In our new era of social distancing, mask wearing, and working from home, where does travel fit in? Some borders are open, some are not. Requirements and regulations are ever-changing and different in every place and space. It’s confusing and overwhelming, and if you’re like me, you probably just want a vacation from it all.
BUT, WHERE CAN YOU AND SHOULD YOU GO? WELL, THE “CAN” PART FALLS INTO THE HANDS OF A TRAVEL ADVISOR. DURING THIS COMPLICATED TIME, IT’S HIGHLY RECOMMENDED TO USE A PROFESSIONAL WHEN PLANNING A TRIP. TRAVEL ADVISORS HAVE THE ANSWERS, INSIGHT AND GUIDANCE, AND THEY’LL BE THERE FOR YOU BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER YOUR TRIP. PLUS, THERE IS NO NEED TO ADD STRESS TO WHAT SHOULD BE A STRESS RELEASE.
HOWEVER, WHEN IT COMES TO THE “SHOULD,” NOW IS THE PERFECT TIME TO REVISIT YOUR FAVORITE PLACES, NO MATTER HOW CLOSE TO HOME THEY ARE. WHY? BECAUSE YOU ALREADY KNOW THE DESTINATIONS, YOU’RE COMFORTABLE WITH THEM, AND YOU’LL INHERENTLY FEEL SAFER. AFTERALL, STAYING WITHIN YOUR COMFORT ZONE ISN’T ALWAYS A BAD THING.
But, if you’re looking for additional reasons to travel back to the places you’ve been before, here are three to consider:
More Personalized and Private Experiences
Far fewer people are currently traveling which means destinations are far less packed. In fact, Thanksgiving is said to be the busiest travel time of the year in the U.S., and only 560,902 people traveled on Thanksgiving Day in 2020 in comparison to 2,648,268 in 2019 (according to TSA checkpoint travel numbers). And, fewer people mean more personalized and private experiences are available. But, that doesn’t mean you’ll simply have more space on a beach; many travel suppliers are now offering new small-group and private options while still delivering big experiences. Private transfer options are even becoming the norm, meaning from the moment you step off the plane, you’ll enjoy five-star traveling like never before.
More for Your Money
Similarly, the rising popularity of small group traveling and travel bubbles has changed the travel game. Travel suppliers know that in order to attract consumers, they must adapt, which has led to the average traveler receiving much more for their money than in the past. A private tour, a secluded experience — these things used to cost more than most were willing to spend. However, now, with new health precautions in place, these “exclusive” and secluded experiences are readily accessible.
One of the silver linings to the pandemic era is the increased flexibility within the travel sphere. Most suppliers, if not all, have changed their cancellation policies making travel planning much less stressful. For example, Contiki has made it easy to change travel plans up to 30 days prior to their trip’s departure date. Guests can now choose new dates and/or a new destination without penalty on the land portion of their trip. Additionally, travel insurance has also changed, and Allianz Travel Insurance, for example, is reimbursing you for nonrefundable cancellations if you or someone named on your plan becomes ill with COVID-19 before or during your trip.
Simply put, travel is poised for a renaissance in the post-pandemic era with a newfound focus on the consumer and his/her overall experience. This means that even your most favorite places you’ve visited time and time again will have something new to offer. So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to travel back to your safe spot and experience your comfort zone like never before.
May 2021 - Alexa Wheeler
As social scientist and writer, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, once said: “Confidence isn’t optimism or pessimism, and it’s not a character attribute. It’s the expectation of a positive outcome.”
This feels especially true when we think of travel and what the tourism industry and society in general have had to overcome in the past year. But to us, this also means hope. Hope for a renewed sense of interconnectedness, for what the future has in store for us, and for a tourism landscape that is more sustainable, more inclusive, and that has a deeper meaning.
Here are seven reasons to remain hopeful and confident about the future of travel.
1 | WE ARE ALL CRAVING IT.
HOPE IS IN THE AIR FOR TRAVELERS ALL OVER THE WORLD. ACCORDING TO A RECENT SURVEY BY VACASA AND ALLISON + PARTNERS, A MAJORITY OF U.S. CONSUMERS (53%) SAY THEY FEEL HOPEFUL ABOUT 2021. AND OF THOSE, NEARLY 60% WERE PLANNING TO TAKE A VACATION THIS SPRING. THIS TREND EXPANDS WORLDWIDE. ACCORDING TO BOOKING.COM’S REPORT ON GETTING BACK TO TRAVEL, 66% OF THE 28,000 TRAVELERS FROM 28 COUNTRIES SURVEYED FEEL MORE HOPEFUL ABOUT TRAVELING IN 2021, AND AN EQUAL NUMBER HAVE A HEIGHTENED DESIRE TO SEE THE WORLD AFTER BEING UNABLE TO DO SO IN 2020. SO MUCH SO THAT 71% OF GLOBAL TRAVELERS WOULD RATHER GO ON A VACATION THIS YEAR THAN FIND TRUE LOVE! NEED WE SAY more?
2 | VACCINATIONS ARE ROLLING OUT.
THE ROLL-OUT OF COVID-19 VACCINES IS A BIG PART OF WHAT GIVES TRAVELERS HOPE FOR THE FUTURE, WITH A MAJORITY OF TRAVELERS SAYING THAT THEY WILL NOT BE TRAVELING INTERNATIONALLY UNTIL THEY’VE BEEN VACCINATED, AND THAT THEY WILL ONLY TRAVEL TO COUNTRIES WHERE VACCINATION PROGRAMS HAVE BEEN IMPLEMENTED. IN THE UNITED STATES, THE CDC SAID THAT THOSE WHO ARE FULLY VACCINATED CAN TRAVEL “AT LOW RISK TO THEMSELVES” BOTH DOMESTICALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY (WITH PRECAUTIONS SUCH AS WEARING A MASK, SOCIAL DISTANCING, AND HAND WASHING). AS VACCINATIONS KEEP GETTING MORE TRACTION, THIS IS MUSIC TO OUR TRAVELING EARS.
3 | COUNTRIES ARE REOPENING TO TOURISM.
GREECE, ISRAEL, ICELAND, COSTA RICA, ECUADOR, CROATIA, TAHITI, BARBADOS, BELIZE, POLAND, ESTONIA, GUATEMALA, MONTENEGRO, SEYCHELLES, SLOVENIA... THIS LIST SUFFICES TO SPARK OUR TRAVEL-DEPRIVED WANDERLUST. BUT THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT IT DOESN’T STOP THERE! ALL AROUND THE WORLD, COUNTRIES ARE WELCOMING BACK TRAVELERS. AND, WITH THE LIST GETTING LONGER EACH WEEK AND THE PROTOCOLS BEING DIFFERENT IN EVERY COUNTRY, YOU’LL NEVER BE HAPPIER TO HAVE A TRAVEL ADVISOR BY YOUR SIDE TO HELP YOU MAKE SENSE OF THE REQUIREMENTS AND MEASURES IN PLACE TO KEEP YOU SAFE.
4 | COMPANIES ARE FOLLOWING THE PACE.
EVERYWHERE, OPERATORS ARE GETTING BACK TO TRAVEL. IN APRIL, G ADVENTURES CELEBRATED ITS 100TH TOUR CONDUCTED SINCE THE RESTART. WITH THEIR “TRAVEL WITH CONFIDENCE” POLICY, THEY ENSURE THAT THE MOST UP-TO-DATE HEALTH AND SAFETY MEASURES ARE IN PLACE TO PROTECT TRAVELERS, STAFF, AND LOCAL COMMUNITIES. ON THE AIR SIDE, TAP AIR PORTUGAL ANNOUNCED THAT IT WILL GRADUALLY RESTORE ITS PRE-COVID OPERATIONS ON 100 ROUTES BY AUGUST, WITH SERVICE TO LISBON FROM MANY NORTH AMERICAN CITIES AND EASIER ACCESS TO A COVID-19 TESTING SERVICE FOR PASSENGERS. CRUISE LOVERS WILL REJOICE ABOUT THE LONG-AWAITED RETURN OF CRUISING, WITH SEABOURN, ROYAL CARIBBEAN, CELEBRITY, SILVERSEA, CRYSTAL AND MORE RESUMING OPERATIONS THIS SUMMER. AGAIN, YOUR TRAVEL ADVISOR CAN GUIDE YOU THROUGH THE MOST RECENT ANNOUNCEMENTS AND HELP YOU CHOOSE THE SAFEST OPTION For you.
5 | BOOKINGS ARE TRENDING UPWARD.
WITH THE INCREASE IN FLEXIBLE BOOKING OPTIONS, MANY COMPANIES ARE SEEING SIGNIFICANT PENT-UP DEMAND FROM LANDLOCKED TRAVELERS, INCLUDING FOR CRUISES IN 2022 … AND BEYOND! SILVERSEA CRUISES RECENTLY SAW ITS 2023 SOUTH SIDE STORY WORLD CRUISE – A 139-DAY, ARTS-INSPIRED ITINERARY VISITING 66 DESTINATIONS IN 34 COUNTRIES IN THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE – SELL OUT WITHIN HOURS OF ITS GENERAL OPENING! OCEANIA CRUISES’ 2023 AROUND THE WORLD IN 180 DAYS VOYAGE – CRUISING TO 96 PORTS IN 33 DIFFERENT COUNTRIES AND VISITING OVER 60 UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES – ALSO SOLD OUT IN ONE DAY IN JANUARY. THIS SHOWS JUST HOW MUCH TRAVELERS ARE YEARNING TO FINALLY MAKE THEIR BUCKET-LIST JOURNEY A REALITY.
6 | THE CRUISE INDUSTRY IS RESILIENT.
DESPITE THE HARDSHIPS OF 2020, THE SOLD-OUT WORLD CRUISES SPEAK TO JUST HOW RESILIENT THE CRUISE INDUSTRY IS, AND HOW MUCH CRUISING IS MISSED. THE CRUISE LINES INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION (CLIA) REPORTS THAT, AFTER SCIENCE-BACKED MEASURES AND ENHANCED PROTOCOLS WERE PUT IN PLACE, MORE THAN 200 SAILINGS TOOK PLACE FROM EARLY JULY THROUGH MID-DECEMBER 2020. AND, THERE IS OPTIMISM HEADING INTO 2021: ACCORDING TO CLIA’S 2021 STATE OF THE CRUISE INDUSTRY OUTLOOK, TWO OUT OF THREE CRUISERS ARE WILLING TO CRUISE WITHIN A YEAR, AND 58% OF INTERNATIONAL TRAVELERS WHO HAVE NEVER CRUISED BEFORE ARE LIKELY TO CRUISE IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS.
7 | We have the power to shape a more sustainable future.
The pandemic has given us, as individuals and as a society, the opportunity to reflect on what we want for the future of travel. Science shows us that it is more important than ever to become more conscious travelers, to support businesses who share our values, and to visit destinations where we have a positive impact on communities. The tourism industry has sometimes been known for its tendency to harm natural environments and cause frictions with local people. But, with travel on hold for a year, we now have the ability to shape a more sustainable future for travel. Buying from small, local businesses, hiring local guides, valuing diversity and inclusion, being cognizant of our carbon footprint in order to reduce it, avoiding single-use plastics… These are all simple but actionable ways to start contributing to making travel better for the future and making our long-awaited travel experiences that much more memorable.
May 2021 - By Isabelle Labrosse