As you head off on your December break, you may be experiencing some anxiety around COVID-19 and how to keep as safe as possible.

Follow the same protocols and care you take at home when staying in a hotel, guest house or self-catering accommodation (mask and sanitise as much as possible!) – and along with these tips you’re sure to have a wonderful, relaxing holiday.

The Flight Centre Experts’ top tips to keep safe staying in a hotel:

Check that your establishment has the ‘stamp of approval’

Rest assured that the South African tourism and hospitality industry is doing everything possible to keep you safe. The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) has implemented comprehensive protocols for accommodation providers and a handy certification programme and app to record compliance. The TBCSA protocols have received the World Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC) stamp of approval and the TBCSA has issuing rights for the WTTC Safe Travels stamp within South Africa. Ensure you are clear and understand the hotel’s protocols, including that you know what to do if, worst case scenario, you find yourself feeling unwell.

Don’t forget that the most important responsibility rests with you, as the guest and a responsible South African. Following the principles you’d adhere to at home is a good rule of thumb.

Wash your hands frequently using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser or better yet, soap and warm water.

Always wear your mask properly

Yes, that means with your nose and mouth covered – none of this under the nose business. That’s equivalent to not wearing a mask at all.

Pack extra masks as spares for when your originals are in the wash.

Consider asking for a room that hasn’t been occupied for a few days

Of course, this may not always be possible. But if it brings you extra peace of mind, it’s worth asking. Of course, the hotel would also have sanitised properly between guests.

Sanitise your room

While the hotel would have done a deep clean prior to your arrival, it doesn’t hurt to do a little extra just for your peace of mind. Sanitise frequently touched surfaces (doorknobs and light switches for example) and then wash your hands thoroughly.

Increase ventilation

Embrace the fresh open air. Open all windows and doors if it’s safe to do so – and try to keep fresh air moving through your room if possible.

Opt for less housekeeping

The risk of contracting the virus from housekeeping staff is minimal if they’re wearing a mask and adhering to protocol, but you could also ask to forgo housekeeping altogether, or get supplies and fresh towels dropped outside the door if needed.

Choose the stairs over the lift if possible

Any enclosed space is riskier so, if you are able to, take the stairs or don’t get into a lift with others. Also, carry your own luggage into the hotel.

Respect the staff and property’s guidelines

Each property may enforce slightly stricter regulations – respect their efforts to keep you safe.

Know that the hotel experience may look different than it did prior to COVID-19.

Here’s what to expect from your accommodation establishment:

• Temperature scans upon entering premises and compulsory use of hand sanitiser.
• Many hotels have removed shared stationary from rooms.
• Reduced buffet-style dining.
• You’ll be asked to complete and sign a health questionnaire.
• Thorough staff training on COVID-19 preventative measures, with educational signage for both staff and guests.
• Staff wearing PPE.
• Social distancing in public areas, including dining areas.
• Guests may opt for room service if they feel more comfortable doing so.
• Kitchens and other facilities may close earlier.

The Flight Centre team has carefully vetted hotels to ensure we’re offering you the most “COVID-friendly” accommodation.

Support a smaller operator

While the larger hotel chains have extremely stringent COVID-19 protocols in place, consider adding on a night or two in a smaller establishment to support the SMMEs. Just check they are COVID-19 compliant.

Follow WHO guidelines at all times

Cover your nose and mouth with a flexed elbow or disposable tissue when coughing and sneezing. Don’t travel or socialise if you are feeling unwell (for example, have a cough or fever).

Your Flight Centre Travel Expert will be able to help you find a “COVID-safe” hotel. Contact them today!

Source: Flight Centre