The pandemic isn’t over, but it’s not the same unknown nightmare that it was in the beginning. Vaccines are proving extremely effective, and many countries are swiftly moving towards a state of normal again. That means that travel is something we can all start planning once more, but even as we do, we need to acknowledge how things have changed. These are some things you can expect from post-pandemic travel.
International travel after the pandemic
Before you start packing you Lawn Mower® 4.0 for a long getaway, let’s discuss international travel first. It’s more restricted and difficult right now than it has been in many decades. Every single country has handled the pandemic differently, and coming out of the pandemic will be just as diverse an experience across all the countries of the world. If you focus on three concepts, though, you can still plan an enjoyable out-of-country trip.
Restrictions across the world
Every country will open to foreign travelers on its own schedule with its own set of specific rules. All of this will be subject to rapid change for a while. Some countries are making fast progress with vaccination, but some countries really can’t. India has a billion and a half people. It takes a long time to make and distribute that many vaccines, and that’s just one example.
Because of this, the virus is going to exist in the world for years. That means unexpected breakouts will happen, and reactions will be strong and swift. Always check with official entry restrictions for any place you want to visit, which extends beyond ports of entry for a country. Tourist spots like landmarks, museums, the best beaches in the world, and anything else that might be fun might not be open to the public when you’re planning a visit. Adjust your plans accordingly.
Passports with proof of vaccination
You’re already used to the idea of needing a passport to travel, but for at least a couple of years, you’re likely going to need a second passport for international travel. We’re talking about vaccine passports; this is a hot-button issue in some regions and among some people, and we’re not here to discuss the politics. The simple fact is that there will inevitably be countries that institute vaccine passport rules across the whole world.
The general ideas being thrown around are that you might need proof of your vaccination or a recent negative COVID test in order to be granted entry into countries. If you don’t have either of these, you will either need to acquire them or plan your travel to places that don’t have such restrictions.
There are many places in the world that thrive on tourism. Absolutely all of them have struggled during the pandemic. Conditions allowing, they’ll be beyond excited to have visitors again, especially if you’re in early waves of returning tourism.
You’ll have a chance to see hospitality and enthusiasm like you’ve never seen before. You can look for very competitive rates, lots of extras to entice people to come, and a greeting from people who are genuinely glad to see you. Granted, all of this will vary by location, but if you’re part of a tourism resurgence that breathes life back into a local market, that’s going to come with some perks — even if it mostly amounts to genuine smiles aimed at you.
Domestic travel after the pandemic
Everything that applies to foreign travel kind of applies to domestic travel too, but usually on a smaller scale. In a lot of countries, domestic travel isn’t too unpredictable. Rules are nationalized, so you get some consistency, and it’s easy to plan your trip. In the U.S., every state is making its own rules. For instance, vaccine passports might become a thing in some states and not others. That can make planning very difficult, and it means you have to prepare for domestic travel more than used to be necessary. While you’re planning, there are three trends in travel that might surprise you.
It’s hard to imagine, but this is a likely possibility for your next trip. After a year of quarantine, it’s easy to forget what big crowds feel like, but everyone has cabin fever. Any place that is opening up for the first time in a while is going to see swirls of activity. Everyone will have the same good idea at the same time to visit a place that sounds fun and just opened up again.
So, even though you’re used to small crowds right now, you should plan for the biggest crowds you’ve ever seen. It might not all be Times Square during New Year’s Eve, but even local tourist traps that you take for granted might be swarming with more people than you expected.
It will take time for these crowds to ramp up into full swing, though, so if you travel early, you might beat the surge.
Airlines and hotels dropped the floor from under prices when the pandemic was at its peak. Now that they are expecting a bunch of new business, prices are going to go up. That, paired with inflation and a bunch of economic volatility, means that even the budget versions are going to hit higher prices than we’ve seen in a long time.
Experts are split on how long this will take to manifest. Some say prices won’t get above pre-pandemic levels until 2022. Others think everything will be expensive by mid-summer. It’s a guessing game, but one thing is certain. Prices have already risen in 2021, and they’re probably going to keep going up.
This is a sad thing, but it doesn’t have to be all bad. The pandemic killed a lot of businesses. Many shops or restaurants that were local favorites or recommended by travel gurus aren’t there anymore. That’s a sad thing, and there’s a fair chance you won’t be able to do or enjoy something you wanted to try before the pandemic started.
Despite that, a lot of new businesses are popping up, and as the world moves out of the pandemic, there will be a ton of new opportunities and experiences to chase. You should expect to be disappointed in ways you don’t expect, but if you can stay flexible, you’ll also be primed to discover new delights on your journey.
The pandemic really did change the world. Travel is going to feel weird for a while. Everyone is going to be in a hybrid state of returning to normal while remaining cautious for a while, and every person, region, and country is going to come out of the pandemic at a different pace. But, if you plan for weird, you can have a great vacation. You can still see things you’ve always dreamed of seeing, experience things you can’t imagine, and enjoy life to its fullest.