There is a strange pleasure involved with planning your first post-pandemic trip. With most people forced to shelter in place, the lack of freedom to move has created a sense of travel itch. For people hoping to overcome this crisis, envisioning travel in the future is more than enough to overcome the difficult and challenging days of isolation. If your family s used to being constantly on the move or going on frequent hiking trips on weekends, then you might be aching to get back on the trail once again.
The current pandemic is truly an unprecedented time in modern history. But just like most pandemic in the past, it will be over soon (albeit when is a question in many people’s minds). Nonetheless, you can ease boredom and anxiety by looking forward to your next trip once the imposed lockdowns have been lifted in Asia, or in some parts of the country. In fact, with most people spending so much time indoors these days, many are probably seeking to embark on a hiking escapade to relish the natural scenery and fresh air (something of which most are deprived these days).
Take note of these tips to help you make your first family hiking trip a success in a post-pandemic era.
Be Flexible with Trip Planning
At the height of the pandemic outbreak, medical experts have recommended social distancing guidelines to people all over the world to stop the spread of the virus. But as the warm weather is now being experienced in most parts of the world, it was only a matter of time until people will start yearning for some outdoor activities.
Hiking is one of the most popular outdoor activities to enjoy across people of all ages and all walks of life. From seniors to children and those fit or active individuals, it is one of the easiest activities you can insert to your daily routine to beat boredom. But when you want to embark on a full-on hiking trip with the entire family once the pandemic is over, you need to be flexible with your plans. As exciting as the idea might be that you finally get to do what you enjoy most, it is important to abide by strict guidelines from the medical community.
Currently, there are no vaccines available yet for the virus and until such time, you need to be open to the idea of pushing your hiking trip further back. Medical and health experts advise that you use this opportunity to plan your trip as a coping mechanism. But be flexible in terms of when you embark on that trip and never ever finalize a trip too early. You might be in for a disappointment when you realize that your preferred date might not be deemed as safe to go on that organized trip just yet.
Reopening dates are only recommendations at the moment. Trail organizers and tour companies will be fully operational again only when it is deemed completely safe to do so again. Some travel industry experts even predict that interested travelers and hikers should think long-term with their travel plans, such as 2021. Knowing that you could potentially be hiking with your young children or elderly family members, it is for their own benefit so as to avoid potentially exposing them to health risks.
Guide to Post-Pandemic Hiking with Family
Embarking on an adventure or doing things together as a family is one way to bring your ties closer. Hiking is an absolute favorite activity for families because it enables you to enjoy beautiful scenery and breathtaking views, while also engaging in a physical activity. But while hiking is currently restricted, depending on where you are in Asia, there is no better time than now to start planning ahead.
1. Plan Your Hike Location (And When)
Delving into specific travel or activity plans is difficult given the current situation. But despite the uncertainty, it is important to come up with a more concrete plan for your family’s first post-pandemic hiking trip so you have a clear idea on how to prepare for it.
You can build up excitement in children by keeping them involved in the planning process. Get to know what types of scenery they want to enjoy and what they expect to find during your hike. This will enable you to narrow down your list of options on hiking destinations or trails according to their preference. When it comes to planning a family hiking trip, it is vital that you keep children happy and engaged. Once they get bored, it can ruin your entire trip as they will start to throw tantrums. A grumpy kid on a hike is never a pleasant experience.
Choosing a hiking location takes on a whole new meaning during the post-pandemic era. Safety and health concerns should still be in your mind. When choosing a hiking destination in Asia, consider the risks and the overall health status in the said region. How bad was the spread of the virus? Are there any tight restrictions on travel or tourism activities like hiking? If your chosen destination is currently under strict lockdown guidelines, then you might want to postpone your hiking plans until after the dust have settled or when things are back to normal.
2. Consider the Route Length
If you have been sheltering in place due to the pandemic, chances are your kids will be feeling rusty when it comes to hiking. It isn’t smart to choose longer and challenging hikes for the kids (and even the elderly folks in your family) to embark on a super long trail. As you get back to your groove, it is best to go for shorter and more moderate hiking trails.
Shorter trails are recommended for seniors and younger kids in the family. Use your own judgment as to what kinds of trails they can handle based on their hiking experience and their fitness level. For some seniors, a 1-hour trail might be challenging but for some others, they can easily handle a 2-hour trail. Whatever route length you choose, make sure that you give enough breaks in the middle to recover or to enjoy the scenery.
For families with kids below the age of 8, you might want to opt for shorter trails and those without much elevation change. Keep it challenging but not too hard that it will completely discourage them to continue. Remember: once you set foot on the trail, there is no turning back! Make sure your kids’ hiking ability is up to par with the trail’s difficulty level.
3. Find trails near you
In the post-pandemic era, you might still feel uncomfortable about the idea of traveling with family. This shouldn’t restrict your plans on embarking on that hiking adventure with your family. The best thing to do is find a trail near you – or ones that are a short drive away. In fact, travel industry experts predict that local travel and tourism is going to be the new trend once the pandemic crisis is over. And it isn’t a bad prospect at all as it is practical and cost-efficient for a family hiking trip.
A shorter drive to the hiking trail does have its perks – less cranky kid on the trail. Not all kids are able to handle the anticipation well. If you spend too much time traveling to the hiking trail, it won’t be too long until their anticipation dissipates. This is important for younger kids as older ones tend to love the idea of traveling far away from home. But if you have little kids in tow, try to limit your travel time so they can spend more time on the trail where they can be more engaged.
4. Let them lead.
Hiking with kids is an entirely new adventure if you’re used to hiking on your own (or with adults). The same goes when you tag the elderly ones in the family for the hike. However, kids are the most challenging ones to deal with because of their short attention span.
One of the tips you can incorporate when planning your next family hiking trip post-pandemic is to let them take the lead. Just as you involve them in the planning process, they should also take a proactive role during the actual hike.
Kids feel a sense of pride when they impress their parents (or any grown-ups around them). Assigning them this responsibility of taking the lead on a hike will not only give them a sense of achievement, but also keeps them engaged (so they will be less cranky). By taking the lead, it does not necessarily mean that you leave the planning to them entirely – just make them feel that way! By doing this, you also train them to adopt leadership qualities that will make them more confident the next time you set out on another hiking adventure.
5. Book your hiking trip now.
It might be too soon to do this but you can take advantage of discounted tickets and prices from trail organizers and tour operators if you use early bird discounts. Unless you want to plan a DIY family hiking trip, this is something you need to do ahead of time to ensure that you can enjoy great deals on hiking trail packages. There are many tour operators offering them for families if you intend to enjoy it a few months from now.
You don’t need to worry about the possibility of the hiking trip being cancelled or rescheduled. As long as the circumstances are beyond your control (such as when the lockdown has not been lifted yet), you can avail of either refund or rebooking of the trip so you’re not losing money in the process.
6. Don’t forget to buy travel insurance.
Travel insurance is no longer optional in a post-pandemic world. A lot of travelers found themselves losing money due to cancelations and non-refundable travel deposits due to the outbreak. If you book a family hiking trip for the post-pandemic era, insurance should be among the first few things you need to take care of.
Securing travel insurance will give you and your family extra level of protection when you go on a hike, too. Following the Covid-19 outbreak, there is a heightened concern for potential health risks, injuries, and other hazards present when you travel or go on a hike. Kids and elderly individuals are especially vulnerable so you want to have peace of mind knowing that they are insured. It’s also one way to ensure that your family can enjoy doing what you love – hiking – without being limited just because there are potential risks out there in the wilderness.
The current pandemic crisis is a rare moment in the travel and tourism industry. It gives everyone the opportunity to take a pause and do a complete reset of future travel plans. If your family is an avid hiker and you are currently longing for your next hiking adventure, use this time to do some extensive travel planning to ensure a successful trip next time you and your family do get to embark on one.