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In the thick of the Coronavirus travel restrictions many people did not consider travel as a realistic option. It was too risky and nearly everything was quarantined. But now that the pandemic has passed its peaked many people are starting to wonder what travel will be like in a post pandemic world.
Travel has certainly changed. And travel in the post pandemic world is shaping up to be significantly different than what it was before the virus. While we certainly expect travel to recover to how it was before the virus that outlook is for a couple years into the future. Right now, and in the immediate future, if you want to take a trip how would you prepare for such a trip and execute it safely?
Let’s jump in and take a look at how you can plan a trip in the post pandemic world.
The first consideration in planning travel is personal safety. The virus will likely stick around in small clusters for some time so being aware of this risk and avoiding unnecessary potential exposure to the virus will help you avoid getting sick (and spreading it to others).
Basic precautions to take:
- Washing hands frequently
- Avoiding crowded areas
- Wearing a face mask in high risk areas such as airports
For travel to fully rebound travelers will need to have confidence in the safety of travel. Until that confidence returns travelers will have to find a way to engineer an extra level of safety into their plans. While it may seem like extra work or being overly cautious to begin with, a little planning to your new travel routine can be just as convenient, or in some ways even more convenient, than it was before.
A Re-opening of Destinations
Different places are re-opening at different times and depending on which phase of re-opening they are in will dictate how to plan your trip. In the near term it is advisable to plan your travels to the states and countries that pose the lowest risk being present. This is the safer move for both your personal health and travel plans.
Locations that had strict Coronavirus travel restrictions pose the highest risk of locking back down or having travel restrictions being put back in place. Until these hotspots stabilize and concrete plans for re-opening emerge, it is best to avoid these places, or have a plan in place to evacuate quickly or shelter in place for a while if the situation deteriorates. Even if you do find yourself in a high risk location day to day developments tend to be slow so there will be time to react as long as you pay attention to what is going on around you.
Look for “drivable” experiences
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has advised travel companies to adapt their travel businesses to accommodate more drivable customers and not rely on those flying in. So, if you’re not at the point yet where you are comfortable flying then there may be some new local or drivable options you may have overlooked in the past.
What about Europe?
The virus load is still the greatest in the US now with another spike of activity currently on the rise. In Europe, the total cases have fallen steadily since early spring with most countries back in the re-opening phase and services on their way to returning to normal. Mobility within the EU is good with airlines flying across borders. Passenger fear of the virus is the main reason for a lack of flight bookings to Europe.
Europe’s Coronavirus cases peaked well before the worst of it came to the US. While Europe is still dealing with Coronavirus travel restrictions, many countries are in a more open state than in the US, which is just starting to return to normal. Flights to Europe are still active, and significantly discounted compared to when travel was at its peak. While there is still some risk of European countries restricting borders to travelers it is much more straightforward to travel to Europe now than it is to other countries who have not been so forthcoming about their travel restrictions
Can you use the same booking tools as before?
The tools you use to plan your trip might still be the same but the way you use them might change.
For instance, before the pandemic booking tools were used on average 6 months in advance for travelers to get the best price on travel and to ensure availability of their bookings. Now, with the added uncertainty the time frames of bookings to actual travel have shrunk. A lot more bookings are being placed last minute. This provides the most certainty to the traveler their plans will not be disrupted. With the shift to last minute bookings we are also seeing more deals aimed at last minute travel. So the shorter-term approach to travel is also looking like the most economical approach right now.
Incentives to Travel
With Coronavirus travel restrictions bringing travel to a halt, this lack of movement has devastated places that rely on tourism. So much so that many places are offering incentives to travelers to encourage them to visit and stimulate the economies of tourist reliant locations. Some of the places offering incentives to travelers:
Italy was hit hard by the pandemic. Much of its northern region being the epicenter of the pandemic for a time being. While Italy has mostly recovered there remains a stigma to travel to that region.
In response to that stigma Sicily has an interesting offer. Sicily is offering to pay for half of a traveler’s plane ticket and a free night stay every third night. While in Sicily, tourism activities that are now free include museums and historical archaeological sites.
with the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics and Coronavirus travel restrictions, Japan’s government has announced the Go To Travel initiative. This is a government subsidy of up to $185 per day for travelers who visit the country. The subsidies can cover half the cost of a trip and will be distributed via discounts and vouchers. This should make it easier for travelers to spend money in the country and help the economy. This initiative is expected to be valid starting from July and will receive 1.35 trillion yen in funding.
While not as impressive as some of the other travel incentives on this list, Bulgaria is offering tourists some amenities for leisure at the beach. Travelers who go to the beach will be given free beach loungers, Sun umbrellas, and free access to beaches. It’s at least something, right? Not the most mind blowing offer but it could at least save you a few bucks. Compared to other European countries Bulgaria had a low number of coronavirus infections. So this country represents a low risk to travel to as an additional benefit.
Mexico is working on their “Come to Cancun 2×1” initiative. Like the offer in Sicily, Cancun will give you two nights free for every two paid nights you stay there. In the works is subsidies on plane tickets to get tourists there. Additional efforts such as social media challenges for travelers to win free travel is also being discussed.
Cyprus has taken a different approach to attract tourists to its shores. While not offering discounts to get there it wants to give all travelers assurances of safety if they do come. Instead of offering free flight tickets or free nights at hotels Cyprus is going a different route. They will pay for the entire trip of any traveler who becomes infected with Coronavirus while inside the country. They will also cover the cost of their treatment and hospital stay.
Cyprus has established an exclusive coronavirus hospital. This hospital is to specifically to take care of foreigners. Cyprus also has the logistics in place to treat severely ill travelers in intensive care units. To prevent the spread of the virus to other travelers, Cyprus has Coronavirus hotels to quarantine travelers if they have come in contact with an infected person. These extensive efforts from Cyprus are aimed to calm travelers’ fears and provide peace of mind.
Go out and travel
Taking time to properly prepare for your trip is more important than ever. With proper planning and some extra safety precautions in place, traveling in a post pandemic environment can be safe. Some destinations may not be immediately available but with a little patience the situation should start calming down soon. Just like travelers have had to adapt to the pandemic, the travel industry is adapting as well. It will not be down forever though, as travel is just too important to the world’s economy. The tourism industry will recover eventually – even if it will look a little different than it did before the pandemic