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10 Major Ways Travel Will Not Be The Same As It Was Before The Pandemic

10 Significant Ways Travelling Will Be Different In 2021

“I want to travel as much as I can. I will be spending more time in Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand to make up for the lost time," says Gregg Jaden, a renowned photographer based in Manhattan Beach, Calif. 

Travel and tourism are one of the most affected industries in this pandemic situation. There has been a massive, sudden fall in international travel demand. Many borders were fully closed. The Pacific and Asia saw a stark decrease in the arrivals of travellers by nearly 82% in January-October 2020. 

But, the pandemic isn’t over yet. Thus, though allowed, travelling will not be the same as it was before 2020. You have to be extra careful, extra cautious, and extra updated about travelling norms and restrictions. Here are the ten major ways travelling will be unbelievably different in 2021. 

Travel in 2021

But, the pandemic isn’t over yet. Thus, though allowed, travelling will not be the same as it was before 2020. You have to be extra careful, extra cautious and extra updated about the norms and restrictions related to travelling. Here are the ten major ways travelling will be unbelievably different in 2021. 

1. Small, local communities will play a bigger role 

The harsh economic impact of pandemic is not unknown to us. Most of these areas have already been struggling economically even before the pandemic. So, it’s time for the travellers and travel agencies to focus on improving the economic condition of these smaller and not-so-popular areas. For example, Caz Makepeace of Y Travel Blog used to travel to lesser-known areas with her family before the pandemic. Now, she patronises local businesses and donates to non-profits to support these local places. 

What can you do?

You can focus on “global south” or rather the developing countries that primarily depend on tourism. Travel agents need to diversify their locations to avoid mass tourism. That way, they can focus on the tourist destinations that really need travellers, at least economically. 

Talk to the experts at the tourism educational and advocacy non-profit Impact Travel Alliance before settling on any specific destination. You will learn how to empower locals and protect the environment. 

Staying in an international large, all-inclusive resort is not a feasible option if you want to make things better for the local businesses. Thus, try to stay in locally-owned accommodations and buy locally made products as souvenirs before returning back home. 

Honestly, it’s the least we can do as travellers. Make sure your money goes to the local community when you are visiting a destination and are welcomed by the locals. Also, you must leave nature in good condition as it had been when you all arrived. 

2. COVID-related medical documents will be mandatory.

Who knew people or rather strangers would want to know if we are healthy enough to travel or not? From regular temperature checks to frequent COVID-tests at airports, health check-up is the new normal amid this pandemic. You have to carry proof of a negative test. If vaccinations are available to all of us, you may have to carry that proof too in your luggage. 

COVID-tests at airports

You may think about the consequences if you do not carry a negative test around. Well, in that case, you may have to follow strict quarantine guidelines even after reaching your destination. What’s the point of travelling when you have to coup up in a room all day just because you didn’t have proof of a negative COVID test? 

3. Last-minute gateways will not be a thing for now 

The COVID-19 has created a new world of unpredictability. You can’t just pack your bags and leave for a long weekend vacation without any prior planning. Sudden plans may remain a 'hashtag' thing only since the pandemic requires to plan the trip before you actually make it. Even travellers planning their big vacations months in advance have to wait until close to departure. 

As per a report by GetYourGuide, a booking platform, the average check-in time between the beginning of the pandemic and the end of September was almost 50 days. A drop of 38% was noticed from the average lead time before the pandemic. Hopefully, travellers will continue having a more spontaneous, wait-and-see approach to travel in 2021. 

4. Flexibility will be travellers’ first priority

As mentioned earlier, this is the world of uncertainty we are residing in. You never know when nations announce lockdowns or airports shut down. Right? So, most travellers demand flexibility before they commit to a trip. You may start looking for hotels or accommodations that let you cancel your hotel, cruise or tour hassle-free without penalty. For instance, Celebrity Cruise is now letting clients cancel their cruise up to 48 hours before departure. You can rebook through May 2022 through certain conditions are applied.

Here’s what you need to do:

First, lay the groundwork for your foreign trip almost 6 to 9 months in advance. Make sure you build your plans keeping flexibility in mind. 

That means you should look for hotels or resorts that offer flexible cancellation policies and confidentiality guarantees. Thus, you would know that your money isn’t at risk even if the situation turns upside down. 

The six-month recommendation lets you book airline tickets. It also makes it easier for you to book a good hotel or attraction site at a good rate. The long period lets you reassess the overall situation as you draw closer to the travel date. 

Another example is that of Intrepid Travels. It offers tours in small groups. Thus, ii lets people change their departure date or destination before a trip without any extra fees up to 21 days. 

5. Road trips will gain momentum 

Many people might not be comfortable staying at a foreign location for a long time with kids. And the fear is quite normal since vaccinations aren’t really a guaranteed thing anymore. In such a situation, road trips may be the only feasible option for you. You don’t have to stay at one specific place while worrying about the safety and health of your family. Instead, you can drive across state lines and enjoy the fresh air out there with your family. 

Road trips will gain momentum

Road trips can be as exciting as flying down to international borders. You feel closer to nature, to the real-world out there. You can fathom the core meaning of curiosity, exposure to newness and wonder through road-trips. What are you waiting for? Get assignment help for your kids and get their academic tasks done so that you can take them to an exciting road trip stress-free. 

6. Travel advisors will no longer be optional

According to Juliet Kinsman, the sustainability editor of Conde Nast Traveller, there will be a considerable shift to booking hotels and accommodations through established travel agents due to their invaluable knowledge and industry connections. 2020 has shown us the importance of booking through travel agents since they tend to guarantee the financial protection of your bookings. 

Travellers don’t want to see the sites only. They want to make the most out of their trips without having to worry about anything. So, most travellers will resort to travel advisors who are the fountains of all knowledge, such as the best deals, travel inspiration, the latest safety and health standards, etc. Yes, they would charge a commission, but the benefits will be worth the money. 

7. Digital health passports can be an option 

Travel providers such as tour companies and airlines may demand some sort of proof for COVID vaccination in 2021. It isn’t clear yet how the government is going to provide vaccination proof to all the citizens, but it might be essential. However, there’s one tool that can confirm negative COVID-19 test results and proof of COVID-19 vaccination- a digital health passport. 

The IATA or the International Air Transport Association, for example, is developing one such tool for the safety of all its travellers. The tool is known as the IATA Travel Pass. It will allow travellers to store vaccination results or verified tests on their mobile devices. JetBlue is also preparing to develop a similar app known as CommonPass and it is developed by the non-profit Commons Project and the World Economic Forum. 

8. Outdoor activities will attract more crowds

Travellers are most likely to demand outdoor activities in 2021 as governments emphasise on social distancing norms. Many Americans invested in relevant equipment such as camping gear, bikes, boats and RVs during the pandemic. In fact, national parks have also become popular destinations for travellers who were tired of staying confined to the four walls of their rooms and were looking for some adventure. 

Here are the outdoor activities you can try out:

Walk in nature- Let’s say you need a change of scenery without going for an intense workout. So, going out for a walk is the most feasible option for you. 

Camp in your backyard- Traditional camping is on hiatus as many campgrounds are closed till date due to the pandemic. So, you can set up a similar vibe right in your backyard with close friends and family.

Organise a run- Running is one of the best choices as long as you are able to maintain social distancing. Running outside in a safe place without any noise or music can do wonders to your stress levels. 

It is no new fact that more people are getting antsy while getting cooped up inside due to the pandemic almost a year now. However, you will not get a safe green light for all outdoor activities since we are all in the middle of the pandemic. So, the options explained above are the best ones for the time being in 2021.

9. Travellers will be more ‘concerned citizens’

It is predicted that travellers will take on the role of more concerned citizens due to the pandemic. People have realised the importance of keeping nature safe and the surroundings fit for everyone to enjoy. And that is one silver lining of this deadly pandemic. Thus, travel agents must take active measures to prioritise a healthy world over profits. Countries may make fly-free days to reduce your carbon footprint and control climate change in the future. 

10. “Virtual” options will increase in travel and tourism 

Somebody ate a bat in Wuhan and the whole world went berserk. Travel and tourism industry will not take any kind of risk anymore (most probably.) Thus, you can expect virtual options when it comes to booking flight or train tickets, reserving hotels or resorts, etc. This system will bring down the problems of carrying around heaps of cash while travelling. All you have to do is tap on your smartphone (that has an internet connection) and that’s it! From facial recognition to confirm your identity at airports to online payments at hotels or resorts, all the options will soon be completely touchless and virtual. 

Wrapping Up, 

Travelling might not be the same anymore. But, it is still fun and exciting to make a to-do list, pack bags and veer away via flights, cabs or trains. Like any other aspect of life, travelling too will have new norms and regulations in the post-pandemic world. You have to plan ahead and stay updated all the travel guidelines in your country and the country you are planning to visit. 

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