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4 Ways COVID-19 Will Change How We Will Travel Around The World in 2021 And Beyond.

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

The travel experience before the COVID-19 pandemic impact remains uncertain. Clues on what the new travel protocol will look like are emerging every day. Some changes will have an impact beyond this pandemic.

  • Sanitizing stations,

  • social distancing, and

  • nasal swabs

In the past, these three items may have been listed in describing the scene of a hospital. Now, these items are heading toward being part of our daily lives and even our travel lives. These adjustments and protocols are designed to ensure greater safety during the current crisis of the pandemic. However, it is quite likely, their effects will reach well beyond. Every industry is affected in some way by recent health and safety measures. So it's not surprising that some of the features of travel are sure to be adjusted as well. For instance, gone may be the days when housekeeping staff visited our hotel room daily. This means limiting our "home away from home" exposure to so many people. Perhaps you could ask for all the towels you need for your stay at check-in. If you think about it, most of us do not change our sheets daily. So would it be worth it mentally and possibly physically, not to have anyone else in our room who could drag germs from room to room? Not that they would do so maliciously, but accidents do happen.

A report by the Pacific Asia Travel Association shows that health and safety precautions play a more significant role in where travelers choose to stay over the cost of a trip. This will also impact the type of destinations we are willing to travel to. Travelers are looking at national parks, beaches, campgrounds, farmhouses to avoid crowds. However, the protocol to reach these and many other destinations look different in the new normal.

Four Travel changes:

  1. Cruise ships buffet bars, which are often so fondly spoken about, may too be a thing of the past. You'll still get to enjoy great food. You just will not be able to serve yourself. Look at this in a positive way- service with a smile. No need to get up on your second serving of the shrimp tray!

  2. Here is another plus.... sanitizing robots. They will never get "tired" of cleaning. You know how humans are... it is likely to take a few shortcuts in that area.

  3. At the airport, contactless check-in and bag check at the airports will become the norm. In 2023, Pittsburgh International Airport will be the first airport in the country that will make cleanliness protocol permanent through the use of new photocatalytic devices (water gas/steamer devices) based on antibacterial, antiviral, and ‘autocleaning’ material in high-use areas.

Airlines will continue making rebooking and cancellation policies normal beyond the pandemic but airlines like Alaska Airlines will likely stop blocking the middle seat. Imagine not having to worry about losing your money because child care or work plans are disrupted. At least in the foreseeable future, you can reschedule or cancel your reservations with many airlines.

4. Health Passport app aka COVIDPass - it will be the cousin to your passport to travel. This app will encrypt our personal data from individual blood tests to prove a negative test for COVID-19. Health Passport is also our pass to access hotels, cinemas, theatres, sporting and concert venues. According to NBC’s “TODAY” show, the Health Passport will become apart of the new norm. So plan early.

At the beginning of the pandemic if you had a travel advisor you were really happy because the pandemic stopped travel dead in its steps. You had contact with a human who was able to navigate the maze of canceling trip plans and getting you home safely or providing you with advice like being patient rather than taking a partial refund or voucher. If you had a travel advisor you avoided the shenanigans experienced by some travelers. Because you had an advisor to make the many phone calls and emails that were seamless to you as the traveler but it was what was required to get a refund or to get you home safely.

Looking forward, travel advisors are being valued again for processing refunds, help to reschedule, or guidance on travel restrictions, and keeping you aware of the ever-changing regulations due to COVID-19. Travel advisors are your one-stop-shop for all things travel i.e., access to information about rates and routes, car rentals, travel packages, and promotions. An advisor is also perfect to handle a big and complicated trip, resolve discrepancies, and is readily available.

Another change is that travel advisors that have not charged a consulting/booking fee will now charge a fee ranging from $25 - $250 per hour or trip. For those that have charged a fee in the past, their fee will increase. Just like others in the industry travel agents are re-evaluating business structures by adjusting to the change of time.

Nevertheless having an experienced travel advisor provides peace of mind knowing that someone is advocating on your behalf when things go wrong. All you’ll have to worry about is maximizing your fun and the value of a travel advisor’s work is displayed. Ultimately, travelers and the traveling industry will feel most confident about circumstances that will minimize or control the risk of infection and securing their safety. As the world moves toward putting more needles in the arms of the public with the vaccine we will be met with changes much as we did after 9/11.

Prioritizing health and safety practices isn’t just the right thing to do, it is the key to traveling in 2021 and beyond. That’s it for now but don’t forget to visit frequently and subscribe. You’ll be one of the first to know about discounts, tips & hacks for travel. This week if you subscribe you’ll get a free PDF of “The 21 Things To Consider Before Traveling in 2021.”

“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams. – Oprah Winfrey.”

Happy Travels,

Toni Reid


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