Will travel make a resurgence in 2021? It’s hard to tell at this point. COVID-19 is still at the front of everyone’s mind. Safety, of course, should also be a priority for everyone who travels. And as hard as it was for me to accept, there are other people you have to think about before you travel besides yourself. For example, if you’re traveling long distances to see loved ones, are you potentially endangering them? Are there people in your family who are in an older age bracket or have compromised immune systems? How about if you’re a young couple trying to start a family. Is traveling worth the risk? These are all questions you have to consider now before traveling. It’s something you have to consider before a) going on vacation while living with or near a family member who is compromised and/or b) traveling to see someone who may be compromised. Obviously, if you’re the person who has a compromised immune system and/or is more susceptible to COVID-19, you have to figure out if travel is worth the risk as well.
It’s not all bad, however, and that’s why we may see a resurgence in travel in 2021!
You’re safer than you may think when traveling by air
If you know me, you know I’m a glass half-full kind of guy. And if there’s one thing that the pandemic forced airlines and hotels all around the world do - it’s to make sure they’re taking appropriate steps to sanitize and clean high-traffic areas. All the major airlines, for example, have made “safety” or “cleanliness” commitments
Here they are:
Much like the airlines, hotel chains like Marriott and Hyatt have also started to market their safety protocols.
People are tired of being cooped up
Humans are naturally social. In fact, we’re naturally ultra-social beings. That means we’re not meant to be cooped up in our homes for months on end. For our mental health, we need to be social.
In fact, people have already started to scratch that travel itch. I’ve seen this, anecdotally, through the Airbnb I run with my siblings. The last five months of 2020 we had over 4,000 people view our listing and we were making bookings much later in the year than we traditionally have. Those who book our place are looking for a way to get away - safely - through Airbnb’s enhanced cleaning protocols they now have in place for hosts.
If air travel and hotel stays still aren’t something you’re comfortable with, but you still want to get away, there are plenty of alternatives. From road trips to staying at Airbnbs - there are plenty of safe options.
My wife, Crystal, and I have done both recently. This summer we successfully (i.e. didn’t catch COVID-19) road tripped up to Illinois and back. And this fall, we stayed at an Airbnb in Waco. Granted, road trips may not be the perfect option for a family that’s already tired of one another after being cooped up with them for months at a time, but if you are looking to get away, this is certainly an option you should consider. Airbnbs can be found all over - and are oftentimes a better option than hotels - especially if you can rent the whole place to make sure you can stay socially distant.
The travel industry has been annihilated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Airlines and hotels have been brought to the brink of extinction. To survive, they’ve been forced to change by taking more steps to ensure cleanliness.
Travel will return in 2021. I believe that. But it won’t look like it did prior to the pandemic. I think the additional safety protocols are here to stay. But I also think there will be less froufrou-y things. For example, I think airlines will keep away from drink and food service - especially on the shorter flights. I think masks will be required by many businesses for quite a while. I think theme parks like Disney World will have to require smaller crowds - otherwise it’ll turn a lot of people off from attending. At the same time, I believe activities and places where it’s easy to social distance will be popular - things like camping, remote Airbnbs, hiking, kayaking, and canoeing.
If you can travel safely (as noted previously in this post) in 2021, I think you should. Not only will you be doing yourself some good, but you’ll also be supporting some businesses (big or small) that desperately need the help.
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