With global recovery on the horizon, keen traveler's worldwide are planning their next trip. Across Saudi Arabia, hotels, restaurants and tourism attractions are taking concrete steps to reopen safely, with new protocols designed to ensure the health of all visitors traveling to, and within, the kingdom. Tourists can also play their part, by staying up to speed on the latest health and travel advice, and by taking practical precautions. So whether you’re planning a luxury staycation, or a cross-country road trip, here are some tips to ensure your next Arabian adventure is exciting, enjoyable and stress-free.
As travel restrictions ease, the best way to ensure you’re up-to-date with the latest advice is to follow government guidelines. The Saudi Ministry of Health has a dedicated mobile app, Mawid, which offers current healthcare recommendations, and a hotline available on 937. You can also visit the ministry’s website for the latest news on travel policies.
Take charge of your well-being
Be responsible for your health. Make sure you feel well before setting off, and do not travel if you don’t. If you begin to experience symptoms of Covid-19, such as a mild cough, fever or shortness of breath, isolate at home and seek medical advice. Ahead of traveling, ensure your health insurance is current and be prepared for any healthcare emergencies by carrying essential contact numbers, along with details of your policy.
In the event you do end up having to rearrange your plans, travel insurance can help to protect your investment. Consider taking out a policy before you depart, to allow for any changes in health advice or social distancing laws.
The simplest way to stay safe and protect those around you is through good hygiene. When traveling, wash your hands thoroughly and regularly, and avoid touching your nose and mouth. Carry hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes when out and about, particularly in more remote or rural locations, and apply regularly. Remember to pack facemasks and gloves to wear, as required, and dispose of them carefully after use. Keep a safe distance from others in public places -– a two meter or six foot gap is recommended – and use contactless payment options, such as cards, where you can.
If you’ve got a short-hop flight across Saudi, or you’re planning to take the train, arrive early. Thanks to new safety measures, such as temperature scans and social distancing, queues may be longer and move more slowly. Where you can, use online check-in facilities, and allow yourself enough time to pass through security screening and board smoothly. Be aware that there may also be new limits around hand luggage, so make sure to check this with your carrier ahead of your flight. Staff will be on hand to support, with answers to any questions you may have.
In line with strict new government guidelines, hotels across the kingdom have rolled out enhanced sanitization protocols to safeguard the health of their guests. Properties are also limiting guest numbers, carrying out health screenings on arrival and offering online check-in. Feel free to phone ahead of your arrival for details on how your hotel is managing this: staff will be glad to reassure you. For added peace of mind, carry disinfecting wipes to clean down key touchpoints in your room, such as taps and door handles – but rest assured that guidelines are being stringently followed.
As restaurants, cafés and other eateries resume dine-in services, they are also ramping up sanitization procedures to ensure they are ready to welcome patrons. New rules will set limits to the number of diners admitted at any one time, and extra space between tables in support of social distancing guidelines is mandatory. Disposable cutlery and crockery is also being used for increased safety. All measures are designed to ensure guests are safe and comfortable.
Skip the crowds by exploring some of the fantastic outdoor adventures Saudi has to offer. Whether that’s picnicking in the mountains, driving the Red Sea coast, or exploring the kingdom's vast national parks, there’s no better way to experience Saudi Arabia’s diverse and beautiful landscape. Connect with a tour guide to build a bespoke itinerary, and for reassurance from experts on the best places to visit.
Look out for deals
The travel industry is gearing up to welcome tourists again, and to smooth the path for holiday planning. This means you’re likely to come across exciting offers and deals, special rates and new suggestions of how to experience and enjoy Saudi Arabia. Take advantage of bargains to visit a new corner of the kingdom,, or to tick an experience off your travel bucket list.
While post-pandemic travel may raise new considerations, it’ is still an exciting opportunity to get out and explore, experience Saudi’s rich culture and heritage, and enjoy its spectacular scenery. Plan ahead, stay safe and informed, and, enjoy your trip.