Updated: Sep 28, 2020
Helen Keller's quote,"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all," has taken on a whole new meaning.
The best experts agree we can only theorize the effects of this Pandemic on future travel, but just like after 9/11, new regulations and safety enforcements will become commonplace and we will come to trust and expect them over the inconvenience. What won't change at all is our desire to travel and see the world once we feel safe to do so.
Travel Insurance, which felt like an expendable option, will become a requirement for most travelers. According to InsureMyTrip, travel insurance purchases have skyrocketed 200% since January, with many taking the most expensive, Cancel For Any Reason, policies. I feel that this is a necessary component for your next vacation, but be sure to check the fine print that Pandemics are not listed as an excluded reason.
If you looked askance at your seat mate as they wiped down their food tray and armrests on previous flights, we're betting you'll be one of them the next time you get on an airplane. For now, airlines are offering discounted fares to lure passengers with travel later this year and next. However, expect those fares to go up as airlines adjust to less flights and required spacing, meaning fewer passengers per plane. Airlines may require temperature checks or certificates of health prior to boarding, especially internationally. Most airlines have updated their cleaning protocols, to include a complete wipe down and sanitation of all inside surfaces between flights. Most carriers have high-efficiency particulate filters which completely change the air 15 - 30 times per hour. Each carrier is different, but all want to insure their passengers are as safe as possible while traveling. You can do your part to protect yourself just by following the CDC guidelines, not just during travel, but everyday.
The future of cruising, often a choice for families and older patrons, may look very different going forward. The lure of cruising has not abated. Reservations for 2021 are already up 40% over 2019 (source: Cruise Complete.com), but for cruise ships to sail, many safety protocols will have to change. Enhanced sanitation procedures and increased screenings at embarkation are a given. Regular temperature checks, expanded onboard medical centers, improved air filtration systems and mandatory 'fit to travel' documents may all become commonplace. Buffets, a ship board staple) may become a thing of the past. Many travelers may opt for smaller vessels, with river cruises becoming even more popular. For now, as cruise companies attempt to stay solvent during this difficult time, you may see some great deals that are not likely to return for many years. If you see something you'd like to take advantage of, let me know. Bear in mind that I will want you to heavily consider travel insurance as more of a requirement than an option.
It's hard to predict when the general population will be ready to travel once restrictions are lifted. We have rescheduled our Washington DC trip for March of 2021 and hope to return to Cabo in November. Our Croatia and Athens trip has been rescheduled for May of 2021. For now, we are doing our part by staying home, practicing our social distancing and staying hopeful.
In the meantime, continue to dream. It's a great time to dust off that vision board and think about all the places you'd love to visit. If traveling internationally seems a bit too much to comprehend, consider travel within the US. There are thousands of places to see by road and rail. The world is no less beautiful and this pandemic has taken at least a year from our ability to explore it. One of my favorite things to do is research places I've never been, so if I can help you plan a trip to some remote place for some unknown time, just let me know.
Photos from: Travel and Vacation, Washington Post, Getty Images
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