COVID-19 has disrupted everything, travel plans included. I know I’m not alone on those who swiped their plastic fantastic (aka credit card) to snag a good deal on plane tickets to their favorite destinations. As soon as the lockdown commenced, airports closed, flights were canceled and the 2020 dream journeys went pfft. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Even with the travel bans lifted and planes took to the sky, to travel is a hassle—big time! Travelers need documents. Lots of it. Travel clearance from the barangay and police, and proof that you are Covid-19-free at least 48 hours before the departure date. Do you know how much a swab test cost? P 6,500. And you need two, heading off and coming home.

If you’re flying in from another country, add the cost of hotel accommodations for three nights while waiting for the result. You can’t board on your connecting domestic flight until then. If your flight gets canceled, who shoulders the cost of the swab test? Your guess is as good as mine. So it's best if we wait for this pandemic through. Stay home, wash hands frequently, use masks and pray for the vaccine ASAP.

In the meantime, why not sift through your travel photos and daydream? Draft a bigger and more exciting plan for a first post-pandemic destination. Fly Business Class, upgrade to a luxury hotel, book a table at a Michelin-starred restaurant because...why not? After staying put for months (and turning into bakers, gardeners, interior designers or barter experts), you deserve this treat.

Taipei and Tokyo for the Sakura were on my list. It's not the first time there but there are places that you can't get enough of and these two are on it. Luckily, I haven't purchased tickets for those places. However, I have booked tickets to Bangkok in May, an annual scheduled trip, and Boracay in August. Both were canceled. Not so lucky with T’s and B’s trips so far, but there’s another “B” destination in October— Bohol. I pray something positive will turn out before the departure date.

You see, I am not alone in this. On social media, I see posts of “if not for the pandemic, I would have been here by now” captioned to a photo. Well, what do you know, it seems that Japan is leading if it were a popularity race. Maybe because it’s the site of the 2020 Olympics or the ramen.

Months back, I did a story on where Davaoeños would go after the pandemic. Siargao topped the list followed by Coron and Bohol. I wouldn’t mind going to some exotic destination and emerge in saltwater for hours of cleansing ritual. It seems that seaside areas are Covid-19 free. Am I right on this? If so, lucky are those who live by the beach. Fresh, healing air all the way!

So until it is safe to travel, let’s keep on wishing, planning. Ticking off places from the bucket list are put on hold at the moment, but knowing how generous the Universe is, we will be riding planes and finding ourselves in our dream destinations soon enough. Meanwhile, let’s do our share in flattening the curve.

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