It’s no doubt that 2020 has been an unprecedented year of uncertainty. With the Covid-19 global pandemic, almost every state and territory has had varying levels of isolation enforced, coupled with proximity and travelling restrictions, and even curfews. However, as restrictions ease and the numbers of community transmissions drops, Australians are being encouraged to embark on domestic, intrastate holidays – which means that it is increasing important for travellers to make smart, considerate decisions for the safety of themselves and the areas that they visit.
Luckily, most outdoor adventuring activities already inherently comply with the social distancing rules that are currently in place. While crowds can be spotted in shopping centres and key tourist hotspots, National Park walking tracks, mountain biking trails, rock climbing routes and canyoning destinations rarely see the congregations of active adventurers that urban areas have.
While most outdoor activities in remote areas are generally safe with regards to social distancing, staying safe during COVID is still something not to be taken lightly. Here are some tips to keep your adventures responsible in these trying times:
Check state official guidelines
Before planning your next adventure, check with your state’s health officials on news about your local area and restrictions. It is important to take the public health restrictions seriously and respect the recommendations that are in place. Consider embarking on an adventure destination closer to home and avoid travelling out of state if you can. Not only will this allow you to explore some of the better kept secrets of your region, you’ll be putting much needed tourism dollars back into your local economy with petrol, grocery or equipment spend.
Keep your activity group small
While it may be fun to adventure out with a large group of friends, during COVID it is highly recommended that group activities remain small. This is both to abide by state regulations on maximum group gathering sizes, as well as minimize the risk of community spread infection (keeping in mind that not everyone shows symptoms when infected). Depending on your states’s restrictions, consider only adventuring with someone in your current household like a housemate, partner, or family member.
Avoid the crowds
Some popular trails and national parks may continue be tourist and traveller hotspots despite the pandemic, so it’s important to consider the areas that you are visiting and avoid crowded destinations when possible. Consider exploring some of the less popular routes and you may find yourself uncovering hidden gems that you may not have otherwise experienced. We suggest using the Wejugo Make Your Own Adventure Platform to browse some of these some lesser-known destinations and trails; click here to join our early access program.
Solid preparation is the key for any successful outdoor activity – pandemic or not. One of the main reasons outdoor rescues occur is because travellers have not adequately prepared for food and water requirements, gear requirements, weather fluctuations, mapping or navigational errors, or general responsible travel considerations. Ensure your trip has been planned to the finest detail to help avoid an emergency situation or potential rescue requirement. This includes; notifying emergency contacts of your adventure plans, organising an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) and ensuring all travel members have complete clarity of the expectations of what everyone is bringing.
When Covid restrictions were implemented in April 2020, many Australians had restrictions imposed on how many hours a day they were able to go out and exercise. Gyms were non-operational for weeks to months, and general hours of operation have still been impacted. Essentially, physical fitness for many people deteriorated during the first half of 2020 due to these restrictions. With this in mind, if you are eager to embark on an active adventure, it’s important that you work your way up to your pre-pandemic fitness levels before undertaking an adventure you may have otherwise been physically prepared for. Consider implementing a weekly training schedule to build your fitness levels in preparation for your trip, and your risk of injury on your trip will be dramatically reduced.
While washing your hands multiple times a day should be a habit by now, it is also important to sanitize all your adventure gear before and after your trip. Aside from being immensely helpful in stopping the spread of Covid, this is also an imperative practise in stopping the spread soil-borne diseases and weeds between national parks.
Incorporating some of these tips into your plans and habits may not only assist in the short term solution of adventuring during COVID, but could also benefit your longer-term travel practices and habits to explore safely.