Without a vaccine, the Coronavirus pandemic seems to be going nowhere, and the world must adjust to the new normal. The daily routines of many people worldwide have been affected by the pandemic. Global economies have had to recover from the bad hit the advent of the pandemic has caused. However, another sector that is about to be significantly affected is that of traveling. In 2019, Americans had embarked on 2.29 billion domestic trips alone. With so many travel plans for this year, what does the future of traveling look like? It may be easy to know what to pack but what special precautions should you be taking ahead of your journey and during your trip? Here are some changes to expect.
1 An increase in road trips
Taking road trips may seem to be the better alternative for traveling in this period. Medical experts say people tend to be more comfortable in their vehicles because of the assurance of safety, security, and familiarity. Many view it as a safer, cleaner, and more feasible option than flying on airplanes or taking a cruise ship trip. This is especially crucial for germaphobes who prefer to be exposed to their pathogens rather than from others. It also cuts down the risk of meeting up or being in close contact with strangers who may carry the virus. Choosing to take road trips lends credence to the WHO safety protocols on limiting exposure to other people outside your household.
2. An over-reliance on travel advisors
The world continues to hope for a viable vaccine to combat COVID-19, but it still would not change the new status of travel advisors. Once traveling commences, people will turn to the priceless knowledge and business connections of travel advisors to book travels in advance. Unlike travel agents, travel advisors possess an in-depth familiarity with destinations, hotels, and other costs related to your trip. Furthermore, travel advisors have realized their utmost relevance in the pandemic season, which has sparked several office conversions. Spaces previously used as ticketing offices have converted into travel advisors to remain functional.
With their skills and expertise, you would receive clear guidance on what to expect during your travels and safety precautions to take. During this period, not all international borders are open, and some are only open to specific groups of people. A travel advisor would ensure you are aware of this and any other relevant information concerning your trips.
3. Fewer crowds at popular travel destinations
As the world recovers from the pandemic, places that usually recorded higher numbers of customers and tourists will reduce drastically. Before the Coronavirus disease, museums, theme parks, and other landmark facilities that attracted crowds will no longer do so. As a controlled measure, authorities will reopen to fewer numbers to reduce the risk of a COVID-19 infection among the visitors. Renowned park operators such as Disneyland have instituted control measures as a pro-COVID reopening strategy. There are now compulsory body temperature checks, park staff, and visitors mandated to wear masks, enforced hand sanitizations, spaced out queues, and seating on all facilities in several nations. Social distancing is also a serious element to comply with under WHO safety protocols. In Florida, Walt Disney Stormtroopers observe visitors from a balcony and give reminders to wear masks and stay distanced.
4. A balance in airline safety and profits
Even though some major airline companies laid-off workers due to the pandemic’s economic impact, the truth is they all will have to strike a balance between profits and safety. For example, all airlines have had to remove or block some seats on their airplanes due to social distancing protocols. It has resulted in limited passengers, tickets, and reduced revenue streams. As we advance, Airlines will refuse boarding to a passenger who fails to wear a mask or does not meet the average body temperature. However, operating at a reduced capacity does not help any business. That notwithstanding, business logic demands that remaining operational is better than a total collapse. Currently, these are short-term fixes until a vaccine reaches the world’s populace. Also, because most airlines operate with a break-even system, running at an altered capacity may not be sustainable.
5 Government-run checks for all travelers
Airlines, bus terminals, and subway travels have all inculcated drastic measures in the fight against the COVID-19. Some require filling out health questionnaire forms, checking body temperature, and washing of hands. These are considerable costs to be taken alone by the sectors and are therefore appealing to the federal government to run these checks as a new national policy. Airlines have been pressured to limit the passenger’s access to the washrooms on the planes! In addition to that, they are also under a lot of pressure to make passengers carry sizable luggage capable of fitting under seats. By doing this, every passenger is responsible for their baggage, and that limits exposure of airline staff to a possible COVID-19 infection.
6. Biometric payments
The pandemic has introduced a more advanced technological payment plan. With the world making a move towards more sterile payment options, one of the newly introduced methods is biometric screening payments. Although America is more than 60% a cashless society, it was seen that more needed to be done in this regard. The biometric payment cuts out the method of using real money payments. This futuristic mode of payment is something out of a movie, where payments would be made through biometric elements.
7. More cautious travelers will stay home
Behavioral scientists believe that wearier travelers will want to stay home and, instead, cancel all their travel plans or wait for a safer time to travel. Those who used to take advantage of exotic destination vacations will begin to find places closer to home to enjoy their time off. In America, domestic travel accounted for forty-eight percent of all summer trips in 2019. The figure further reduced to fifteen percent in August 2020. This year alone, most hotel bookings have been recorded within a hundred miles of the traveler’s original residence. Your time at home could be used to do other activities you enjoy, such as reading, binge-watching your favorite show, or catching up on some sleep. You could also take advantage of the discount sales in online stores, or perhaps browse through Eyeglasses.com for those new shades.
8. More expensive trips abroad
In simpler terms, point eight throws more light on the concept of fewer travelers translating into more expensive trips abroad. As airlines operate at a reduced capacity, they may inadvertently push the cost of operations to vacationers taking a trip outside their home country. Unfortunately, this measure may result in only wealthy people embarking on international trips. Perhaps, it may become a vast market for airliners to venture in the short term. But some worry that the pandemic’s impact on airlines may mean that fewer travelers would want to travel out of the country, and as a result, will make other parts of international travel more expensive.
9 An increase in private travels
There is a growing demand for private experiences devoid of crowds. Perhaps, until a vaccine is discovered, the trend will continue unabated. However, on the brighter side, it has resulted in a skyrocketing of RV sales and is fuelling this new voyage style. A recent report by the US Travel Association believes this will reignite the American’s love for the great outdoors and fun self-discovery activities. The report also stated that private travels would help families focus on themselves and re-establish the essence of spending a lot more time together.
10. A spike in travel insurance
Before COVID-19, travelers relied heavily on their premium credit cards and other trip protections. There was more than enough security to provide some defense against worst-case scenarios adequately. Unfortunately, after COVID hit, things will never be the same again. Fortunately, many people have realized that most travel insurance policies do not cover pandemics and epidemics. Those who had independent travel policies also realized their packages were not helpful in a pandemic or a foreign country with an outbreak. When the pandemic struck, hotel reservations were canceled, as well as airline bookings without further notice and refunded. However, on the brighter side of things, people who sell travel insurance will begin to notice a spike in such purchases.
As proof of this, purchased travel insurance policies hit a record high of 200% by July 2020. It is also the highest increase in twenty years, a good indication that travelers are making such investments a priority. Your safety and that of your family must be paramount.
Everybody is talking about the new normal due to the revised ways the world has to live after the pandemic. It is not all bad news anyway as sanitation and attention to personal health have increased. Typical family vacations are now given a second look before getting on that plane or buying that RV. If you are at the end of this article, you may have learned new things about post-pandemic travel and what you should expect. Perhaps, it will help you know what to pack on your next vacation.