Alright, it’s time for some real talk, how are you surviving quarantine? What is it like in your part of the world? Are you ready to start traveling again or are you still fearful of its repercussions?
The COVID-19 pandemic closed borders around the world, spread panic amongst travellers trying to get home and forced millions of people into self isolation.
Most of us have been practicing social distancing since the beginning of March (making it just over 2 months now). With some countries pushing to slowly open up their economies, many of us are wondering when will it be safe to travel again. If travel opened back up tomorrow, would you feel comfortable traveling?
This blog post will dive into some of your most asked questions since isolation and what life will look like after quarantine for the travel industry.
Table of Contents
When Will We Travel Again?
It comes down to what country you live in, so keep in mind that I am based in Canada and most of this will be based on what North American experts are saying.
But what happens if countries loosen confinement restrictions too quickly? Already experts are predicting a second surge of cases to happen in the next month or two. I’m in Canada and experts say it could be 18-24 months before travel picks back up.
Trust me, I’m as antsy as anyone to start exploring again. However, when that time comes, there are some destinations I had planned for this year that I will probably save for 2021.
I was particularly excited about a European summer. It’s been years since I’ve revisited Italy, and I had planned to spend a few weeks revisiting the Almafi Coast and Cinque Terre.
As someone who is an extrovert and who’s love language is physical touch, social distancing has been a challenge. There is a long list of things I miss: brunch dates, girls nights, feeling creative both behind and in front of the camera, family pool parties. I long for the day when we can hug and it won’t feel like we are breaking the law for showing a sign of affection.
How will the air travel experience change?
In the meantime, the travel industry will undergo some very big changes. Airports will likely enforce new kinds of security measures to screen travelers. Temperature checks at airports could also become part of our new norm.
People who choose to travel, get ready for a very different experience. Potential changes could include:
Onboard protective gear – Airlines may now require passengers and crew to wear masks for the duration of the flight.
No longer being able to assign your own seat – Many airlines are now discussing leaving middle seats open or adding plexiglass. Assigned seating may no longer be an option. This would leave it in the hands of the check-in agents to respect social distancing.
“Immunity passport” – This would be a document issued to anyone who has recovered from COVID-19, as their immune systems would theoretically have developed the antibodies. However, I just read this is speculation and that it’s still too early to speculate about the possibility of such “immunity cards” here in Canada. The other thing to consider would be that the implementation of such a card could create a huge divide between the haves and have-nots.
Additional screenings – When entering the airport, it’s likely we will start to see more thermal scanners and disinfectant tunnels. Non-flyers will likely no longer be able to enter the airport. Due to all these extra security measures that could be implemented earlier arrival times to airports are likely.
Touchless cabins – meaning no more inflight magazines which I’m fine with personally. I’ve seen this with a few airlines already, but I’d like to see all airlines make the shift to being paperless. The TVs can essentially act as a Kindle for in-flight magazines and menus.
Touchless check-in – this also means touchless boarding passes. Most airline already offer the option of your boarding pass being on your mobile, but could you imagine if they now required facial recognition?
Hopefully, with all these extra steps in place, the airlines will also enforce a deep cleaning of every cabin before planes can take off again. I know this might be an unpopular opinion as it will significantly slow down the turnaround time.
However have you ever learnt about how little they clean planes? Trust me, I’d rather wait and have the aircraft properly cleaned, especially if you’re in it for a long haul flight. I’ve even seen sanitizing robots in some airports!
Many airlines are still canceling international flights through the summer and into fall. With fewer flight paths, it’s possible that many of the less popular routes will get canceled entirely. This means more connections and longer travel to get to some destinations.
Summer 2020: The Summer of Road Trips
That’s why I predict staycations are the next vacations and road trips will become the preferred method of travel. With all of us stuck indoors, people are dying to get moving and reconnect to the outdoors.
But with so many of us struggling with reduced income, affording lavish trips seems unrealistic. That’s why there is no better time to plan the ultimate road trip and experience your own country if you haven’t yet discovered it!
Personally I know that I have seen more of the world than I have of my own country. I’ve lived in both Vancouver and Halifax and visited many of the top cities, but I haven’t really discovered each Canadian province.
I’ve always wanted to do a cross-Canada road trip to spend time camping and enjoying nature. And it seems like there is no better time than now. International travel will likely be on hold until the end of summer/early fall, so if you’re looking for adventure, consider your own backyard!
I’m working on a blog post featuring some of the world’s best road trips, so if you’re looking for inspiration stay tuned! In the meantime, you can find tips for road trips in Utah, Iceland, and Oman already on the blog.
Which Countries Are Open & Safe to Travel to?
Despite the spread of the Coronavirus, Sweden is one of the only countries in the world to not have imposed any mandatory stay-at-home orders.
As of today, May 14th, there are only about a dozen countries that are open for travel. I’ve found this site extremely useful as it updates its information daily. It has been a great resource when researching this section.
Here is a list of the countries you can still travel to/borders are still open as of the date of publication: Austria, Belarus, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Mexico, Iran, South Korea, Ethiopia, Zambia, and Barbados.
Is It Worth It to Take Advantage of Coronavirus Travel Deals?
Many airlines and hotels now offering major discounts to try and convince travelers to book a future trip. But before booking any good deal, there are a few things to consider.
Look at the cancellation policy. Does the hotel or airline give refunds? Are there any penalties for canceling? Do you lose your deposit? Is there travel insurance available that allows cancellation for any reason? Does your personal travel insurance cover you?
Another factor to consider is who to book with. Booking directly with hotels and airlines will make it easier to get refunds right now than booking through a third-party site.
Many of the US carriers seem to have insane flight deals going on right now with great cancellation policies, but keep in mind it isn’t the same for every airline. If you decide to book something, make sure to select the flex fare.
As for booking goes, I wouldn’t be booking any international flights before September. I don’t foresee any of us traveling internationally in the near future.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and predictions on what to expect for travel within the next year.
Stay safe, stay sane!
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