5 foolproof tips to enjoy your non-refundable vacation in Southeast Asia even with the haze
A smoky haze blankets over Southeast Asia every year. Forest fires have caused this disaster as countries like Indonesia have an abundance of greenery. The Southeast Asian region isn’t a stranger to grey skies and acrid smells. This year has brought some of the worst haze levels to date. If you have a scheduled trip to Southeast Asia long before the haze, chances are the tickets and accommodations you booked are past its refundable window. But it’s not the end of the world! Cheer up as our agents at Fayyaz Travels dish out some no-nonsense tips on how to enjoy your non-refundable vacation in a currently hazy Southeast Asia.
1. Always carry a durable mask with you.
People go to surgical masks more than ever these days for a good reason. These masks protect sick people from inhaling harmful elements that might affect their recovery. Not all masks can protect you from the haze though. You need one durable enough to withstand and filter out the harmful smoke of the Southeast Asian haze. Simple surgical masks won’t do the trick, so don’t even let people fool you on this! What you would need is an N95 mask. This type of N95 mask has a very close facial fit which filters more airborne particles than the regular surgical mask. You can buy yours online or in a medical store near your location. You can also check-in with your destination’s go-to health organisations to see if they are handing out free masks for locals and tourists as part of their haze management protocols (Thailand is already doing this, we heard).
2. Keep a lookout for important updates.
Obviously, you need to keep a lookout for important updates when in the Southeast Asian city of your choice during this haze. Keep vigilant for important details such as the haze index of the city you in or are heading to, as well as for the latest news on haze-related safety situations. Some shops and tourist spots suspend operations during bad weather conditions. Not sure how to keep the updates coming? When in doubt, tell your travel agents to keep you informed; they most likely have first-hand updates which will keep you informed.
3. Ensure that you have resources to deal with haze-induced emergency situations.
In situations such as haze, a lot of carbon dioxide is expelled through the air. Haze can trigger asthma attacks or respiratory illnesses. Make sure you are always prepared to deal with emergency situations. Bring sufficient resources such as inhalers and a first-aid kid with you for your trip. While you’re at it, look up the contact details of specialised doctors and hospitals in your destination cities. Also, keep in mind that resources also mean technological aids: ensure that you have access to your mobile phone at all times by packing additional power banks and chargers, and securing internet access. You will need as much communication as possible in an emergency situation!
4. Visit out-of-town places in the country you are visiting.
Cities are usually the ones heavily affected by the haze. You can select alternative out-of-town options in your destination country. Remote islands and tourist villages are typically unaffected by haze due to their remote location and also their bad weather-repelling natural properties, such as lots of tropical plants and trees that would absorb excess carbon dioxide and expel the oxygen your lungs need. Examples of clear-skied islands you can fly to if you are in the Philippines, for instance, are Palawan, Boracay, and Siargao. When in Malaysia? Why not check out the Perhentian, Redang, or Kapas Islands to take a break from the bad haze in Kuala Lumpur.
5. Look up alternative travel transportations in the case of flight cancellations.
When black hazy smoke clouds up the sky, pilots have to deal with lessened visibility, which could be dangerous. Airline companies are therefore left with no choice but to either delay or cancel flights for the safety of everyone involved. Unable to take your air transits within Southeast Asia? Look for alternate modes of transportation if available. Land or sea travelling may be safer and poses less risk as compared to air travel right now.
To keep things easy breezy for you during this difficult time, rely on your travel agent to plan the best alternative modes of transportation to choose from. Most countries in Southeast Asia do offer train rides or private car drives as on-ground transportation options. While you are at it, remember to check in with your booking providers for possible perks, discounts or freebies you can claim due to the inconveniences that have occurred as a result of flight cancellations. Most airlines are quick to handle delays by providing compensations for passengers.