14 Tips To Help You Survive and Thrive During a 14-Day Travel Quarantine
The great irony of travel quarantines: to experience that terrific sense of freedom and excitement, you must first complete two weeks of exactly the opposite.
Freedom is huge to digital nomads. It’s the reason why many of us chose this lifestyle. But quarantine doesn’t have to make you feel trapped or like you’ve temporarily relinquished that sense of independence you love. Though it’s not something anyone necessarily looks forward to, a two-week quarantine can be a real opportunity to reset and realign.
Several months ago, my fiance and I traveled to the United Kingdom from the United States, which is allowed, but only with a 14-day mandatory quarantine upon arrival. In the first two weeks of our stay in the English countryside, we left our cozy attic studio only for walks around the surrounding farmland, and besides the two of us, the only living creature we saw were cows roaming around the pasture.
Peaceful, dull, introspective, torturous, character-building. There are many words I could use to describe our time there. But I’ve come out the other side with some helpful knowledge and a newfound sense of gratitude for literally everything.
Even with the large-scale production of COVID-19 vaccines, these mandatory 14-day travel quarantines won’t disappear entirely until late 2021 (at least). So whether you’re about to enter into quarantine land or you’re just trying to get through this latest round of COVID-19 lockdowns, here are some tips to help you get through with grace and your sanity intact.
Set your intentions before your quarantine begins.
Of course, you don’t need any sort of gameplan to quarantine. But creating one before you start will make you feel like you’re more in control of your situation instead of just counting down the days. Your time is valuable, and even a loose plan can help it stay that way.
Make a list of personal goals you’d like to accomplish over the next two weeks. It could be starting on a new project, practicing your Spanish, doing yoga every morning, meditating every day, finishing a book you’ve always wanted to read. Whatever they are, creating goals will help you stop looking at quarantine like a prison sentence and start looking at it as an opportunity to reset your mind and body.
Don’t skimp on your quarantine accommodation.
Under normal circumstances, you might only use your place to crash after exploring or working in coffee shops or coworking spaces all day. For my fiance and me, a small setup usually suits us just fine. But one of the biggest mistakes we made in our quarantine experience was booking a studio apartment.
When you’re confined to a single room, the crazy can set in so much easier. If you can afford it, I’d highly recommend spending a little more to get a place with multiple rooms, maybe with an outdoor seating area or balcony.
When your location is limited to your accommodation, you’ll be glad you chose a space you actually love (and can stretch out without hitting a wall). Trust me, you don’t want to skimp on this stay.
Avoid public transportation when you hop off the plane.
Another point that may require you to plan ahead is one so small and mundane, you may not have even considered it. What is your plan as soon as you hop off the plane? If it includes hopping on any sort of public transportation, you may want to rethink that.
Some countries don’t even allow you to use their local transportation systems if you’re heading to quarantine. And even if there’s no real way of the local government checking, why potentially expose so many others?
Be a responsible global citizen and rent a car or look up your Uber/taxi options before you arrive in your destination city.
Create a COVID gameplan.
If you wake up on Quarantine Day 5 and have symptoms of COVID-19, would you know what to do? Who to call? Where the nearest hospital is? Even if it’s just a cursory glance on the internet or a quick Notes app note on your phone, look all that up now and not when you’re in a brain fog and feeling like a panicky mess. Though it might not be much fun to think about now (or ever), if the worst-case scenario does happen, you’ll be glad you spared yourself even a little bit of stress.
Order grocery delivery as soon as you get there.
Another area where you can learn from my mistake is your grocery order. Our accommodation host (amazingly) left us plenty of necessities like coffee, bread, eggs, pasta, and more in the kitchen. So we waited a few days before we ordered groceries through Asda. Big mistake. Huge. A few days in and low on almost everything in the kitchen, we waited eagerly for the delivery person to leave our order at the door. Instead, we received a message that our order was delayed by two days. We basically lived off of the few items our host had left and a few takeout orders until the delivery finally came. Take it from us: order your groceries ASAP.
Order some local food and snacks.
When we were quarantining in England, I felt this strange mix of wonder at being in a foreign country and sad FOMO at not being able to go out and explore anything. But there is one travel activity you can still partake in while quarantining: trying the local foods. We ordered several excellent takeout meals from local restaurants as well as a bunch of fun snacks from Asda. One of our favorite quarantine activities ended up being the discovery of Digestives, Wotsits, and Cherry Bakewells, which we delighted in snacking on regularly.
Which brings me too….
Get active every single day.
It’s all too easy to slip into a sedentary lifestyle in these two weeks, where you’re doing nothing but sitting and staring at various screens until bedtime rolls around. See if you can find a safe, socially distanced running route, look up workout videos online, do yoga in the morning, dance around your bedroom, create a standing desk setup. The more active you can be, the happier and healthier you’ll feel.
Get fresh air every single day.
Again, when choosing your accommodations, choose a place that has an option for you to go outside every day in a safe, socially distanced way. This is not the time to book a high rise apartment in a busy city. We felt so fortunate that we chose to stay in Barnsley, a small English town in the middle of nowhere with fields of empty farmland to wander around. Our daily walks truly were the highlight of our day. And even if you are able to get outdoors, consider stocking up on some Vitamin D supplements to ensure your body is staying healthy.
Learn a little something every day.
Keeping your brain active is just as important as working out every day. Find an educational activity that you love doing and that really stimulates your brain. Some good examples are watching YouTube or Skillshare videos to learn a new skill, reading an autobiography written by someone you admire, getting your daily Duolingo exercises in. Keep that mind sharp, and you’ll feel productive every day.
Plan your post-quarantine activities.
You have the extra time: why not use it to make an itinerary, research your location, book your next coworking space? Plan things that will help you look forward to that glorious day after your quarantine ends.
If you have fun, social activities planned, you’ll keep all those great things that await you in mind–and remember why you’re doing this quarantine in the first place.
Check in with your friends and family.
When was the last time you really had the time to sit down and talk to your mom for an hour? Your grandparents? Your best friend from college? Chances are, everyone in your life could use a friendly chat right now. Put your time to good use and reconnect with your inner circle.
Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Not to go all “unprecedented times” on you, but no one actually knows what they’re doing in this pandemic. We’re all just trying to get by, survive, and thrive with our mental health still intact. This article is based on my own quarantine experience, but hell, if you want to do nothing but binge-watch Netflix shows and eat donuts for two weeks, that’s great. You know yourself, your brain, and your body better than I do.
Know that this is only temporary…
By quarantining, you’re doing your duty as a global citizen to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In most countries there are fees for breaking the rules, but whether their governments actually check or have any way of knowing is debatable. We never got a call or email or any sort of contact from the U.K. government, and officials at the airport where we landed didn’t even check our quarantine paperwork. But you’re not doing this to comply with governments. You’re doing this out of respect for the local people who never consented to unknowingly come in contact with potential COVID-19 exposure. In the grand scheme of things, two weeks is nothing when it could potentially save a life.
And that the feeling you’ll get at the end of quarantine will be incredible.
One of the best days of our whole travel journey was the night after our quarantine ended. We walked down the street to the local pub and ordered a bunch of food and several pints. And let me tell you, though at first it felt wrong and strange after days and days of isolation, those feelings eventually faded into this inexplicable joy and appreciation of…well, everything. My fiance and I sat in the pub, listening to the buzz of colorful conversation and laughter all around us. We sat there with dopey smiles, eating, drinking, taking everything in, having one of those rare and beautiful travel moments where you’re just hit with intense, awesome gratitude.
That moment will be yours before you know it. For now, stay safe and stay inside.
My name is Claudia and I’m a Gen Z Digital Nomad & Writer of https://www.thenomadnerd.com/. I’m all about living as my 100% authentic, travel nerd self.
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