One thing we all have to accept is that travel after the pandemic will never be the same again. However, every cloud has a silver lining since star attractions will witness fewer footfalls and cities will be quieter and less polluted. While this augurs well for the planet, as it will get a breather it so richly deserves, travel as a result will become a privilege for the few and not a right.
Despite the turbulence, tourism is expected to revive the economy of the world in a big way, providing we prepare for it in a conscious way. Here are the eight top factors travelers are likely to weigh in, before planning a trip in the times to come.
#1 Search for less affected destinations
First and foremost, choosing the destination country will be of utmost importance in terms of safety while planning the trip. Travelers will prefer countries nearer to their homes after checking on all the health related statistics. These things could include a list of the containment zones and people affected/recovered in the country as well as the places which are open to the public.
Almost every country has a different set of rules and regulations and even these will change with each week if not with each passing day. Once you have narrowed down to the destination of your choice, only then decide on your travel bookings. Check if you need a stamped visa or an e-visa, as this eliminates the risk of contact.
#2 Safety Precautions
Visit the official website of the destination country and check their latest travel advisory before finalizing your decision. Know what sorts of documents and certificates are required at immigration and opt for a country that ensures maximum safety and minimum travel related compliances.
It is advisable to note down the emergency numbers of your home embassy in the destination country and keep it saved in your phone for easy access when traveling. You can use the Byevisa embassy finder to look up your home country’s embassies and consulates in your destination country (or vice versa).
Never leave without international travel insurance lest you want to give your exciting holiday an unpleasant surprise. Ensure you are covered from both medical and non-medical risks if you want to have a stress-free vacation.
While traveling overseas will have its fair set of challenges, with firm and conscious planning one can go ahead. Here are some safety tips one would have to keep in mind:
- Your mask, sanitizer, gloves and face shield will become an essential part of your hand baggage.
- Airline’s protocols will have to be followed strictly.
- Your prescription medications should be at reach and carry enough for the trip.
- Regular sanitizion of bags, especially the high touch points.
- The hotel you booked should not be over crowded.
- Make payments digitally.
- Teleconsult your physician if the need arises.
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#3 Longer stays
Tailored travel and longer stays will be the norm as more and more travelers choose to work remotely even while taking a vacation. The digital nomad mode of blending work with travel will be the driving force as people can work from home or any place with internet rather than trying to rush back to their respective workplaces. Extension of stays will, therefore, increase. This is especially true in countries that are considering laws to attract digital nomads, including Costa Rica.
#4 Travel will become flexible, for now
Experts believe that there will be new travel policies which will remain in place even long after the pandemic has passed. If travel agents and airlines want to rebuild their customer base, they will have to adopt measures like free date change and zero cancellation charges, well-publicized moves which are unlikely to change in the near future.
The impact on the hospitality sector has also been massive. Still hotels are willing to facilitate guests to weather the storm by publicly announcing zero cancellation charges on date changes and bookings. This will allow guests to reschedule their visit without incurring any loss of money.
#5 Pack accordingly
Even under normal circumstances, the excitement of an upcoming trip makes one lose track of some essentials needed to pack for the journey. In a world which has experienced a major set-back, this takes higher precedence. Here is a list of some of the less obvious things that travelers would need to pack for their benefit.
- Face Masks: One won’t be enough, so make sure you have a couple to spare all the time.
- Face Shield: Though not mandatory, some people with health conditions may have to wear them as they are prone to illness.
- Sanitizer: Carry a few small bottles and good wet wipes to disinfect surfaces and luggage.
- Latex gloves: Keep a pair handy.
- Digital thermometer: Temperature checks will be the norm at the airports. Should an airline does not allow you to board because of high temperature, you can always check with your own thermometer to reconfirm.
- Clothes: Bring clothing to last you the entire trip instead of using the hotel laundry. If you are choosy, carry your own washing soap.
#6 Research your destination well
Health and hygiene have been important factors even before the pandemic, but now they are reshaping the ways the world will travel in future. The most preferred destinations for travel in the years to come will be those who have the most intensive safety and health procedures in place.
Countries that have opened up to tourism should also show the ability to mitigate any future virus attacks, a move which should garner them the most attention. The thought of seeing the pyramids without the crowds or going on a game drive in Africa with only the bush as your only companion will prove to be a hit with upcoming travelers.
Use travel websites and guide books to get an idea of what is waiting for you in that country. Ask those for recommendations based on their own experiences. Make a list of things you want to see. If you like temples, find out the dress code. Learn some simple local phrases as you will be surprised how well you will get along with the locals. When eating out, check beforehand if you need to leave a tip and what should the amount be.
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#7 Double down on sustainability
The potential of green technology as a solution to counter the after effects of any future virus attacks are getting louder worldwide. A study conducted by Conde Nast Traveler has revealed that over 50% of travelers choose a hotel which gives something in return to the local community. Further, an overwhelming 70%+ of global travelers wish to stay in an eco-friendly accommodation on their next trip.
#8: Book accommodation in advance
While online travel agents were the main choice of those making hotel bookings, their vague refund policies will give a boost to direct bookings in the post pandemic travel era. People will take advantage of the reasonable tour packages on offer and pick one that suits their pocket. For peace of mind and to avoid last minute chaos, it is better to have confirmed accommodation in a new country on arrival, at least till you have found your bearings.
Few last words
Moving forward, regardless of the robust recovery rate of any country, fear and uncertainty will remain the crucial factors in the decision making process of the visitor. Taking help from a reputed travel portal which is well versed with the travel advisory of your destination country will go a long way in making your vacation as seamless as possible.