1. Travelers will increasingly opt for hotels that have implemented safety measures (such as contactless check-in) or stick with home/villa rentals
We expect the first hotels that recover their occupancy levels once places reopen to be secluded properties with fewer guests (think desert and safari retreats). A more mid-range domestic example might be Willow House at the entrance of Bend National Park in Texas. If you’re looking for luxury, consider the Amangiri in Utah with its private 600 acres for guests.
2. Smaller cities and towns throughout America will rise to the forefront
...as well as the activities (e.g., camping, hiking, wineries, etc) that can be found in the lesser-well-known areas surrounding the cities. Our team is currently spending time mapping out getaways within driving distance of major cities across the country since travel by car will likely return with a vengeance before air travel does.
READ MORE: 10 Outdoor Adventure Staycation Ideas
3. It'll be necessary, when flying, for travelers to remain up to date on inbound airport policies
Certain countries have implemented airport safety precautions for inbound travelers, which include comprehensive health screenings. It’s currently unclear to what extent these will continue once restrictions ease, but keep in mind that the added safety measures require advance consideration (currently these screenings can take upwards of nine hours or more, which can lead to a logistical inconvenience). Select countries also mandate 14-day quarantines for inbound travelers, but we expect these restrictions to ease as stay-at-home orders are relaxed over the coming weeks.
4. ... as well as country entry requirements
Thailand, for example, previously offered visas upon arrival but now requires a medical certificate to get a visa in advance, so it’s important to double-check before traveling.
5. More people will purchase travel insurance
We advise all international travelers to purchase comprehensive travel insurance—less for the cancellation/refund policy (which usually doesn’t cover pandemics) and more for international medical insurance coverage.
6. Travel will be planned farther out in advance
Now more than ever, advance planning is critical, especially if you or someone you’re traveling with is in a high-risk group.
Advance planning will allow travelers time to research hotels/accommodations to see what their cleaning procedures are and if they’ve implemented safety measures in light of the pandemic (i.e. contactless check-in, no buffets, private/in-room dining options, etc).
READ MORE: 3 Reasons Why You Actually Need To Plan In Advance For The Best Trip To Japan
When it comes to restaurants, travelers should consider if the servers will be wearing masks and if tables will be spaced at least six feet apart from each other. Here at Journy, we’re accustomed to calling restaurants on customers’ behalf to ensure they can accommodate dietary restrictions, provide high chairs for children, etc., so enquiring about what specific COVID safety measures restaurants will be taking upon reopening will be part of our new protocol.
Outside of lodging and dining, advance planning will be necessary from a transportation standpoint to not only secure private transfers (the demand for which we expect to surge), but also to confirm the health information of the driver and that he/she will be wearing a mask. We anticipate more and more travelers to opt for first-class seats out of safety concerns and a desire for more space, so booking those tickets well in advance will be key.
7. More travelers will consider working with an advisor
This way, he/she can focus on remaining up to date on the daily-changing airport and airline policies, as well as entry requirements, so you don’t have to. Here at Journy, we're updating our travel planning methods to account for current times, including:
- Comprehensive vetting of restaurant/hotel sanitary measures, including mask mandates and no-contact check-in
- Only booking select hotels and private rental properties with flexible cancellation policies and refundable rates
- Staying up to date on COVID-related travel policies, from health certificate requirements to airport testing