Right about now, I wish I had a crystal ball to see exactly what the future of travel will look like. I’m sure many people are thinking, “how will my travel change“? If it were up to me, and a global pandemic hadn’t shaken our entire lives upside down, I’d most likely be on a plane heading to my next destination — preferably some beautiful island.
Unfortunately, at least for the time being, the world has other plans and to me, it’s still an uncertain time for travel. When I think of future travel, I have a few guesses on what that will mean, so I want to help you plan and prepare too.
Should I avoid traveling internationally?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC recommends that people avoid nonessential international travel to high-risk destinations.
So many countries are implementing travel restrictions, mandatory quarantines, closing borders and prohibiting non-citizens from entering, sometimes with little to no advance notice.
Airlines have canceled many international flights and even in-country travel is unpredictable.
Now, If you choose to travel internationally, be flexible and understand that your plans may be disrupted. It’s possible you might even have to stay outside the US for a period of time (this has happened to people I know).
At least for the near future of travel, I suggest keeping close tabs on the CDC travel restrictions and State Department travel warnings.
Last minute travel, like my favorite long weekend getaways to places throughout Europe, will have to be put on hold for the time being.
How will the future of travel change?
There are a lot of theories out there about how the future of travel is going to change.
Some I admit are pretty far out there and some actually aren’t that hard to believe.
Here are some ways I think we’ll have to adjust for future travel plans:
1. Make arriving earlier for flights a priority
If you’re anything like me and usually find yourself rushing to the gate (Home-Alone-style), those days are probably long gone.
Now there are more travel safety measures in place to follow and new boarding procedures, on top of checking luggage and getting through TSA, that showing up at your gate last minute might be a thing of the past.
Every airport has its own rules and each airline does too. Between possibly having to take a rapid COVID test, get temperature checks and answer additional health questions, if you’re traveling by plane, give yourself more than enough time to go through all the new security measures. That will help ease some of the stress over handling this new travel life of air travel.
2. Mandatory masks for the future of travel
Although there is no federal law requiring passengers to wear masks, many airports and airlines are have made it mandatory.
Also, most states have required masks to be worn whenever you are out in public places. Be prepared for all types of travel and make face masks part of your road trip essentials.
Even before the pandemic, one of my top international travel essentials has always been a scarf, which I usually pulled up over my nose and mouth during long flights. Luckily there are lots of face mask options for both kids and adults, so make sure to stock up.
If you easily sign up for my newsletter (at the bottom), you’ll be instantly directed to a free “healthy travel checklist”. You can download and print it for all the best travel essentials to have before your next trip.
3. Increased travel costs
You might think (and hope) travel will be cheaper in the future, especially to attract people again. I hate to be the bearer of bad travel news, but unfortunately, it will be the opposite.
Due to the extra measures that airlines, resorts and other travel companies have to take, they’ll likely have to increase costs to help pay the bills. This means that tickets, parking, baggage fees, car rentals, hotels and activities may get a little pricier over time.
4. Flights will have less available seats (book earlier)
To keep up with social distancing, most airlines aren’t allowing passengers to sit next to each other. Blocking off the middle seat on planes means flights will fill up a lot quicker with fewer seats available to purchase.
I suggest booking your tickets more in advance than usual.
Also, look for the cancel for any reason travel insurance type of coverage when booking flights or planning any type of trips, at least until the travel industry is more stable again.
5. Health and safety certificates may be required
Much like a passport or visa is a required international travel essential, there’s lots of talk within the travel industry of health and safety certificates being needed in the future of travel.
This type of document might help streamline the flying process, as airport travel eventually picks back up. It would help eliminate additional steps like the temperature checks and rapid COVID tests.
6. Resorts and Theme Park experiences will be different
With social distancing rules, that means places like theme parks and resorts definitely won’t be as crowded as they normally are.
You’re probably thinking this sounds like a bright spot in the future of travel, but fewer people means less revenue, which could lead to cutbacks and even closures on certain rides, experiences and places to eat.
I’m not saying to skip visiting places like this or never visit Disney, but please be aware that attractions might be limited and your experiences might not be as magical as you’re used to.
7. Road trips will be a lot more popular
Road trips are already quickly becoming the preferred method of travel because of how convenient they are.
People are craving the opportunity to start traveling. Road trips allow you to explore open spaces like national parks, beaches and towns.
If you are still feeling skeptical about traveling, road trips are a great way to get back to exploring again.
8. The future of travel might bring shorter cruises
Most major cruise lines have been shut down since around March. There is no sign of return until at least the end of this year or even into 2021. I am definitely missing this form of travel, especially Disney Cruises, as they’ve always been one of our family’s favorite types of vacations.
Cruising in the future will most likely entail a COVID test for each passenger before boarding.
There also may be few to no port stops, shorter cruises (2-4 days vs. 6 days or more) and probably no self-service food options on cruise ships.
What type of changes do you think will be happening in the future of travel?
As you can tell, the future of travel is hard to guess at this point in time. While it may feel like you won’t get to explore the world again, please don’t let it ruin your wanderlust.
One thing I’ve learned from not traveling at all lately is the fact that I miss it dearly. It’s nearly impossible for me to be sitting still and staying in one spot for this length of time.
Until I can spontaneously hop on a plane, travel to Europe or visit Disney for some magic, I’ll be saving up my money, frequent flyer miles and keeping my carry-on ready.