With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping our globe, it is hard to imagine life getting back to “normal” anytime soon. We’ve all been so deeply affected by this tragic time. And with so much uncertainty surrounding the plan for getting back on track, you can’t help but wonder… what if this is just the new normal?
Travel has certainly changed drastically since the beginning of 2020. Shelter-at-home protocols have caused many folks to cancel or postpone their travel plans. And while having to miss out on your long-awaited and much-needed vacation might not be devastating in the grand scheme of things, it is a bummer nonetheless.
However, as the rest of the country proceeds cautiously through its reopening phases, the travel industry has resumed business as...err... not so usual. In other words, you don’t have to put off your travel plans any further, but you should expect some significant changes from your typical travel experience.
The following is a list of the changes you can expect for travel during COVID-19!
1. Health and Safety protocols
We’re probably all used to it at this point, but it’s important to note that you will be required to follow strict health and safety protocols when traveling by plane. These will include wearing a face covering at all times and keeping at least 6 feet between you and the nearest stranger.
Be aware when traveling to make sure to wear a tight fitted mask that is breathable yet effective in filtering particles. It is also very handy to have sanitizer wipes to clean surfaces you may touch or surfaces that have been touched before you!
Also remember, you may be required to quarantine for 14 days once you return, depending on where you live and where you’re coming from!
2. People are choosing road trips over flying.
Another way that travel has been altered by the pandemic is in the type of vacations people are taking. Many folks are still too nervous to hop on a flight, so they’ve been getting extra creative with their domestic travel ideas. This has led to many people choosing alternative travel plans that are closer to home or a drive-able distance. Road trips within the US are on the rise.
3. Less passengers due to social distancing
Some airlines were limiting the amount of passengers on their flights by blocking off the middle seat. If you prefer a less congested flight – let’s be honest, who doesn’t? – Southwest and Delta are two of the airlines that are implementing this safety measure. That may change in early 2021.
It’s crucial to remember that even if you are choosing a flight with seat restrictions, be aware that airports may be crowded and you’ll want to be sure to take precautions when it comes to security checks and overcrowded restrooms.
4. Cheaper flights and hotel rooms
Because fewer people are traveling, some airlines and hotels have lowered their prices in an attempt to bounce back from a three month standstill. However, some are claiming that prices might start to rise again as people become less nervous to travel. We’ll see how the next couple of months pan out.
Keep in mind, although the cost of travel might be more affordable, it is still important to take the utmost precautions to protect you and others around you!
5. Extensive sanitation regulations
When booking luxury travel, you can always expect tip-top cleanliness! ;) But now even without luxury travel planning, you can rest assured that your hotel rooms, public restrooms, car rentals and airport areas will be extra squeaky clean due to the extra requirements for sanitation regulations.
6. Limited traveling abroad
While travel within the US is a go, there are still certain countries that are not allowing American tourists to visit. For the ones that are, they may require for you to be tested upon arrival. Be sure to check the requirements for the place you are visiting so that you can be prepared!
Adventure still awaits…
When I find my mind lingering a little too long on all of the “what ifs” (and the WTFs), I try to remind myself of the positives that have come out of this crazy year! Communities have come together in some amazing ways to support one another. Families have had the chance to spend more time with each other. And we have all shown just how strong we can be!
While travel isn’t entirely back to how it was pre-pandemic, it is well on its way! If you do plan to travel anytime soon, remember to stay safe, wear a mask and do what you can to help flatten the curve.