No one can predict how holidays in a post-lockdown world will look in the future but one thing is for certain – it will look significantly different. Airplanes are being kept on the ground all around the globe, and many airlines have now found themselves on the verge of bankruptcy. Many of their employees are living in complete uncertainty, with no idea whether or not they can return to work in the coming weeks. And what about plane tickets – will prices skyrocket? Will travel become a rare luxury again, or will we still be able to enjoy affordable prices? I’ve put together some of my coronavirus holiday advice to help you start thinking about travel again.
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Changes at the airport
Now that some European countries are slowly opening up their borders again and travel restrictions are being lifted, we’re starting to get a glimpse of what travel after coronavirus will look like.
Some things are obvious – procedures will be put in place to ensure as little contact between people as possible. Think self-check-in systems where you aren’t required to print your boarding pass, you just need to have it on your mobile phone. You’ll most likely be expected to tag your luggage at the airport yourself, and then manually scan your boarding pass at the gate.
It’s also very likely that your temperature will be measured (and you might even be directly tested for coronavirus before boarding the plane). On-board mouth masks will no doubt become mandatory for all staff.
A few questions still remain though. What kind of service will take place onboard? Flight attendants’ friendly smiles and warm greetings will unfortunately be difficult to see – but will you still be offered a snack or drink? And what about a magazine or newspaper?
Airline companies have a long way ahead of them. It will take years before they reach the same occupancy and capacity levels as pre-coronavirus times. Customers won’t be able to get to any global destination as easily as before. Throughout this crisis we’ve all done our best to support local merchants, by undertaking activities like running errands at the small shops around the corner. Maybe we can extend our efforts to travelling and support your local airline company?
An opportunity to travel better?
Maybe this situation is calling us to reflect on our decisions when it comes to travel after coronavirus. Perhaps it’s time, as a customer, to consider the journeys we plan in the future. I’m not just talking about how to travel more sustainably but also really thinking about what your next vacation will look like. Is it truly necessary to get on a plane to enjoy your next dream holiday? I’m convinced there are plenty of hidden pearls in your own country that you haven’t yet discovered, which you can reach easily by bicycle, car or train. A holiday in your own country gives you the chance to spend less, pack your suitcase more spontaneously and give additional support to the local hotel industry (which has been hit hard during the crisis).
Embark on an unforgettable road trip
International travel is still a big question mark. Each country will take its own measures in its own time. My main piece of coronavirus holiday advice would be to think local.
Travel restrictions might encourage us to change the way we move around. Throughout summer and autumn, road trips will most likely become the main form of travel. When I look back on past travels, road trips are without a doubt the best! I have the best memories from our USA West coast road trip, our journey by car through Israel and Chile…and even our road trip in Germany. This year we will discover Belgium and our neighboring countries a bit more – as soon as the borders open again.
I also can’t wait to go hiking in the Ardennes, probably during a weekend of glamping. Travel budgets will look different for everybody this year, and we have no idea what will happen with our vacation days. Will we all be able to pick them up this year, or will our employers assume that we’ll be more flexible in order to absorb the damage suffered?
International travel requirements
Some countries have reopened their borders, but with travel restrictions. For example, in Austria, you have to show a medical certificate with your test results (no older than four days) to enter the country. In Spain, you have to go into quarantine for two weeks before you can start your holiday.
Travelling will certainly not be as easy as it once was. On this website you can always find the latest news, as well as the flight restrictions and which documents you need for each country.
Choose your future travels wisely
Several countries have been hit particularly hard by the virus. Places like Italy, Spain and France are suffering – countries that economically depend on tourism will be feeling the after-effects for quite a while.
One thing we can do is try to take this into account when booking international travel in the future. These countries deserve our support more than ever! Think of a beautiful road trip along the Amalfi coast or a beautiful city trip in Seville …
Animals are also suffering during these extreme situations. Poachers claimed the lives of dozens of innocent civilians and park rangers in the beautiful Virunga park in Africa last month… a park that is usually maintained by tourism income. The Masai Mara in Kenya also had to close their reserve, leading to a total loss of much-needed income.
We need to keep this in mind as well when we’re able to start booking trips again. Where can you enjoy a wonderful holiday – but also make it effective for animals in danger of extinction? I already dream of our trip to Borneo… and now I have to figure out how I can do my bit to give the orang-oetangs a better life.
How to start preparing for your holidays in a post-lockdown world
Bit by bit borders will open again, and behind the scenes airline companies are working hard to get operations started up. Even though you may not intend to get back on a plane any time soon for personal reasons, let us not forget that many people (my husband included!) urgently need to travel for business reasons.
Before boarding a plane for whatever reason, here are some things you should keep in mind:
- Always book your hotels with cancellation insurance. Although the rules of some countries are being relaxed, the chance of a second wave of infections is high and countries can tighten their rules again at any time. Ensure you booking with cancellation insurance so you can cancel your trip free of charge.
- Keep in mind that not everything will be open at your destination. For example, restaurants and bars will not be open everywhere, or they may have restrictions and fewer tables.
- Always check whether you can move around smoothly at your chosen destination. Are there taxis, trains or ferries available to get you from place to place?
- What about your return? Has your country provided any information about restrictions when you return from abroad? Will you have to quarantine yourself at home for two weeks?
- What about travel insurance? Check whether this covers all costs if something should happen along the way. Many insurance companies withdraw for Covid 19 travel cancellations, but are you covered if you’re infected by the virus and end up in a hospital abroad?
- Always book everything with your credit card, instead of an ordinary bank or debit card. Credit cards usually have good insurance in case something goes wrong.
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