As the onslaught of the pandemic began, countries all over the world immediately placed restrictions on travel. And now, nearly a year later, some governments, and their respective travel companies, are just now starting to loosen the grip on one of the world’s most enjoyable (and profitable) industries.
It was reported that over this Christmas weekend, an estimated one million Americans took to the sky. If you are like me, this is welcome news as it seems as though we may soon be able to travel freely once again. But that’s not without some definite variations to what we currently know as the travel norm.
This isn’t the first time in recent history that travel will undergo widespread changes due to a large catastrophe.
In 2001, after the Twin Towers in New York were attacked, security measures for pre-flight boarding were ramped up significantly. And what then seemed to be overbearing measures, are now just part of the experience.
Therefore, it’s safe to assume that COVID-19 will have a similar impact as preventive measures and safety precautions are currently being tweaked to ensure everyone arrives at their destination as safe and as healthy as possible.
But how exactly are we expecting travel to change in 2021 and beyond? We’ve compiled a list of possible questions with short, to-the-point answers to hopefully help shed a little light on an otherwise unclear topic.
#1 When can I expect travel to get back to normal?
Normal may not be the correct word to use here, but with the production and distribution of the COVID vaccine currently taking place, the travel industry is certainly looking for a boom in the coming months.
“A safe, effective and well-distributed coronavirus vaccine is the linchpin for a return to travel normalcy,” says Scott Keyes, founder of an online booking platform. “Great news on the vaccine front is great news on the travel front.”
In 2020, road trips were pretty much our only option for travel, but it is being reported that cruise lines and airlines are beginning to see an uptick in bookings, with airlines reporting a sharper increase in international travels than that of domestic.
#2 Will I need proof of vaccination before I can fly?
Last month, Qantas Airlines announced that they will be requiring passengers to show proof of vaccination prior to boarding. Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce said it’s likely that this measure will become a mainstay as he and his colleagues in the industry see it as “a necessity.”
“I think that’s going to be a common thing talking to my colleagues in other airlines around the globe,” he said.
It is still unclear if there will be a universal method of showing your compliance with the new measures, however, for those who have frequently traveled abroad, showing personal medical data to officials at points of entry isn’t all that unusual.
Also, be on the lookout for tech companies to utilize their expertise by producing quality apps apps like CommonPass, ICC AOKpass and VeriFLY to ensure travelers can present personal health data in a quick, secure, and verifiable way.
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#3 When can I go on a cruise?
Even though the CDC lifted its ‘no sail’ order, cruises may still be pushed back to late 2021 or even 2022. This comes as countries continue to see surges in coronavirus infections and cruise line companies are doing their best to meet safety requirements.
“We apologize to our guests, but we must continue to take a thoughtful, deliberate and measured approach as we map out our return to operations in 2021,” said Christine Duffy, the president of Carnival Cruise Line. “Our commitment to the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we visit is at the forefront of our decisions and operations.”
While 2020 may have locked everyone down, it seems likely that 2021 will be the one to set us free. As vaccines are administered, precautionary standards are being put in place, and scientists continue to learn about the virus and ways to prevent it, we can almost see the proverbial light over the horizon as a new day in travel is soon to be upon us.
As always, before booking any flights, cruises, or accommodations, be sure to check national and local guidelines to better ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. Happy travels!