Oh, how we can’t wait to start exploring the world again! We know we’re not the only ones thinking and saying this because (whisper) you are too.
Reality Check: The Coronavirus pandemic has changed all of our worlds, short and long term. Some countries have gone as far as to place non-essential International travel on hold ‘indefinitely’. We simply don’t know when this pandemic will let up.
Other than frontliners, the travel industry has been severely affected; governments from most countries have ordered us to stay home, airlines have gone bankrupt and some patients are hunkered down in hotels.
Will travel ever look the same after this pandemic?
For the industry to recover, travellers will need to feel safe and confident going out without risking their health. Here are some temporary or permanent changes the world is predicting.
Even a psychic, unfortunately, cannot tell you what you will encounter when you choose to venture out of your home ground.
1. Longer Queues...Everywhere
As we have already seen at the beginning of the outbreak, new infections coming from outside/other countries are one of the biggest concerns and factors for the spread of the virus. Whether it is at immigration or check-in, with precautions like social distancing and procedures like temperature check and swab tests, the process will be long and tedious.
So, bring a book along, download an ebook, load on some audiobooks, or bring along a thumb drive of favorite songs. It’s going to be a bit of a wait.
2. Health First Protocols
Future travel might require us to jump through more hoops and hurdles before we’re given the green light to go anywhere.
After this global pandemic, everyone will be packing disinfecting wipes, masks and some sort of alcohol sanitizers to thoroughly wipe down surfaces and to ensure everything is free from bacteria, germs, and viruses.
Other than personal cleanliness, additional precautionary measures are now new airport norms. Regular sanitization in common areas where there are usually crowds of passengers and visitors will be the focus of the show.
These extra measures might extend or delay schedules but it is worth it.
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
3. Contactless Approach
Already practiced and enforced in most countries, the most obvious and visible changes will be contactless travel from the airport to hotel.
Everything’s pretty much gone high-tech and will be so for some time to come. Everyone from personnel to travelers is discouraged from being too close to each other and touching too many unnecessary surfaces. If possible, go contactless.
With advanced technology such as biometrics, document scanning and face recognition, the risk of infection, and transmitting viruses for both travelers and staff will be reduced significantly.
4. New Health Safety Protocols
A drastic change that might affect travelers is when you need more than just a passport and visa to travel.
It is now mandatory to have documentation like certificates of immunity or official letters to cross certain borders, especially when traveling from an outbreak hotspot. Furthermore, thermal cameras and extra health screenings are also necessary to ensure passengers’ health and safety.
The people you should check with if you’re coming in from a country with a high rate of Covid-19 outbreak are:
- The health department of your country
- Your embassy
- A written Permission for entry issued by the destination country
- Your doctor
- Your employer
- You might be required to undergo an immediate mandatory 14-day self-quarantine upon arrival
Photo by Camila Perez on Unsplash
5. Travel is Now More Expensive
People might expect lower prices because airlines have been in the red since the pandemic broke out. However, that is not the case. There are several factors that cause a price spike in flight tickets.
People might expect lower prices because airlines have been in the red since the pandemic broke out. However, that is not the case. Several factors caused the price spike in flight tickets.
Firstly, with less demand for flying, fewer planes and routes are scheduled. Practices like social distancing in airplanes also resulted in a limited number of seats. Everyone’s in business class, it feels like.
Flexibility is also a big factor when it comes to traveling post-pandemic. The considerations of extra charges for changes, carry-on baggage, etc come to mind.
When COVID-19 hit and caught us completely off-guard, we were taught the importance of travel insurance. Think about all the flights, accommodations, tickets, and other pre-booked commitments that people were forced to cancel with no refunds.
So, if international travel is going to hurt your wallet unnecessarily, you might not want to stray too far away from home for now.
7. Staycations, Domestic Travels, and Virtual Worlds
With new restrictions and requirements (digital health passports and mandatory testings) that might be imposed for international travel, many will turn to staycations or domestic traveling when they need a holiday or a breather.
Not only are they less costly and less hassle, but vacationers are also bound to feel more secure traveling in their own country post-pandemic. Maybe it’s a good thing. Let’s focus on low-number, high-quality travel instead.
Also, many business trips have turned online with meetings over Skype and video conferences over Zoom. The current technology has become so advanced that virtual travels are now the norm, check out our article on taking a tour around Singapore’s Botanic Gardens to get a feel!
8. Cough Cough
After this pandemic, it is a definite no-no to travel when you are sick.
Even if it is a light cold, one sneeze or cough on the plane and in the airport is sure to raise a few eyebrows. For safety’s sake, stay home if you experience any symptoms of illnesses.
As travelers, we need to learn to be more patient and considerate. Doing our part by wearing face masks to prevent the risk of spreading the virus is essential. The sanitization process takes extra time, but that is also done to make sure we are extra safe when traveling.
9. Traveling with a Purpose
Let’s admit it, we used to hop onto the next cheap flight we can find at a travel fair just because. With a wildfire pandemic facing us, we will become more judicious and purposeful when it comes to deciding on where, when, and how we take a vacation or break.
We will also care more about WHO we give our money to. The way the world is going, many communities and organizations have been hit hard by the pandemic. Surveys reveal that people prefer to center their travels around cultural, environmental, or business needs.
You might end up supporting local businesses and communities, paying a visit to places like Safaris with a Purpose or Singita Switonda Lodge in Rwanda, or plan a group trip to outskirt towns to visit deeply-affected communities.
The theory behind this is that if you’re going to spend all that money on travel, you might as well make it count BIG TIME!
Future Travel May Equal Better Travel
Just like how we’re going to make every cent count when we travel outside of the country, we’ll also find ourselves cherishing every single moment of it. At the end of it all, we’ll emerge from this pandemic more sensitive, conscientious travelers.
We’re ready to do what we can to help heal the world if we can’t do anything about the pandemic.
The travel industry might have taken a black eye after 9/11, this pandemic is at a whole new level. There’s nothing on record to compare this to. On the upside, overtourism has been a problem for the world and environment for some time now. With everyone staying indoors and being socially distant from each other, wildlife and marine life are having field days!
Venice has never seen clearer waters and emptied-out world heritage sites are witnessing beautiful sprouting of flowers, shrubs, and plants.
The good news is that we will find more joy in better traveling post-lockdown. All that planning and prepping before traveling overseas might turn each travel into once-in-a-lifetime holidays with your family and friends.
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