It’s times like this when I wish we had a little magic ball to see into the future and how the new world order is going to look. Travel is going to change post Coronavirus once airlines start flying again and in these unprecedented times, none of us really know when a new normal will begin. Whether you’re a Muslim couple looking forward to your honeymoon or a family trip that probably won’t be possible this summer, Covid-19 hasn’t and won’t discriminate in who it affects directly and indrectly.
As of today, the rate of infections is still growing and with huge efforts to contain the virus in Asia and the Indian Ocean, it seems to have been rampant in developed countries in Europe and North America.
So the following are of course predictions, please don’t hold us to these as we’re not future mystic readers. However, based on our experience and expertise, we think there could be some very predictable and some quite out there changes once we’re all able to travel once again
This irony of the situation is that countries that would normally have open entry for European and North American travellers will be carefully screening who will be able to enter the country to protect their country from another outbreak. However for many tourism destinations, they are super reliant on tourists from developed outbound markets so they will want them to return to boost their tourism sector. It’s likely we will see a phased easing of entry restrictions, with those countries showing a decline in infections being allowed to enter first.
OK, so this is a little bit contentious. Could we really be asked to prove a clen bill of Coronavirus health before being allowed into a country? The impact Covid-19 has had on countries, I wouldn’t be surprised. How this is implemented, who knows. The antibody tests that have been touted as possibly reliable may be the only option until a vaccine is created. And then, could a Covid-19 vaccination be a mandatory vaccine for travel?
You’ll Be Preparing And Packing Differently
Do you pack an extra pair of underwear in your hand luggage? Well, even before Covid-19 you probably should have (just in case your airline loses your luggage). Once we’re able to travel again, you’ll be thinking about a lot more than a pair of pants.
If you’re travelling for a week to Thailand, then it may be worth consider packing for 10 days instead. Not everything of course, there are baggage limits, but the important stuff; medicines, essentials and having back up ways to access money such as credit cards. There are many ways things can go upside down on a trip and you won’t be able to prepare for all of them. However ensuring you have a plan in mind in case you need to return early due to closing borders, or have to stay in a destination for longer than anticipated is only going to help you if the worst does happen.
Honestly, I loathe those two words. Travel Insurance is a must have that more than often fails to deliver. It comes to your rescue when you are admitted to hospital because you slipped on some ice cream, or helps you buy a new suitcase when the airline cracks your nice new Victorinox suitcase, but in the case of the Covid-19, it’s been as useful as the ink it’s printed with.
However, I still believe it’s a necessity when travelling. Whilst it may be a bit more expensive, opt for more robust travel insurance that will cover you in case of an extended stay in the Maldives at £900 a night to buy you time to organise repatriation if you need it. Also, it’s worth thinking outside the box in terms of eventualities and always read the fine print.
Routes Will Take Time To Return
Similarly where entry to countries may be restricted, it’s likely that with so many routes on the back burner, it may take a while for full service to resume.
British Airways don’t expect a full resumption of service till 2023 and with so many aircrafts in storage, many airlines may come out of the crisis with a smaller fleet to balance the huge overheads the aviation industry incurs. So newer routes with a lower yield may not be in the airlines best interest, so expect longer journeys and less availability in the next few years.
Your Frequent Flyer Points
So you’ve spent the last few months racking up those points to spend on a well deserved upgrade or a few nights at a swanky hotel. Will those points still be useful?
Absolutley. Think of your points like a currency. If you have a stack of points already, then you’ll most likely be able to redeem them now with the best availability seen for a long time for future travel. If you’re looking to start your journey into point collecting, then you may find the value per point to be a little less attractive post covid, mainly because there will be a point in the near future when airlines and hotels will be looking to recouperate lost revenue, prices will go up and in turn you’re paying more for each point collected.
Avios, the British Airways programme is immensely valuable to the company for it’s loyalty grabbing attractiveness. So don’t discard a good frequent flyer programme just yet, but start thinking how it can help you reduce your travel costs in the near future.
The Return Of The Agent
Could travel agents become the knights in shining amour out of this crisis? Well, depending on how legislation changes in the next few months, many customers may feel more comfortable booking through one company, rather than across several platforms. If a trip does go sideways, then having one person to call to handle your communications with the airline, hotels, transport and excursions bookings is a lot easier than having to deal with each of these individually yourself.
Cruise Travel Will Be Hardest Hit
Of all the ways to travel, there is little doubt in my mind that cruising will be the hardest hit. Yes, there will be some amazing deals to come from the cruise industry, who only really started to get back to being popular in the last decade or so.
However, no matter how good the deal is, if Coronavirus is still lurking, the impact on stranded ships and the people on board has been a PR disaster. The confined spaces onboard, with tiny cabins and little space is in my opinion, the mega liners own making. It’s hard to phathom how 5000 people can be onboard some of the floating villages and that makes it the perfect breeding ground for viral transmission.
I do feel for the super cruisers, however I think the winners here may be the smaller cruise experiences, with less than 500 people on board. Either way, the cruise industry will need to do a lot to entice travellers back on board.