The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a sweeping global lockdown that has seen borders shut and transportation networks brought to a halt. This has left many travelers, particularly backpackers and digital nomads, stranded during uncertain times. If this is you (or someone you know), read on for five tips that will help you improve your situation:
1. Seek financial assistance
If you’re a backpacker or a digital nomad whose work has dried up and you’re stuck overseas, consider hunting down low-interest money loans or asking family and friends for help before turning to high-interest avenues like credit cards or payday loans. There are many non-profit organizations offering loans to people in financial hardship, so get researching and be sure to always read the fine print before signing up for a line of credit.
2. Gather your locally relevant resources
The most relevant resources to you will differ depending on where you are. However, as a starting point, you’ll want to search for and bookmark the government COVID-19 pages for both the region you’re in and your home country. Take note of the location and contact details of your country’s consulate in case you need emergency assistance. You should also bookmark one of the sites that are tracking the global COVID-19 statistics as this will be useful in your decision-making. Armed with these resources, it’s essential that you stay up-to-date with the local laws and always follow the directives given by authorities.
3. Stay connected
This is essential, not just for your safety but also for your mental health. Make sure you have a hardcopy of emergency contacts, both in your current location and back home. If you don’t already have a local SIM, get one and give the number to trusted people at home – you can never have too many communication options. Having a data plan on your phone along with the internet in your accommodation will ensure you always have a way to stay connected.
Stay in touch with friends and family back home and don’t be ashamed to speak up and share any fears or worries you may have. It’s also worth joining ex-pat groups on social media for the country you’re in. Here, you’ll find locally relevant support and advice, people willing to help you solve any problems you may be facing, and of course, plenty of mood-lifting memes.
4. Double-check your travel insurance
It’s essential during this time that you know what you’re covered for. Each travel insurance company has created a different policy surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak, with different cut-off dates and rules for coverage. Check their website and your policy so you know what you will and won’t be covered for. If you’re uncertain of anything, take advantage of the 24-hour hotline most insurance companies offer.
5. Boost your income
If you have internet access and a whole lot of time on your hands, one of the best ways to improve your position and take your mind of any fears you might have is to find ways to boost your income. From teaching English online to taking on freelance micro-jobs, the internet is full of opportunities.
One thing’s for sure – these are strange times we’re facing; and for stranded travelers, the uncertainty is so much more pronounced. However, if you take measures to secure your financial situation, keep yourself informed, follow directions from the local authorities, and ensure you’re staying in contact with loved ones, you’ll be nicely set up to weather this storm and emerge safe, happy, and healthy once the new normal kicks in.