Editor’s note: Mari Rodríguez Ichaso has been collaborating with Vanidades magazine for several decades. She is a fashion, travel, food, art, architecture and entertainment specialist, film producer and style columnist for CNN en Español. The opinions expressed in this column are solely his own. Read more opinion pieces at cnne.com/opinion.
(Spanish CNN) — The decrease in covid-19 in some countries and the proliferation of vaccines have allowed us to start traveling more and with more confidence and serenity. Personally, I love it – just got back from my second trip to Europe since 2019 and would like to share my thoughts and tips with you.
My two week trip took me to Spain including Bilbao, San Sebastián, Saint Jean de Luz in the Basque Country of France and had its “finale” in Madrid. A great tour, which I have done several times before, but this time with my daughter, my 10 year old granddaughter and my Irish-American son-in-law who had never been to northern Spain.
a. First of all, I must tell you that traveling is still very different from what it was a little over 2 years ago. It takes patience…and obedience! Be patient when there are queues and things take a little longer. And compliance with the anti-covid-19 regulations that exist in several countries, and if we follow them (like wearing masks, getting vaccinated, etc.) everything will be much easier. In Spain, for example, I was happy to see that a large percentage of the population wear masks in public and behave naturally. And although when entering restaurants or cafes they take them off to eat or drink, there is a discipline that I really liked to notice. And that secures the traveler.
of them. A new — very careful — piece of advice that came in handy on this trip: bring several self-made covid-19 test kits that I used when I caught a cold that worried me. They cannot be used as an official “test”. but they give you great peace of mind and I’ve had one every couple of days. Well, if you live in a country that requires you to present a negative covid-19 test certificate, or test, on your return, taken 24 hours before boarding the plane (as is the case in the United States States), you should take precautions, carrying enough medication and money in case you test “positive” and have to wait until you test “negative” before your airline takes you on board. It happened this week to a good friend (and experienced traveller) in London, where although she had been vaccinated and with a “booster” (reinforcement dose), she tested positive the day before her return, and had to stay in his hotel for 6 more days, until yesterday finally his covid-19 test (done in a laboratory or a pharmacy, which are different in each country) was “negative” and he was able to return to Miami. It’s one of the unforeseen things about “new travel” and one that – amazes me a lot – that many travelers ignore or don’t take into consideration. A good idea? Buy travel insurance before you go on an adventure, which has never been more useful and gives you great peace of mind. And in case you get sick, they can even include transport to your country by private plane.
3. Another piece of advice, truer and more useful than ever, is to not pack too much and to travel as light as possible. Excess suitcases, packages or bags contribute to unnecessary physical (and emotional!) chaos. Only one suitcase to check in and a handbag. Place! A simple recipe that “liberates” us a lot. And in this luggage, carry a wardrobe that can be combined and that does not complicate our lives. Do not bring 6 pairs of matching shoes and bags. It’s not necessary! My secret is to base the wardrobe on a base color – in my case, black, or sometimes navy blue – and “change it up” with scarves, costume jewelry and “shirts” in different colors. We will always look great and it will be much easier! And if you’re not expecting a big gala night, remember that a pair of rhinestone earrings or studs or a gorgeous satin blouse will instantly enhance your look, as will a good quality shawl like cashmere or silk. The same goes for makeup. Carry small sizes in plastic bags and don’t carry six lipsticks and four blushes. Two “lipsticks” are enough! The idea? Travel with comfort and objects that weigh little, which lighten your suitcases. And they “lighten” your trip.
The pleasure of traveling has undoubtedly returned, and it is to be celebrated, but it comes with certain precautions and intelligent and careful planning. It has never been so delicious to travel and see new places or revisit those you love, but you have to know how to do it, because the world has changed since 2020, and it requires knowing how to navigate it in this new way of life.