By Amelia Cooper

As airports closed for months earlier this year, the reality of how deeply travel had become ingrained in our modern lifestyle gradually hit us. Only 20 years ago, most of us were hesitant to travel more than once a year, but these days, a quick weekend trip or a three-week safari adventure are the norms. At least, they were the norm before the pandemic halted all our travel plans.

With half the year already gone, governments worldwide, especially in Europe, are reopening airports – with restrictions in place, to save the tourism industry while navigating an uncertain future with the virus still winning the war.

Travelling was and still is a way of finding inspiration, getting out of our comfort zone, learning about other cultures, and finding a place we can call home. Experts warn that it will take a long time for the travel industry to be what it was a few months ago, but we have to adapt to the new normal and accept the following changes to travel.

The rise of domestic travel

Amid palpable uncertainty, it is normal for people to want to stay closer to home. Experts are predicting a surge in domestic travel over foreign travel. You might have already seen your travel goals changed for this year and the next by opting to travel within your own country, rather than going far away.

Peace of mind is something all travellers want when they are vacationing. The virus altered many travel plans, it left many people stranded in foreign countries as different countries declared travel restrictions at about the same time. Now that the world is adjusting to the new reality, it is only reasonable to expect people to prefer vacationing closer to home than travelling abroad – at least till the Covid-19 is put under control.

Villa stays instead of hotels

The biggest germaphobes have always wondered whether the hotel bedsheets are clean enough and whether the shower is spotless. These days, with the virus turning us all into disinfectant fanatics, we will also wonder whether the hotel room we are staying at is adequately sanitized.

These days, with villas and homestays being available worldwide, it is far easier to skip the hotel. Unlike hotels and their traffic of people during the buffet breakfast, the gym and the massage parlour, villas and homes provide privacy and the safety of being away from strangers.  With villas and private homes equipped with pools, kitchens, and other amenities, it is also natural to have a relaxing vacation without feeling the need to go outside and explore.

Road trips are also a considerable part of domestic travel and an opportunity to stay away from hotels and public areas. Holiday vans generally come equipped with roof racks where you can pack everyone’s belongings and ride comfortably. With navigation maps available at the touch of a screen and accurate directions, road trips have never been leisurely.

New standards for hotel hygiene

Don’t give up on hotels just yet. While experts predict a rise in villas and homestays, hotels are putting up a fight to remain profitable during this uncertain time in the tourism industry by raising their hygiene standards.

A COVID-19 outbreak could potentially ruin a hotel, and nobody wants to take such a risk.  Accordingly, all over the world, hotels are implementing new hygiene standards. These include adopting contactless check-ins and check-outs, while pens and paper are given to guests upon request. Moreover, certain rooms such as gyms, spas, and restrooms are closed several times for disinfection.

A more conscious approach towards travelling

Over the last few months, many people realized how much their constant travel was affecting the environment. The Venice canals made news around the world because a lack of traffic led to far cleaner water. Wildlife creatures used dormant airports, and experts across the globe noted how pollution went down as we stayed home.

So it is encouraging to expect more people to be conscious of their carbon footprint. Moving forward, you can become more aware of your time spent in the air and delegate your air time more consciously before you buy another airline ticket simply because it is cheap.

More airport screenings

Experts recall that when 9/11 happened, travelling changed drastically with airports implementing thorough security checks to keep passengers safe. The virus will do the same thing as airports are already implementing screenings and temperature checks to ensure the virus is under control.

Fewer tourists going on a cruise

Reporters around the world discussed the outbreak of COVID-19 on cruise ships and how thousands of people were stuck on boats, sometimes for weeks, until the virus was under control. Due to the confined space of a cruise ship and so many people gathered on one boat, it is easier for the virus to spread. As a result, cruise ships are becoming more unappealing in the eyes of the public.

Travel will always be a part of us

 It is disheartening to see millions of people lose their jobs or business due to the virus’ effects. Yet, it is encouraging to see the world heave a sigh of relief are we look forward to a new normal.

Things are still in the air as to when, if ever, travel will get back to normal. But rather than fighting to get back to how things used to be, a healthy way to approach this uncertain time is to accept how things are right now and move forward by making better, more conscious decisions.


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