COVID-19 has affected every part of our lives and devastated the travel industry. We went from jet-setting around the world to lockdowns and coining new terms like ‘travel corridor’. Seems alien now that we could once jump on a flight that same afternoon and sit next to a fellow passenger with no face mask.
As we keep being told though, every vaccine jab is a step closer back to normality, and, in 2021, we should finally look forward to vacationing again. When that happens, I think we’re all prepared, going on holiday is going to look very different.
1 – Booking Your Holiday Will Change
The days of carefree travel will be on hold for a while. Travel insurance has become mandatory if you want to visit certain countries, and travelers must keep up to date on the travel restrictions and safety measures in the area they’re traveling to. Trips will have to be more carefully planned to maintain social distancing practices and measure risks. Because of these extra steps, travel consultants are becoming much more popular, as people want expert help in traveling safely and managing more complex itineraries.
Before the pandemic, it was common to find the cheapest tickets possible in an effort to get the best deal. But the pandemic has brought new and much more important considerations. Instead of the cheapest tickets, in 2021 we’ll be looking for the airlines promising strict COVID precautions and hygiene standards. As well as their physical safety, travelers will want to protect their money too. There will be an increase in airlines offering more generous cancellation policies or free transfers if affected by COVID.
Despite all of this, in recent months there have actually been more trips booked last minute than ever before. Travelers have adopted a ‘now or never’ attitude and are booking trips while they can, as we don’t know if or when we’ll go back into strict restrictions. More people than ever have been booking flights within only one week of departure to travel while they can.
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2 – Workcations Will Be a Thing
Lockdown rules have brought in widespread remote working and many employers have embraced the benefits of working from home. This huge change in how we work is now expected to completely transform the future of office workers forever. Some companies have already introduced long-term plans for their employees to perform their roles from home, rather than an expensive office desk. This will also change the way some of us take our holiday. Once travel bans begin to ease across the world, there’ll be a new global trend: Workcations.
2021 will see an increase in extended holidays or one-way trips dubbed ‘work-cations’ as employees are no longer required to be stuck to their desk five days per week and no longer expected to attend meetings physically. Remote workers could choose a three-month stay in Spain, rather than two weeks, and achieve a more fulfilled existence and correct our long overdue work life imbalance. We may even see an increase in people living a nomadic lifestyle of constant travel while they work from wherever they find themselves.
3 – Rural Stays Will Increase
Even if we overcome Covid in 2021, some social distancing measures will likely remain for the rest of the year. Travellers will also be more cautious about their holiday destinations as we try to tentatively regain our previous way of life.
Rural vacations will undoubtedly be much more popular with an expected rise in remote cottage or cabin stays which will take preference over busy hotels or hostels. But also, as we’ve been stuck indoors during lockdown, we’re expecting tourists will be more likely to want to get outside and choose more active, experienced-based vacations like biking, hiking or even extreme sports.
4 – Domestic Travel Will Increase Too
Travelling overseas is still very uncertain with travel restrictions changing overnight. Some travellers are also understandably fearful of flying during or shortly after a pandemic, though we can expect airlines to be doing everything they can to alay traveller’s safety concerns.
Still, domestic trips have become more popular in 2020 and this trend will only continue in 2021. As we have no way of knowing what countries will shut their borders at any time, domestic travel provides us with some certainty and no quarantine restrictions. More travellers will drive to their place of vacation, rather than take the risk with public transport. 2021 will be the year to finally explore the beauty of your home country.
5 – Travel Standards Will Be Different
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Travel companies will implement strict rules and regimes that we haven’t experienced before. There will be strict cleaning practices and everything that can become contactless, will.
We’ll have to wear face masks and sanitise our hands as many times as possible as we make our way to our destination. Social distancing measures could mean there will be fewer people on your flight and it might take longer to get through the airport.
The Global Airline Trade Association has announced it will be trialing a “travel pass”, an app that will carry information about your test results and vaccination status as well as information about travel restrictions and what’s needed to travel to each country. We could see restrictions on who can travel, and where to.
This crisis has been devastating for the travel industry, and many have feared for its survival. However, there is hope in sight. Experts have predicted that travel will see a boom as the pandemic starts to subside. This should be sooner rather than later now as the vaccine rollout has begun in many countries across the world. Travel restrictions have made this year unbelievably difficult, and we hope the world will open up again again to us all in 2021 so we can start our next adventure.