After a challenging year-and-a-half, international tourism is on the rise. Travelers who canceled trips and put off taking vacation days are finally making plans. Case in point, the online travel agency Trivago saw its third quarter net income rise to $3.36 million, reversing a $2.6 million loss from last year.  

Yet the Omicron variant of COVID-19 threatens to reverse those gains and leave travelers in limbo again. And that makes for a difficult holiday season for hospitality and tourism interpreters. Fortunately, we have three tips to help you keep your sanity. 

  1. Set Google Alerts to track new travel restrictions.

    From vaccination and testing requirements to border closures, travel restrictions remain in flux around the world. To keep up, we recommend setting a Google alert to stay informed about the region or regions you work in. That way, you won’t be caught off guard when someone has questions about a new policy or restriction.

  2. Take steps to increase your EQ.
    Travel can be stressful, even under normal circumstances. However, the need to cancel plans or cut them short after a long-anticipated vacation can leave people disappointed, frustrated, and angry. Add in an unclear or unfair refund policy, and you may get caught in an argument between an employee and a customer.

    Here’s where your emotional intelligence (EQ) comes into play. As you work through a session, keep in mind that both parties are struggling to navigate rules that change from day to day. Do your best to convey each party’s perspective to ensure they understand each other. While a customer may still walk away angry, this can help diffuse the conflict.

  3. Schedule time for self-care. 

    Regardless of whether you’re a remote interpreter or work onsite, you should set aside time for self-care. Dealing with other people’s emotions on a regular basis can leave you exhausted or worse—burned out. Take time out for a walk, to meditate, or simply regulate your breathing after a stressful session.  

Travel in 2022 and Beyond  

Last but not least, keep in mind that this won’t last forever. Trivago has already announced that it expects the travel market to mostly return to normal by mid-2022. While canceled flights and lost hotel reservations aren’t going anywhere, the COVID-19 pandemic will eventually subside. Then you can go back to interpreting the usual travel gripes.  

Have any other advice for hospitality and tourism interpreters this holiday season? Let us know in the comments!