By Linda Williams
The impacts of COVID-19 have hit the travel industry hard. While the country slowly starts to open up, the future of travel is still unclear. And while leisure travelers may be able to avoid flights for the time being, those who travel for work cannot. Airline workers, frontline workers, and those partnered with medical staffing agencies do not have the option to work from home. If you travel for work, it is necessary to clear these travel-related hurdles in the post-COVID world. These predictions below about the future of travel will help you brace for new TSA guidelines and hand-sanitizing protocols.
Expect smaller crowds
As the world of tourism reopens, sites that were once deemed “tourist-traps” will attract smaller crowds. While social-distancing guidelines and capacity limits will most likely still be in place, travelers will also avoid areas where they predict there will be a big crowd. The tourism industry can expect a decrease in travelers’ sheer volume but can expect an increase in the revenue-per-traveler. A “quality over quantity” mindset will take over the post-quarantine world, as travelers will want to make the most out of their trips rather than making the most trips.
Airlines have new responsibilities
COVID-19 brought new safety guidelines to airlines. Maximum cabin capacity is lower, sanitization of planes between flights is required, and in-flight meals have been suspended. While mask-mandates are loosening state-by-state, don’t expect to fly bare-faced any time soon. Air travel is one of the most effective ways of carrying a virus across the country. Even though COVID restrictions are becoming more lenient, there is still a significant risk of transmission through flight. Make sure you are familiar with the COVID-19 guidelines of your destination, as regulations can vary state by state.
Domestic travel booms
The whole world is not on the same COVID-19 recovery timeline. Australia and New Zealand are back to normal while the UK heads into another lockdown. It is safer to travel state-to-state and then branch out to international travel when things become safer. While domestic flights will boom, it is also an excellent time to take advantage of that car that’s been stuck in your garage for a year. Road trips might be the toe-in-the-water trip to kick off a new era of travel. And as for domestic airports? Lowered patronage will lead to more government relief, like this relief package for Florida airports.
International travel becomes more expensive
Coronavirus has impacted the entire world but in unique ways. While all countries are on the path to recovery, not all guidelines are universal. International travel took an even harder hit than domestic travel, and the lower demand will drive up the price moving forward. If an airline needs to fill seats to pay for the flight, but the flight caps at 60% capacity for the foreseeable future, the price will increase to offset the lost profits. Not only will airline travel be hurt by post-COVID restrictions, but live performances and international festivals that rely on a large number of guests will also be thrown to the wayside. Until we have a clear, global path forward, don’t expect international travel to become more accessible or less expensive. Currently, the CDC requires a negative COVID test taken within three days of takeoff for any US Citizen traveling to a foreign country.
Sea-travel will return with new guidelines
The pandemic hit the cruise ship industry hard, famously unable to dock during the early months, leaving passengers stranded out at sea. The CDC is currently restricting sea travel, but cruise companies hope to set sail in early July. While there are many unknowns about when cruises will resume, there are things we can infer about how they will continue. Shorter cruises will become more popular, so passengers aren’t out at sea for an extended time. Lower-capacity cruises will also become a precedent, along with stricter sanitization. You can also expect temperature checks, suspended buffet service, and potentially a proof-of-vaccination guideline.
Extended-stay trips will increase
Sitting at home gave us all wanderlust and a new way to work. Now that working remotely has become the norm for many businesses, that opens up an opportunity for a work-from-anywhere kind of mindset. Expect services like Airbnb and VRBO to boom as people try to combine work with pleasure for an extended stay. The ease of working from a computer will make travel-hungry employees get creative with their workspace. Set up a home office, and then find a way to pack it in your suitcase.
Alternative travel methods
Quarantine brought us Tik Tok makeover trends for camper vans. #VanLife made its debut with mesmerizing transformations from dingy campers to trendy tiny homes-on-wheels. Alternative travel methods like RVs, trailers, and retrofitted vans have taken over idle quarantine hands, and now that things are becoming safer for travel, it’s time to put that travel dream machine to work. Check out these camper transformations and get inspired to make your own tiny traveling home.
“Travel is essential,” declares National Geographic. Not only is traveling essential for workers, but it is vital to getting us back to normal– or a new normal. The new normal for travel post-COVID is increased safety regulations. Less traveling gives you the opportunity for better traveling. If this is your one trip, make it the trip. While international and cruise travel both have foggy futures, domestic trips by wings or road are always a safe option. Take your work with you, and work from anywhere.