The virus has upended people’s lives in so many respects. It definitely put a crimp in our travel style. Personally I’ve been self-isolating in New York City for months now. I will travel as soon as this is over but it will have to be a different travel style than BC (before Covid).
We’ve asked frequent travelers (or at least they were before the virus) to give us their impressions of how the virus will change our relationship with travel, nature and the traveling public in general. Some ideas are pretty innovative, others are inevitable but one thing is sure, people are saying “I will travel” when this is over.
The pre-trip planning will change
Travel costs are likely to increase so airlines, railways and other transportations modes can cover costs of higher safety standards. This will inevitably reduce the number of people that travel, induce them to limit the distance and/or the frequency of travel or convince them that car travel is the best transportation option. Initially leisure travel will be closer to home and to more open-air places like National Parks or beaches rather than cities. As a result of this big, bustling cities may be avoided at least until people feel more comfortable traveling there.
The pre-trip process will have to be better thought out. For example, what safety precautions will we take? Any trip will require masks, sanitizing wipes and bottles of hand sanitizer. People will wipe down every inch of their airplane seat before settling in.
Some of the coming changes will last for the foreseeable future the way security checks changed after 911. Others may be fleeting. Hopefully changes that encourage sustainability are here to stay.
I will travel to spend more time with family
Social isolation is the new norm currently except for immediate family members. One finds themselves spending more time with their families than they do with colleagues, friends, or other acquaintances pre-social distancing. Spending time together at home will help some families become closer together.
The family partakes more activities at home, and everyone comes up with creative solutions on what one can do at home to avoid boredom.
Time with extended family will be more treasured especially if they live in a different state, country, or even city than the immediate family members.
One will make more time instead of giving reasons why one can’t visit for a special occasion. Travel sentiment may change from a vacation to spending time with extended family when certain guidelines have been lifted.
Ruby blogs at Ajourneywelove
Coronavirus will impact people’s relationships for a long time to come. We have all been separated from the people we love in a way most of us never have before. Most of us have also been worried about those we love. Not knowing if our family members will get sick, and not knowing if we could even be there for them if they did will make us appreciate them more than before. People will make more of an effort to spend time with their loved ones. We now know that time is precious, and we know what it feels like not to have that opportunity.
People will tell their families more often that they love them and care for them and give more hugs. People will be more conscious of how they spend their time. They will make sure to make time for people over things like social media and tv-shows. Hopefully, people will remember this feeling of wanting to spend time with their families. Remember the feeling of not being able to give hugs and kisses. Hopefully, we will remember all of these feelings for a long time and not just forget as soon as this crisis has passed.
Maria blogs at both-paths.com
I will travel more sustainably
More environmental protection
Research on the origin of COVID-19 suggests that the disease is closely similar to viruses in bats and pangolins. Nothing is clear yet as to how exactly the animal to human transmission happened. However, the fact remains that we already had history of never before known human diseases in the past which similarly points to animal origin.
The scale of the impacts of COVID-19 has highlighted more than ever the unsustainable side of human interaction with animals. Wild animals are a popular part of many travel experiences like trying out exotic food and visiting live animal markets. Tours involving animals held in captivity and activities allowing tourists to closely interact with wild animals are also not exempted on this topic.
Hopefully, COVID-19 will make more travelers rethink about supporting activities that push the demand for wild animal consumption and illegal wildlife trade. The pandemic could also be an opportunity for conservationists to trigger a more compelling campaign for ethical animal tourism.
For travelers, today is the best time to reassess our attitude towards animal welfare and environmental protection. After the pandemic, we will be forced to make critical choices in the way we travel. Hopefully, making environmentally-responsible choices will be one of them.
Jing Calonge blogs at Finding Jing
Addressing your bucket list…NOW!
After COVID-19, I expect to see many more people travelling to bucket-list destinations such as the Maldives and the Galapagos Islands. So many of us have the tendency to wait for the ‘right time’ to take once in a lifetime type trips, however, it is so rarely the right time… Finances, relationships, work and personal commitments just never seem to align. Coronavirus has shown us that you can’t afford to wait for the right time as the future is never guaranteed.
The forced lockdown has certainly made me feel much more appreciative of travel and has also hammered home the message that life is short. Who knows how long each of us will have to fulfil our travel dreams? Life after the virus will be as precious as life before it. Many of us will feel the essence of this far deeper than we ever have before.
Whilst some bucket-list destinations that suffer from over-tourism might take longer to reopen their doors to the public, I believe that there will be just as many, if not more visitors, all on a mission to turn their ‘someday’ into ‘today.’
Sheree blogs at wingingtheworld.
Changing food supply chains
One of the changes that we’ve seen so far during the Covid-19 pandemic is how the food chain is being used.
Factories are rearranging their production lines to produce smaller bags of flour designed for home use compared to large bags for restaurant and commercial premises. Local farm shops are organizing click and collect purchases, or even deliveries. There is a massive move towards localizing the food supply business, and it’s through necessity, but it’s so much more sustainable. We can see local farmers pivoting to supply the local community rather than restaurants. Butchers and fishermen are doing the same.
Long may it continue. For us certainly, we’ve seen the carbon footprint of the food that we buy has dropped significantly. I think it has been a massive learning experience, and I know so much more about the food chain now than I did 6 weeks ago. Now I have no desire to stand in a line at the supermarket, but a real desire to join a shorter line at the local farm shop. I also love that I can walk down the road to the even more local honesty box for a dozen eggs off our neighbour’s farm. I definitely still crave some of the more exotic foods that I’ve eaten over the years, but perhaps I’ll just eat much more in-season than before.
Sarah blogs at Letsgrowcook
I will travel to appreciate nature
The number of positive nature stories that have emerged during this period of confinement has been so encouraging. Our hope for the future is that this will be a wake-up call to humanity to take more care of the environment, while we are traveling or at home.
Being stuck at home, our relationship with nature has changed. We have come to value the peace and serenity that comes with being in nature. The daily walks are a welcome break from home living. We’ve all noticed how cleaner the air is, how animals are coming back to our cities, how green spaces are flourishing.
Our hope is that as people start to deconfine and start spending more time outdoors, they will be more sensitive to the nature around them. More efforts will be put into taking care of our green spaces. More pride will be taken into cleaning up public spaces. More people will get involved in their communities to help and make these spaces cleaner and better than before.
Whether you are traveling or not, our footprint on the environment has never been clearer. By realizing how great our impact has been so far, our hope is that we will now come together to make the planet better.
Carine and Derek blog at We did it our way
It’s strange how travel suddenly feels more dangerous than almost anything else. Heck, J.R.R. Tolkien got it right “It’s a dangerous business, going out your door…”
The very act of exploring, meeting new people or visiting new places seems unfathomable right now. We travel Europe in a motorhome and those are three of the things we LOVE most about travelling.
I will travel again… eventually. I believe the fear of being outside or near others will slowly fade. And I think it will start with us travelling more in our home countries.
Which is not a bad thing.
We’ve spent 3 years exploring Europe, yet there are plenty of places in the UK we’d love to get to know a little better. As soon as the restrictions lift, I will travel, take our motorhome (the perfect self-isolating machine!) and go exploring down the road.
I hope, when this is over, that many of us use local travel to boost the economy, help local businesses get back on their feet and slowly start recovering from the fear which has affected us all. And I’m looking forward to getting outside and going on adventures again. After all “there’s no knowing where we might be swept off to.”
Kat blogs at WanderingBird
Change our relationship to animals
I think we will see a shift towards more sustainable forms of travel. For example, people will favor small group tours over large bus tours and cruises, now that cruise ships have been shown to be an ideal petri dish environment for spreading the virus. This will have positive knock-on effects, since cruises can be harmful to the environment and also to the local communities in cruise ports. Normally, cruises bring huge groups of people who disrupt life for the locals as they breeze through on a whirlwind tour. Hopefully, in the future we will instead see more responsible tour operators emerge, leading small groups of tourists in activities that provide financial support to the locals and create an opportunity for authentic cultural exchange.
I also foresee that more people will be interested in finding healthy eating options when traveling, and specifically more vegetarian and vegan options. Since most infectious diseases are zoonotic, meaning they jump from animals to humans, one of the most effective things we can do to prevent future outbreaks is to limit or eliminate our consumption of animals and other forms of exploitation that bring us into close contact with them. For example, there may be a declining interest in zoos and other attractions that keep animals in captivity.
Wendy blogs at The Nomadic Vegan
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things for the world over the past few months, and while many of these changes have been negative, there have been positive changes as well. From less pollution to more wildlife sightings to increased awareness of outdoor recreation, nature hasn’t thrived this much in ages.
One positive change involving nature is the shift from indoor to outdoor activities and hobbies. Even once the risk is over and everyone goes back to (almost) normal, one thing that will continue is a newfound urge to get out into nature.
Instead of heading to a movie or an indoor playground, families will venture to their nearest park or walking trail to pass the time. In place of watching Netflix on a beautiful Saturday, people may be more inclined to hit a hiking trail nearby. Friends may decide to pack a picnic or host a BBQ in their backyard instead of going out to a restaurant or bar to socialize.
Of the many changes that have resulted from COVID-19, a renewed sense of wonder and appreciation in nature is one of the most positive and potentially long-lasting, benefiting not only the Earth but anyone who makes such a change.
Jordan blogs at thesololife
Support local economies
I don’t think that people will change the way they like to travel but perhaps they will reconsider the destination.
Possibly, crowded cities will be less attractive while smaller places close to nature will become more interesting. For example, “Paris is always a good idea” but perhaps not right after lockdown. In a country like France with so many wonderful things to see and do, I expect that other destinations like Auvergne or some places in Brittany will become more requested this summer.
Perhaps road trips driving our own cars and being in nature with little or no crowds rather than train travel or international flights will be the trend for the coming months. A week in a place around the corner may not sound very sexy but at least there’s no need to share the transportation with unknown people or to be confined on an 8-hour overseas flight.
Plus everybody knows how much local tourism businesses have suffered during these last months so staying in the same state or province and booking through these businesses is also a way to contribute to the local /national economy.
I hope to be wrong and that people will travel just like before but I think that after the pandemic it will take us some time to get back to normal.
Elisa blogs at World in Paris
Reconsider shared accommodations
Whenever I travel, I look at all the accommodation options; hotels, hostels and homestays. I am not really a stickler and have stayed with a lot of strangers, either via Airbnb or Couchsurfing. I have also stayed extensively in hostels. Apart from hotels, all these 3 options have shared spaces. Obviously, hotels also have shared spaces like the reception or restaurant. But in an Airbnb of a Couchsurfing accommodation, the common areas are frequented more often by the guests. For example, our Airbnb in Bangkok was a 2 room apartment with a common living room. I was in one room with my friends and the other room had a couple. Obviously the living room was an area where all of us used to hang out. Actually, these shared accommodations are also preferred because you get to meet strangers and can hang out with them, right?
Well, after the Covid situation, travelers might be wary of staying in shared accommodations due to multiple reasons. You can have less limitation of space in hotels and lesser common areas. Imagine sharing a room with someone whose travel history is completely unknown to you. I’m sure you’d rather stay in your own room.
Another reason people might choose hotels over shared space is that the cleanliness is much better. Well if it’s not, you can always call service and get it cleaned. But this might not be the case in an Airbnb, Couchsurfing or Hostels.
The current covid situation and the way it has spread is scary and will definitely leave people more cautious about their surroundings. This will surely lead to people not rejecting shared accommodation, at-least for a year or two.
Umang blogs at Travelmax
I will travel to discover new, less frequented destinations
Almost a couple of months ago, we were all happy travelers- some hopping destinations, some coming home, some taking off and some of us were already planning our next trip- booking tickets, planning our itineraries. Not in our wildest dreams had we ever imagined such a day when airports all around the world would be shut, and you and I would be confined within the limits of our home, barely stepping out in our vicinity for groceries. But that’s the uncertainty of nature, right!
This unprecedented pandemic is here to change the norms, to change our normal. Avoiding travel, avoiding crowds, social distancing, isolation, taking extra care of our personal hygiene, and the hygiene around us, this could probably just be the beginning. But what could happen after, especially for travelers?
From where I see, this new definition of normal that has been forced upon us is likely to bring a shift in the way we travel. Especially, our choice of destination.
We may find a vaccine sooner and even eradicate COVID-19 from the face of this planet, but those who have lived through this terror, locked at home, watching some of the mightiest cities turning into graves, losing colleagues and loved ones, living in fear are likely to live with the mental impact of it longer.
Social distancing will become the new normal as more and more people would want to pick destinations that are less likely to be crowded. This could result in a major impact on the tourism of some of the biggest cities in the world.
On the bright side, more and more people will head to lesser-known destinations, rural areas, craving for experiences of life while avoiding the tiniest possibility of any relapse or infection. Come to think of it from a wider perspective, it’s probably for the better. Possibly solving the problem of over-tourism, helping people travel, and explore better. Hoping for a better world and better times!
Parampara blogs at awaradiaries
Despite the virus, people are still saying “I will travel.” They have been bitten by the travel bug and are not likely to relinquish this activity.
What do you think will be some of the major changes the virus will bring to the travel sector? Let us know in the comments.