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10 ways to travel safely and responsibly in BC this Summer

As British Columbia moves forward with its Restart Plan and restrictions further begin to ease, travelling in the province may be a little different this year. We’ll need to take more time with planning, and be more conscious of our impact on communities—especially the smaller ones, when we visit. As a starting point, Destination BC has compiled 10 tips to help you plan and travel responsibly in BC this Summer, when the time is right. Do your research Take extra time to research and plan your trip in advance, and make sure you have a Plan B if your activity is at capacity. Many businesses and services in BC have adopted new protocols, and changes to their schedules or policies to ensure your safety. You’ll want to become familiar with them ahead of time. For example, you may have to book in advance for attractions or experiences where you didn’t before, and transportation schedules, like BC Ferries, may be operating at reduced capacity. Some businesses or outdoor spaces may remain closed. See the HelloBC.com accommodations listingstransportation listings, and experience provider listings to start your research, and contact the local Visitor Centre for more information. Be respectful Responsible tourism means that the experience creates a positive impact for all involved – not just the traveller. Keep in mind that you’re a guest of your fellow BC residents when travelling, and respect the guidelines and protocols they’ve put in place in their community during this time. Travel in smaller groups If you normally travel with extended family or with several friends, consider travelling in a smaller group this summer. Travelling with fewer people makes it easier for you to practise physical distancing in public, and may have less of an impact on the destination. More time, fewer locations Consider a slower travel pace this summer to help curb the spread. Instead of checking in and out of multiple destinations during one trip, choose one destination and one accommodation for your entire trip, and use that as a ‘home-base’ for exploring all the destinations nearby. Pack essentials If you’re heading to a more rural area of the province, stock up with the essentials before you leave home (i.e. groceries). This helps lessen your impact on BC communities who may be experiencing supply issues, and reduces your touchpoints within communities who may have limited health care facilities. Even better: create a Clean Trip Kit, including hand sanitizer, soap, gloves, masks, and toilet paper. While some businesses and destinations may supply these for visitors, it’s not a guarantee. Stay apart, stay safe Practise physical distancing and frequent handwashing hygiene to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Follow the recommendations from the BC Centre for Disease Control to learn about preventative activities, and talk to the tourism businesses you are visiting about the steps they are taking to keep you and their staff safe. WorkSafeBC now requires all businesses to post their new COVID-related health and safety protocols at their workplace for staff and visitors to see. Leave No Trace When exploring BC’s outdoors, always leave it in a better state than when you arrived. Respect local wildlife. Minimize campfire impacts and check BC Wildfire Service for fire bans and fire safety tips. Pack out what you pack in, and dispose of waste properly. These are just some of key principles of Leave No Trace, a set of seven guidelines for enjoying the outdoors responsibly while minimizing your impact on the landscape. Visit Leave No Trace and BC Wildfire to learn more. Be AdventureSmart No matter what outdoor activity you are planning, you must be prepared. Remember to follow the three Ts—trip planning, training, and taking the essentials. AdventureSmart is a great resource to get informed before heading outdoors. Be calm, be patient, be kind Remember, activities may take longer than usual, or places may be at capacity when you arrive. Be calm, patient, and kind, and remember, we’re all in this together. Support BC and have fun! BC’s tourism businesses are eager to welcome you back this summer and your support is more crucial than ever. Remember, with the border closed, our businesses are relying on British Columbians. For now, you have the province all to yourself! Make the most of it. See What’s Open in BC by Community to learn where you can support local businesses.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. Regions that put together a coherent safety plan will fare far better in the long term than destinations that declare “Open for business again”. Seeing a 10 point plan with everyone understanding that safety is the priority will go a long way to reassuring potential visitors.

  2. At the moment I can’t say that I’m overly optimistic about getting away within the next couple of months but reading this reminded me that British Columbia is on my list. A friend of mine showed me her holiday pictures from a fortnight in BC, visiting relatives, and she was very enthusiastic and wants to go again. It certainly helps that they are prioritising safety and their plan should encourage people like me to visit.

  3. I’m not sure about the safety of travelling this summer, but I’d definitely think that planning would be crucial. So many things now need to be pre-booked that didn’t have to before, and the situation is continually changing. Likewise I think people should keep in mind the chances of needing to self-isolate upon returning home even if they go somewhere within the ‘air corridor’, as the recent issues with Spain have shown. Some really good points here and I think the one about Leave No Trace should apply everywhere. I keep seeing photos of the coastal areas in the UK littered with garbage and it’s awful, it doesn’t take much to tidy up after yourself and take away rubbish.

  4. The first one is really important, I’ve realized. It really is crucial to have a backup plan especially when traveling. You might think that you won’t need a backup plan or you might not even be considering anything could go wrong. But in my experience, even when traveling in a healthy world, things happened that you could not have forseen. So having a backup plan helps to protect you from any unseen situations that arise to spoil your plans.

  5. I’ve always believed in the principle of “leave only footprints, take only pictures/ memories” whenever I travel. It’s the only way we can preserve the places we visit. I’ve seen the bad effects irresponsible tourists leave behind in some of the destination I love the most. Beaches are the perfect example for this. So it’s good that BC is reminding everyone who wants to visit about this. I also subscribe to packing only the essentials because it makes for easier transportation. Imagine carrying so much stuff that you’re bound to forget something. I’m not opposed to using the same clothes on different days either.

  6. I can see British Columbia being a very popular destination in the near future. I think most of us are desperate to travel but still quite nervous about getting too close to other people. Somewhere like British Columbia with a really low population density is going to appeal – once we feel that flying is safe. Maybe it is a sign of the times but I’ve been watching some repeats of the Ben Fogle programmes lately where he heads off to remote places to spend time with people who are living miles from anywhere and enjoying a remote life.

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