The Future of Travel in a Covid-19 World

future of travel, covid-19

The world looks very different right now and as the state of the pandemic continues to fluctuate daily, we just don’t know what’s happening or what the future of travel will look like. One day borders open up, the next day there’s murmurs of them closing or restricting travel to the type of traveller or purpose of the trip you’re doing. Even if you actually do book a flight, there are a number of other things you need to prepare for besides just packing a bag. Wearing PPE… longer delays… extended transit times… endless coronavirus testing… the future of travel looks a lot scarier and different at this time.

Where can you travel to?

For many countries around the world, borders are still closed and while some have opened, this could very easily change when the second wave hits or the number of infected citizens increase. Each country will have its own requirements when it comes to future travel. This could range from a period of quarantining, mandatory covid-19 testing and / or allowing travel only for returning citizens or those traveling for work.

Botswana Roads

How will you know when to travel?

Being vigilant about what’s going on around you is one of the easiest ways to keep up with what’s happening in the travel industry. Watch the news, read articles online and follow your favourite travel blogs. These are the quickest and most realistic ways to know what’s happening. There are also some really great apps that provide real time updates of what’s happening in countries.

Durban, Beaches

Entry Requirements will change

Every country will have different entry requirements. This will depend on what’s happening within that country regarding the pandemic. Some countries will require you to get tested before arrival. Others may require an on-site test arrival at the airport. Other countries may even ask you to quarantine for a set period of time after arrival so you should plan for these extra days. Often this quarantine period can last up to two weeks and it may be at specific hotels with serious restrictions on what you can do in that time. Factor all these costs and restrictions when planning.

Durban beaches

Understand the restrictions of future travel and make the right choice

As the restrictions change on a day to day basis, it can be quite confusing on what to do and how to plan your trip. It also can be quite frustrating depending on the reason for your travel. The best way to understand the restrictions is to keep up to date with what’s happening and do your research. Spend time reading up on what the restrictions mean. Call airlines if you have to. Comment on blogs, forums and open threads where people online are talking about traveling to your destination of choice. All of these proactive moves really help in the decision making process.

Table Mountain

Protect yourself

If you’ve done the research and managed to book your flight, the next step is taking every possible precaution to protect yourself. The last thing you want is to contract the virus while on a flight or worse, just after arrival at your destination.

To prevent the spread of the virus, many airlines have removed inflight-magazines and stopped the trolley-based meal service. In place of this you may receive a snack bag with water and other refreshments. Some airlines are also purposely not booking middle seats so as to allow for more distance between seated passengers. During the flight, you may also be required to wear gloves, and you will have to wear a mask.

Sitting on Table Mountain, Cape Town

Transit times

Transit times will definitely be longer especially if you are planning an international trip. This could be for many reasons. Airlines may restrict the number of flights to and from certain destinations. Upon-arrival covid-19 testing usually takes time, especially if you have to wait for your results. Because of this, you may get rerouted or have multiple connections to make. It is estimated that transit times normally requiring 24 hours are taking up to two days so plan for an extra day of transit time if you can.

Durban Beaches

Still wanting to travel now?

With all the restrictions on travel, for some of us the Covid-19 pandemic has made us feel suffocated in one country for too long. We’ve all experienced symptoms of withdrawal and despite our best measures to cure wanderlust during the Covid-19 pandemic, that suffocating feeling of not being able to travel has made us wonder where can we actually travel to now? Or what can we actually do now?

There are a still a few, safer options but we’re going to have to think outside the box. If domestic travel is allowed in the country you’re currently in, the start there. Plan a trip to a nearby city you’ve always wanted to visit. Often we take our home countries for granted and tell ourselves we’d much rather spend the money on international travel. Well now is the perfect time to explore locally. If you’re still apprehensive about flying then start with a road trip. It’s a much safer option. While you still need to practise all the measures of safe travel, you can at least still plan a trip.

Durban Beaches

Final thoughts on the future of travel in a Covid-19 world

It’s almost heart breaking to know that the future of travel has changed in so many ways. It’s something we never saw coming and as despondent as we may be at this current moment, we have to stay positive and hope that things will change in the future. For many of us, travel is close to our hearts – whether it be visiting a loved one across an ocean or just appeasing the calling in our soul – travel has become a way of life. That being said, our health and safety as well as that of our loved ones should always be top priority. If that means we need to rest our restless souls for a bit, then that is what we shall do.

Stay safe dear readers and share your thoughts with me down in the comments below!

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I'm Shalinee - a Geminian scientist who loves to travel, write, draw and eat chocolate. I've visited over twenty countries, published a Environmental Science encyclopaedia and somewhere along the way started a science communication company to help students and corporates translate that hard-to-read data generated in a lab. Other than that, I'm just searching for the magic still hidden in the world.

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