One aspect of our lives that is affected by the spread of COVID-19 is traveling. With the lock-down still in place and more restrictions being added every day, it’s clear that we need to put our travel plans on hold and stay home.
Yet, there’s no denying that traveling will be different from now on, and we’ll all have to adapt to a new way of seeing the world. We’ve tried to look ahead and imagine how traveling will look like after the pandemic is over, so we’ve asked travel bloggers and experts to share with us their thoughts on how traveling will change due to Coronavirus and what advice they would give to future travelers. Here’s what they told us:
Caroline and Craig Makepeace, founders of yTravelBlog.com
“People will be more focused on local and green travel, and likely turn to exploring their own countries. They’ll be avoiding plane travel for some time and so road trips will be popular. I think people will head to smaller towns, and seek quieter and more isolated experiences in state and national parks. While people will still seek out international travel, I don’t see this being hugely popular again for at least 12 – 18 months. Festivals and large events won’t be a huge travel draw-card for that period of time either, and the cruising industry could be in for some troubling times. However, this is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to fall in love with their own countries and support local businesses.
Do a little thought experiment and think of what in your own country would you most want to visit. Start planning for it. Be ready to grab those deals when it all turns around. Start planning for your dream international trips as well, but perhaps hold them in the plans for next year. Then you’ll be ready to jump on those deals too. Everything starts with a dream and nothing will happen unless you commit to it and make a plan. So, do that during this time.”
Cory and G, founders of You Could Travel
“Most people probably wish that traveling will simply go back to “normal” after the pandemic. However, we should understand that normality is not in the books anymore. Of course, we cannot predict what will really happen but we believe there will be a lot more checks enforced at borders, including temperature and health checks.
We believe that some travelers will definitely be a lot more aware of their surroundings and try to keep away from people. Train and car travel might become more popular than planes. We also expect and hope that travelers will put a lot of pressure on governments and travel operators to clean and disinfect more often. We are talking about everything from bus handles, to airplanes and airport toilets.
As for what future travelers should do, the same advice we’ve been giving for the last 6.5 years: prior to any travel, take a tablet of strong vitamin C. Then make it into a habit to take this supplement on a daily basis. Be aware of your surroundings. Clean your tray table in a plane, don’t touch your face if you’ve touched bars and handles. Wash your hands on a regular basis, before each and every single meal. Be vocal about people around you not respecting your space or doing unhygienic things.
Finally, ease into your travels. It might be strange at first to physically touch a stranger, or to bump into another local while enjoying a promenade. We don’t expect that everyone will be able to cope with the stress immediately, so it’s best to take small steps until you can actually enjoy the new place you are in.”
Jen Morilla, founder of The Social Girl Traveler
“I think people will still travel, we will just need more precautions. Using masks and gloves will be the norm. Most likely, the governments won’t open all the borders at the same time; states and countries will open little by little.
However, the old ways of traveling won’t exist anymore. I think we have to keep an open mind and understand that this will be the new normal for a while and it’s all for our own safety and the safety of others. I still would encourage people to travel in the future; it’s what helps build and grow economies, and now more than ever we need to support that.”
Kristin Addis, founder of Be My Travel Muse
“I believe that road trips, multi-day hikes and camping domestically will be favored over flying overseas and taking cruises. Driving in our own cars and being in nature with little to no crowds may feel a lot safer and more comfortable. With most people currently being confined at home, I feel there will be a nearly universal yearning for the outdoors, for breathing fresh air, and for the freedom to roam around.
I know that a lot of people are wondering when it will be OK to plan trips and the truth is that nobody can know for sure. When it does happen, make traveling about the adventure again; forget the insta-perfect photo shoots, and never take the freedom to travel for granted. I hope you realize that life truly is short and unpredictable, and the best way to live it is to make the most out of it! I hope you will continue to love traveling and to have the desire to explore this beautiful world and its endless wonders.”
Melissa Giroux, founder of A Broken Backpack
“Traveling will change after the pandemic, and people are already canceling their plans for most of this year. I think most people will be scared to travel and they may travel in their own country instead of traveling overseas. It is very hard to predict at this point whether traveling will be cheaper for a while or become even more expensive.
Being fully aware of the situation helps when it comes to making travel decisions. As such, check the news and the development of the situation in the place where you are right now, as well as the places you plan on going to. Also, every traveler stuck away from home should make sure their travel insurance still covers them and they may want to find an option that can cover COVID-19, as well.”
Paulina, founder of Paulina on the Road
“I think that people will visit their home country first and stay-cations will be en vogue. That means that people will want to support their local businesses and not opt for long-distance travel. People might feel safer when they know that they are only a short drive away from home. In the long term, I think that travelers will seek more meaningful experiences and avoid large crowds such as in festivals or all-inclusive resorts.
I would recommend that you actively investigate where you spend your money. Thousands of small businesses have been hit by this crisis. They will take much longer to recover than large companies. Thus, when you book a hotel, when you go out for dinner or simply purchase a souvenir, think about whether you are supporting somebody with this money. That’s how we can all help each other to recover as soon as possible from this crisis: go local, support small businesses and take time to interact with the local community. All this will make you a mindful traveler.”
Rasmus Juul-Olsen, Founder and CEO of Bookmundi
“Many people talk about how the COVID-19 pandemic might introduce a new era of traveling after the virus has either retreated or a proper vaccine has been developed. The ultimate hope is that the new travel era will be more sustainable and green, not only because travelers select domestic and local travel over international travel, but also because many deem COVID-19 to be an opportunity to finally transition to a greener experience economy.
For as long as the pandemic is still ravaging parts of the world, and as long as a proper vaccine has not been developed, travelers will shy away from international travel both because their governments might restrict them, and because it might be a safer option. However, truth be told, as soon as COVID-19 does not entail a risk to travelers anymore, they will probably adopt their old travel patterns again.
Three factors might, however, make the post-pandemic travel era greener. Firstly, the economic turmoil caused by COVID-19 means that people have less money available for travel. This will inevitably favor local/domestic escapes in the near future. Secondly, the havoc caused by COVID-19 has forced many companies and start-ups to think out of the box and fast track new ways of doing business. Some of these inventions might give us tomorrow’s travel startups which are hopefully greener than ever. Thirdly, COVID-19 stressed the need for going green and living healthy, something that companies are surely adapting to.”