will get better soon. I understand you don’t feel like it’s the right time for travel right now. It was like that for us in March and April in The Netherlands, after that it slighlty started getting better.
Great tips. Oh how different travel is in 2020 – that is if you aren’t in lockdown somewhere! Let’s hope 2021 is a lot better for travels.
Yes, if your still in complete lockdown it must be very different. We never had a complete lockdown in The Netherlands, only an intelligent lockdown, but a lot of restrictions have been lifted in the last few months. Hope travels will be a lot better in 2021. Good luck in lockdown in Melbourne and hopefully not for long anymore.
Great tips! It’s crazy to think about how much everything had change in the last couple of months. There’s a lot of questions when it comes to traveling.
Yes, so strange isn’t it. We would have never thought twice about sharing sanitary on campgrounds before March 2020.
Great post! I got ‘stuck’ in Romania during all of this, but now that things are open again I still want to go explore. I feel so awkward with my camera, though! Good tips, thanks for sharing!
How was ‘stuck’ in Romania during these strange times? And I have the same feeling about exploring, just not about our camera out.
There’s no doubt we’ll have to adjust ourselves and these are some great tips. Personally I try to do outdoor activities and inside always wear my mask and when a place is too crowded, I’d rather come back at a later time. Thanks for the tips!
Yes, the mask wearing seems to be more widespread in every other country. It was never advised here or enforced. Accept for in public transport from July 1st onwards.
Great tips! Especially ‘Book with a refundable option’ – I’ve been doing that for my travels this year and with the uncertainty of everything and places locking down randomly it’s such a good idea.
Yes, those randomly lock downs and a country suddenly going to orange or red in advice. It’s been all over the place this Summer.
It’s amazing how travel has changed in 2020 but these are all great tips for us all to practice going forward, whether we travel close to home or further afield.
Yes, close to home, further away, they still apply. And it is indeed strange, how our planning has changed from our planning for our travels in February this year or the onces in May and July/August.
Rob + Ann @TravelLatte
Great tips! Travel was challenging enough, and the pandemic and social unrest around the world have made it even more so. But we will get through this! Especially with your handy, helpful tips. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.
We definitly will get through this. Hopefully things will start getting better from here on.
Sarah | The Wandering Road
So interesting to see how your strategy for travel during the pandemic in the Netherlands is not unlike the approach we have been taking here in the U.S.! Avoid crowds, travel slow, stay outside as much as possible. 👍
Yes, I think we’re all traveling a bit the same way all over the world, at least when not in (complete) lockdown still.
Great tips! Reserving ahead has been the most helpful thing I’ve found this summer for where you can. That way you don’t have to worry about the risk of not being able to get into certain places 🙂
Yes, it was something we found out the hard way. Luckily for us there was still enough other things to explore everywhere.
Jenn | By Land and Sea
I’m glad you’ve still been able to do a bit of traveling this year. These tips are great. I think many will last far beyond 2020 in terms of travel!
Yes, probably they will also be partly or completely be tips for 2021.
Lisa | Handmade in Israel
Some excellent tips here! Corona has certainly taken the spontaneity out of travel but glad you still managed to have a good time. #WeekendWanderlust
Yes, the spontaneity we normally love when traveling, was far away. Luckily, indeed we could still enjoy them.
These are really great tips! Navigating the travel space these days is really difficult and I found it super hard to know how to best travel this summer – if at all!
All such great tips to consider when traveling now! Thanks so much for sharing!
Thanks. Hope they help.
These are all good tips for travelling in the current environment. We had just returned from a SE Asia and Australia trip late last year when things started happening. We now follow your travel tips in our daily life. Social distancing, masks, and hygiene are all top priorities. We will probably travel later this year (towards summer down under) but I think we will pick less crowded locations that are a car trip away from our home in New Zealand.
Yes, we favored the less crowded locations above the more busiers cities.
These are super useful tips! We’ve been abiding by these as well while staying on the road this year. Setting a few points of understanding in place can help make 2020 travels more enjoyable!
Yes, it makes traveling in 2020 definitly better when following these rules.