Are you wanderlust, an explorer, or an adventurer? Amidst the disparities of a global pandemic, do you still aspire to unveil beyond the horizon? Do you dream of witnessing the setting sun or gazing at the twinkling stars? Travelling isn’t a luxury; it’s a way to unwind your mind and break the monotony of daily life chores. The good news is that even when various countries are still openly fighting off this virus, the travel and tourism industry is gearing up for a fresh start. Will travel experience be the same as before, or Millennials will experience a whirlwind excitement as they voyage on their international trips in a post-COVID world? Let’s find out!
The after-effects of Covid-19 on Travel
By now, all of us are aware that the fight with Covid-19 is a long battle. While we can’t put a complete halt to our everyday life, there are certain aspects that you can expect as an aftermath of this deadly virus. In the last six months, owing to the global pandemic, the travel, and tourism sector have witnessed significant changes, especially with the reduction of travel trips.
With the increased number of work from home and online courses, Millennials incline to stay at home with families. This has resulted in fewer work trips, educational trips, or even hanging out with friends. As for those who are embarking on short or long trips across the globe, a new spectrum of travel waits for you!
- Masks, gloves, and hand sanitizers are now the must-have accessory for traveling.
- Amongst the permanent changes, every travel and tourism company is taking extra care to maintain hygiene and sanitation facilities for the travelers.
- The woes still persist for the cruise ship operators as people are skeptical about traveling in a confined space.
- You may no longer witness a thriving crowd near a beach or in a pub as travelers will inevitably maintain the concept of social distancing.
- The empty middle seat in airlines or public places will become a permanent change to prevent the outbreak of Covid-19 and safeguard the passengers.
- It is also expected that those voyaging on trips will prioritize traveling in a car instead of opting for public transport for sightseeing.
Besides, several restrictions have been imposed on traveling to various countries to avert the risks of a pandemic outbreak. While the travel and tourism industry has undergone an unprecedented crisis with a 60% decline in international tourism, which is expected to increase to 80% if the recovery rate delays post-December, some countries are gearing up to embrace visitors from across the globe.
Countries reopening tourism amidst global pandemic
With lockdown ending in most parts of the globe, it’s time to unwind from a sedentary lifestyle and explore nature. Here are a few countries that are opening their gates for international travelers.
From July 1, 2020, Albania has opened its international borders to welcome tourists across the globe. Visitors traveling here need not undergo any test or mandatory quarantine, although a temperature check at the airport is still compulsory.
The country reopened its international borders from July 29, allowing all nations but has varied entry requirements based on residence. While travelers from EU nations are allowed without undergoing quarantine, all other visitors need to undergo mandatory 15 days quarantine.
From August 21, 2020, Anguilla is allowing international visitors, but travelers must have an online approval with a PCR test report before they arrive. They also need to undergo 10days mandatory quarantine in their accommodation upon arrival.
- Antigua and Barbuda
Reopening its border for international tourism on June 4, the country welcomed its first international flight after the outbreak of Covid-19. Travelers have to undergo a PCR test upon arrival.
From August 12, Armenia is welcoming tourists from all nations. Travelers, however, need to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine, which can be shortened if they opt for a PCR test upon arrival. If the results declare negative, you are free to explore the exotic beauty of Armenia.
Officially opening its borders for tourism from June 16, Austria is extending its warm welcome to all European Union countries, except Spain, Sweden, Portugal, and the UK. Travelers from the EU nation need not undergo testing or quarantine while visiting Austria.
Plan your trip to the Bahamas’ exotic beaches as the country resumed international tourism from July 1. But you need to undergo a mandatory PCR test and quarantine procedure.
- UAE (Dubai)
Explore the human-made marvels at Dubai as UAE officially opened international borders from July 7. Before traveling to Dubai, travelers must carry a negative PCR test report, which must not be more than 96 hours old before arrival.
According to the UK government guidelines, the country has started operating international tourism from June 8. But travelers and citizens returning overseas must undergo the mandatory quarantine of 14 days before starting their vacation.
Leading in the world meters list of the most affected countries during a pandemic, the USA didn’t ban international tourism. However, it has suspended granting tourist visas for citizens hailing from China, Iran, Brazil, and Europe.
While US Virgin Island had earlier opened its tourism border from June 1, allowing international and American travelers, owing to an upsurge in the Covid-19 cases, the country has levied a 30-day prohibition on tourism from August 19. Even Ukraine has shut its tourism gates from August 29-September 28 to curb the rising cases of Covid-19. However, in the first week of September, countries such as Zambia, Panama, Honduras, and Kyrgyzstan have added to the existing list of countries open for tourism. Statistics reveal that worldwide nearly 26.9 million people have been affected, out of which 17.9 million have recovered. The reopening of international tourism is solely dependent on each country’s government regulation. So before you embark is best to do due to diligence about the destination.
Things to remember before selecting your destination
While there are still lurking fears of Covid-19, confinement in the four walls can take a toll on your mental and physical health. But before finalizing your travel destination, there are certain aspects you must ponder upon.
Budget is one of the most crucial aspects while narrowing down on travel destinations. Accommodation, transport, and flights comprise the most expensive elements in a trip, and with the lurking fear of Covid-19, it is best to select accommodations that are maintaining all safety measures. So before you choose your destination, it’s essential to know your budget.
The duration and timing of the trip affect the destination and budget of a trip. While longer trips are usually expensive, especially the flight rates, it can even turn out cheaper with added discounts on accommodation. Besides, the climate plays a pivotal factor in choosing a destination. This is because, during peak season, there is always a hiked up price than the rest of the year.
- The type of travel experience
Do you like the serene ambiance amidst the white snow or the sun-kissed pristine beaches of the Caribbean? The type of wanderlust you are determines your travel destination. While some prefer an exotic vacation amidst the Amazon rainforest, others prefer the glittering lifestyle and the skyline high-rises of New York.
- Travel buddies
Your travel companion is also a determining factor when it comes to selecting a travel destination. If you opt for a vacation with family, you must not only prioritize everyone’s preference but also find the top-notch accommodation for their safety. However, embarking on a solo sojourn seems a feasible option for the adventurous minds who like to voyage on backpacking trips.
- Exchange Rate
It is imperative to consider the purchasing power of the chosen travel destination’s currency to bear food and transportation expenses. It is a key determining factor that can affect the budgeting of your entire trip. With the financial losses incurred amidst the pandemic, you can opt for countries with weak exchange rates that make them highly affordable.
- A revisit or a new destination?
As your mind craves to break the shackles of confinement during the global pandemic, is there any specific destination you want to return? Or the explorer in you screams to unveil a new destination to add in your travel bucket list? Your preference takes precedence in determining your destination of travel.
Apart from these parameters, certain external aspects also play the determining agent for selecting a destination. While there have been existing norms of applied visa and visa on arrival for some countries, post-pandemic, some other travel regulations have also been imposed on the popular touristic hubs. Also, while selecting a place for travel, it is best to avoid the ones highly infected with Covid-19 for ensuring the health safety of you and your loved ones. Your travel destination is also characterized by the type of accommodation, transportation, and activity you opt for.
Do you plan on voyaging for a road trip, flying, or driving? As most people are skeptical about taking public transport for traveling, there has been an increasing demand for adventurous road trips. Apart from seamless aiding you to reach your destination, you may explore numerous unnamed sightseeing spots on your way. Besides, road trips seem safer for those who want a secured traveling experience either solo or with family. Following the safety protocols, some countries are allowing international flights for tourism. If you plan to hop on one such flight to reach your dream destination, make sure to follow the guidelines set by the aviation industry and the tourism industry of the chosen destination. From getting mandatory Covid-19 testing before boarding, checking temperatures, and wearing masks throughout the flight trip, these are now some of the protocols travelers must abide by. After reaching your destination, if you plan to take car rentals to drive around and explore, select the ones with a high reputation in maintaining sanitation efforts during this pandemic.
When it comes to selecting an accommodation type, there are a plethora of options that benefit every kind of traveler. So in a post-pandemic world, know what’s best suited for your requirement. If you want a luxurious gateway, select the top-notch hotels that offer every modern-day amenities, and follow stringent guidelines to maintain hygiene. Besides, post the outbreak of Covid-19, hotels have leveled up with the cleanliness or hygiene protocols. For those who want some relaxing time alone or with a family with minimal interaction with other staff or prefer contactless check-in, vacation rental apartments are increasingly in demand. If you are an outdoorsy type, let’s go camping and trekking on a voyage to the unknown. 2020 has proved to be one the best year to hit the trails and embark on solo camping trips.
One of the imperative aspects of traveling is savoring the delicatessens of the local cuisine and selecting the perfect restaurant for dining out. To ensure health safety, it is best to opt for hygienic restaurants where you can choose a takeaway or choose an outdoor seating arrangement to minimize coming in contact with others. If you are going on camping trips, you must have a healthy meal, clean all your fresh fruits before consumption, and sanitize the area before you start to cook. Carry a lot of tissues, paper soap strips, and use disposable cups and dishes. It is a friendly gesture, but as you travel during the tough times of COVID, avoid sharing meals or using the same plates or cups.
While some touristic hotspots offer limited capacity or are reopening at a different pace, it is necessary to plan your sightseeing activities based on availability. You must also have a backup sightseeing option in case your preferred one is unavailable. During this pandemic, it is also necessary to plan COVID conscious activities such as avoiding crowded places or heading places early having limited access.
Prepping for the trip
While you have been diligently indulging in pre-travel prep all your life, for traveling in 2020, you might want to be extra cautious about what to pack to have proper insurance coverage and checking your finances.
- Travel Insurance
Having travel insurance is one of the best ideas while embarking on foreign destinations, but if you are purchasing insurance concerning Covid-19 impact, read the terms carefully as it differs according to companies. Before investment, also check for the coverage limit your credit card offers. There are also certain hotels and airlines offering flexible policy change and cancellation facilities if there are some last-minute adjustments to your trip.
While hotels, airlines, and rental car companies are offering utmost priority in maintaining hygiene and sanitization protocol, here are some of the essential things you must carry on your trip.
- Carry hand sanitizers in your travel bag to ensure utmost safety
- Have a pair of cotton masks, which you can wash and dry and use them whenever necessary
- Have a bunch of disinfectant wipes and gloves
- Stop overloading your luggage with unnecessary items and carry disposable dishes and cups if you are going camping
- Update your emergency contact details and health information
Are you stuck overseas with the sudden declaration of immediate lockdown? Or did your finances exceed your budget limitation? Falling in such a financial crux need not need a global pandemic to occur. To ease the peril of the international traveler’s MoneyHop, a new-age cross-border neo- bank, offers a one-stop solution for a seamless, economical way of exchanging money. MoneyHOP allows you to enjoy a delightful global banking experience by providing ‘One Global Account – One Global Card’. It offers you a multi-currency bank account with the ability to conduct on-demand currency exchange at near 0% mark-up on the app. Enjoy credit, savings, investments, FX – all on one account.