The COVID crisis is going to be a defining moment for an entire generation. Seemingly overnight, everything halted. To help minimize the spread of the virus, people were forced to stay at home. This went on for a couple of months as we tried to come up with a vaccine. The tourism and travel industry obviously took a very hard hit with the new restrictions. Only time will tell if there are any lasting effects within the industry once things ease up and people are given the go-ahead for leisure travel.
As travelers, you might want to brace yourself on all the things that have changed since a couple of years ago because there have been big changes. To help you navigate this new and strange world of leisure travel post-pandemic here are 5 tips to keep in mind.
1. Start saving now
There’s no question how big of an impact the COVID pandemic has had on our financial lives. We heard a lot of news of people getting furloughed or laid off. Businesses left and right was forced to close their doors temporarily or permanently due to health restrictions that were put in place to minimize the transmission of the virus. Employees also experience pay cuts as businesses struggled to generate income as the entire world went into lockdown.
And now that we are starting to see an end to this horror, we are seeing the aftermath of the pandemic. Although prices for hotels and other accommodations have dropped, other aspects of traveling only increased. Airlines, in hopes of recouping their losses, have increased their fares. Tour activities, something that any random strangers could freely join, are now limited to a handful of people, and only if they are already a group. All this means that tourists and travelers can expect to spend more if they want to travel this year.
This leads me to my first tip: start saving now. Travel is expensive, that’s already an established fact. But traveling during or right after a pandemic is going to put a lot of strain on your bank account. Let’s go over some saving tips to help you get your travel fund going.
A commitment to save
The best piece of advice on saving I can offer is simple yet the hardest to do, and that is committing fully to saving money. It’s very easy to say you’re going to start saving. It’s a whole different matter when you actually do it. Imagine all the things that you would have to give up in order to save. Maybe spending less on dining out (or ordering in) and eating home-cooked more. It could be cutting back on small luxuries like ordering coffee, numerous streaming services, redoing the living room, and just stick to the plan of cutting as much cost in order to grow your travel fund.
Give up a vice
This next tip goes hand in hand with the previous one. Having a vice is not only bad for our physical and mental health, it is also a drain on our wallet. If you want to travel this year, hitting your target fun allowance might mean having to quit smoking, drinking, or another unnecessary spending. An occasional bottle of wine or delicious takeaway might not feel expensive but doing it a couple of times a week and you’ll notice how the cost can balloon quickly.
Open a savings account
This seems like a very obvious tip but there’s a reason why this is repeated over and over – it works. Opening up a separate savings account that is allocated for travel will make it easier for you to see progress in how much money you’ve saved up. This will, in turn, motivate you to continue doing what you’re doing. Make sure you set a minimum amount you will transfer to the account each month.
2. Go for flexible booking reservation
The first time I’ve heard of the term “flexible booking” was when a good friend of mine decided to open her new accommodation in the middle of the pandemic. I asked her how she expects to make money when all kinds of travels, and especially leisure travels, were restricted and she responded that she was going to offer flexible booking reservations.
The concept of flexible booking is nothing new. In fact, many establishments and airlines offer this kind of deal as part of a promo. It wasn’t until the COVID pandemic hit that many tourism-dependent industries and other local contractors started to freely offer flexible booking in the hopes of still getting an influx of cash to keep things running despite the absence of travel.
As for my friend’s plan, she offered flexible booking reservations at almost half the list price of the rooms. The reservation is valid for 2 years, very much transferable, and the only thing that customers have to do is present the voucher at least 2 weeks in advance of their intended stay. It worked. She was able to generate some income even though there were no guests.
Flexible booking is also quite common within the airline industry, but more so in Western carriers. This means passengers can buy a plane ticket with an open-date return flight. Travelers can easily change the dates of their return flight at almost no cost so long as they let the airline know in advance.
During the pandemic, airlines have made such deals even more enticing by relaxing some of their booking and cancellation rules. Some airlines will even offer refunds for flights that have been canceled.
Also Read:- 26 Ways To Detox Your Mind| Love Yourself!
3. Get travel insurance
Yet despite the fact that travel companies, hotels, and airlines are offering flexible bookings as well as cancellations, you should still consider getting travel insurance for your travels. When countries first went into lockdown, a lot of travelers had to face the challenging task of getting refunds for their canceled hotel bookings and flights. In the past, insurance companies didn’t provide any sort of coverage for things like a global pandemic. That is no longer an issue, however.
When traveling, people rarely stop to consider if getting travel insurance is worth the price. But they also fail to realize the many benefits that such a safety net can offer. It can mean the difference between a memorable and stress-free vacation, or a horrible one.
Protecting our vacation
We treasure our holidays and vacation days. We spend the better part of the year working at jobs we are under-appreciated, dealing with people we don’t like, reporting to bosses who don’t even care. We face all these in the hopes that a couple of times a year, we get to escape from the toxicity to just relax and enjoy our free time. But traveling has certain risks and travel insurance is going to help lessen those risks. No longer will you have to argue with your travel company to get a refund on a canceled tour activity or a canceled flight.
Just because we’re enjoying getting a tan in Greece doesn’t mean we are less likely to get appendicitis or get hit by a motorcycle while we’re on holiday. These things can and have happened to other people and the horror stories they shared are enough to convince people to make sure they are fully covered in their travels. Medical emergencies can get expensive, but more so when you’re abroad and the hospital doesn’t recognize your medical provider. Travel insurance that comes with medical benefits can be used to pay for losses due to emergencies.
Many are affordable
We picture travel insurance to be as expensive as our hotel stay. That’s not the case at all. Ever since COVID ravished the world, insurance companies have started offering affordable travel insurance because the demand for travel is so low. Doing a little research online and you will find tons of options for travel insurance that won’t break the bank on your next trip.
4. Expect change to have happened
Ever since travel became very accessible, there was a steady rise of travelers year after year. The fact that many more countries opened their doors and relaxed their policies when it comes to tourism helped enormously. Airlines did their part by making safe, reliable, and very efficient planes allowing airlines to offer low-cost fares and still making an income.
All that ground to a stop the moment the COVID-19 crisis swept the world. Suddenly, countries shut their doors. Even traveling within borders was heavily monitored and regulated. At that time, no one knew what the future holds. All the people had to do was wait it out. And wait they did. All travels scheduled for that year were either canceled or deferred for a later date. People were forced to think up other ways to fill their extra times as the world waited for everything to resume back to normal.
And now that we are seeing an end in sight for this global calamity, people will start thinking of returning to their normal lives pre-pandemic and that includes traveling.
Although devastating, the pandemic did bring some positive change, at least in the travel and tourism industry. For one thing, the movement for sustainability is being touted by both consumers and providers. We can expect travelers to act more like “concerned citizens” and demand more responsible policies for traveling. We can also expect that the industry will put in place measures to safeguard the health of the world over profits.
It was also in the middle of the pandemic when the issue of racism and inclusivity started making headlines. The Black Lives Matter movement made a lot of people realize how we interact with those we perceive to be different than us. In traveling, this will mean more inclusivity. People are going to be more vocal about harmless yet racist jokes and stereotypes many travelers encounter in other countries. No more dirty, racy, homophobic, and misogynistic jokes the next time we travel.
And we can expect localism to grow stronger and more prominent. The “Support Local Movement” isn’t new but it gained traction when the world stopped and many lost their livelihood and were forced to find other ways to support themselves and their family. The idea of localism is supporting local products instead of mass-manufactured goods. It means doing a little research about the product, making sure it is made by local brands, before buying it.
5. Don’t forget, we are still in a pandemic
Just because we’re allowed to go out and see our friends, gather in larger groups, or even travel doesn’t mean the pandemic is over. The virus is still out there. We are slowly managing its spread but rest assured it is still spreading. Its effects might be felt more in some countries than others but we are still far from irradiating it completely.
And while traveling might be allowed once more, we still need to keep our guards up and ensure we are following recommended health protocols to help minimize the spread of the virus. Safety should still remain our number one priority even when we’re vacationing someplace nice.
The tourism and travel industry wasn’t just sitting idly by waiting for the pandemic to be over. They’ve done a superb job of changing their procedures and policies to ensure the safety of all their travelers. Airports as well as airlines, for example, have policies to maintain social distancing. Hotels also are not yet operating at their full capacity. Some have even stopped offering maid or room services.
Before you jump ahead on your trip, you will need to research your destination, and I’m not talking about all the fun activities you can do. Check out what the regional health protocol is in place and what requirements you need to procure as a tourist. Should you need to be fully vaccinated? Swabbed tested? Or do you need to undergo quarantine when you get to your destination? Fortunately, these are things you can easily search online or get in touch with the proper authorities to ask questions.
Eliza Brooks is an informative content writer who loves to write about home improvement, remodeling, restoration, roofing, and more. She is currently working with WeathertightRoofing, one of the leading local contractors, which offers exceptional residential roofing services in Idaho.