During 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic brought the travel industry to a complete standstill as countries implemented lockdowns, travel bans, and new sanitary measures to protect against the spread of the deadly virus. Finally, we are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel and a resurgence of one of our favorite activities, travel! We talked to travel enthusiast and blogger, Marisa Martin, to hear more about how she thinks the industry will change due to the struggles of the past year and her personal upcoming travel plans.
Q: What are your future travel plans? How are you adjusting your plans due to your experiences over the past year?
A: "My next solid plan is to take a trip to Joshua Tree National Park in California at the beginning of August. Because of the pandemic, I have been focusing on traveling to more outdoor locations that are in nature to avoid big crowds of people. This is not only for safety reasons, but also because many rules and regulations regarding COVID-19 are constantly changing. California has recently opened up again but due to the Delta Variant, I know that things are still unpredictable in the big cities.
If all goes as planned, my next international trip will be to Uruguay and ultimately a cruise to Antarctica. Visiting all 7 continents is a huge bucket list goal of mine and hopefully January 2022 is going to be the time! I already have my tickets and everything planned, but I know that things are always subject to change. If there’s one thing I can suggest for travel from here on out it is to get travel insurance! Many people, myself included, don’t get insurance for their flights, hotels, etc. But now, I definitely think it’s better to be safe than sorry!"
Marisa isn't the only traveler that has focused more on outdoor adventuring to ease back into travel. As restrictions lift around the US, National Parks have seen record numbers of visitors, including Yellowstone National Park which has seen the most visitors ever recorded for the month of May with over 480,000 visitors in May 2021.
We love the tip Marisa gave about purchasing travel insurance. This is definitely an extra measure that a lot of travelers will probably be taking for the first time. We are all so much more aware of how unpredictable life can be!
Q: Will you be taking any extra sanitation measures to protect yourself while traveling?
A: "I have always been a bit of a clean freak when it comes to traveling. I always sanitize my hands after being on public transport and overall think that I have been fairly conscious of health in the past. I took a trip a few months ago to Mexico and this was my first time being on an airplane since COVID began. You can’t control the actions of others, but I did make sure to pack many Lysol wipes in my bag so that I could wipe down the airplane seats, tables, seatbelts, and anything that I expected to be touching during the flight. Same thing goes for when I arrive in my hotel or Airbnb. Thankfully our world has begun to take sanitization more seriously, but I do realize that high-use surfaces like these may not be as sanitized as we would like. That’s through no fault of the workers, sometimes they have such a short turnaround and can only do so much in a short period of time. I just like to give things an extra wipe down for safety and peace of mind.
I know there’s a lot of debate about it around the world, but I anticipate that masks are going to become a lot more commonplace than they ever were before. Masks were typically seen in Asian countries or by those countries’ citizens when traveling abroad. Now, I think we will see masks in a lot more situations and places than we typically would and I expect this to occur for many years in the future."
So many sanitation practices have been added in public spaces over the past year that it's likely a lot of these measures will continue into the future. Reusable masks have become so normalized and even incorporated into the fashion industry, many companies will likely still produce and market these items as accessories. Although not necessary at all times, they could definitely be a great item to have when you have to be around others while feeling under the weather.
Q: What do you expect for the travel industry overall? How do you think Covid has changed people's' perspectives on travel?
A: "There will be several large changes in post-pandemic travel. The first one is that I think people are just going to travel more in general! Those people who have been waiting years for the “right moment” to take their bucket list trip are throwing caution to the wind and traveling because they realize that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. So I anticipate that the cost of travel is going to increase because there will be a much higher demand to travel. Additionally, I think that people are going to be more likely to splurge on experiences that they otherwise wouldn’t have. People are going to be more willing to book a spa day while at the Maldives or take that wine and chocolate train through the Swiss Alps or book that suite at the Four Seasons. There’s a collective global shift that we are only on this earth for a short amount of time and we need to make the most of it.
Along those lines, I think that while many travel amenities will go up (e.g. rental cars), more travel companies are going to be offering “flash” sales and deals to try and recoup some of the money that they lost during the pandemic. It will be up to us travelers to take advantage of these deals and get the most bang for our buck!"
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