Some states are opening up, and others are hoping to reopen soon. And everyone yearns for the time “things go back to normal” but experts and businesses say that our “new normal” will be different. Many of us are ready to get back to travel, or just feeling safe to cross state lines, or a few towns over to the zoo!
The Neuliven Health team did a virtual road trip around the country. We love planning for travel. The blog series was a great way of helping you plan road trips and find new things in your home state. Now, we’re at home, and planning trips in the future is going to be different.
A new survey showed that a third of Americans plan on traveling once they are free from containment. Travel agent Leslie Tillem has been spending a lot of time with her clients, helping them cancel their plans. But, she does expect folks to start traveling again. “People are leery to get on an airplane for long distances,” she said. “So, I see an uptick at national parks. Certain places.”
Air travel is currently down by 95 percent. No one is traveling unless they must. But what will it look like by the holidays? Travel industry experts expect it to take 18 to 24 months before they see high demand for travel. And, they believe it could be as many as five years for travel volume on planes to be as high as it was before COVID-19.
Companies are trying to figure out a way forward. For instance, Delta is considering using “immunity passports” for people who can prove they have had the virus. It’s also expected that airports may check temperatures in the future before folks check-in for flights to be sure people aren’t running a fever before getting on a plane. Airlines may also require all passengers to wear masks and leave middle seats empty. Some public transport systems in different areas of the country already require that people wear masks to ride. Airlines are also considering not serving drinks on planes to avoid people removing their masks.
Many companies within the travel industry are changing gears. They aren’t planning for out-of-towners but instead for staycationers. They think people might treat a night at a local hotel as a vacation away from their normal lives. “The first signs of a new normal will be that parents start taking their kids to the zoo or the park,” said Stefan Muhle of Nobel House Hotels and Resorts. “From there, they’ll venture a little further for a night away from home.”
Large chain hotels can weather the storm. However, many mom-and-pop hotels and bed and breakfasts may go under. Both hotels and airlines will be offering steep discounts to try and lure folks into a vacation. “There will be smoking-hot deals,” said R.W. Mann, an industry analyst and consultant. “It will happen on the leisure side first, but on the corporate side is where airlines make their money. They travel more frequently and pay higher fares. Right now, they are very risk-averse.” Many believe the price tag will then skyrocket once people are comfortable flying to make up for lost revenue.
Cruises may see the most significant changes. Many families love cruises, you can get considerable discounts when you travel with a group, making them perfect for reunions. However, when illness strikes it can go through a ship quickly. Self-serve food will no longer be available. Temperature checks will become routine when boarding and disembarking at any location. Gloves and masks will be worn by many, if not all, of the crew. And, cruise lines may require doctor’s notes for any older passengers. It’s even possible that ships won’t travel from port-to-port but instead become floating hotels. That way, if someone gets ill, they can walk off the boat and get home.
Our team expects to go back to road tripping. We can drive ourselves home, keep distanced from other travelers and help our economies by keeping our tourist money in the country. We’re longing to get out. A trip to a national park would be amazing! Until we can go out again, we’ll be looking at our older travel posts and planning ahead!