The Covid-19 pandemic has changed virtually everything for so many countries around the world and their citizens. One area that has changed is travel. Plane flights have been almost empty for many weeks, as most individuals feel fear when faced with the prospect of being packed in close together.
As some countries begin to reopen, airplane travel is resuming. However, it seems evident that things won’t go back to what they were for a long time.
Here are some ways that travel will likely change in the months and years to come.
Smartphone Travel Apps Will Be Used More
Even before the pandemic, smartphone travel app use was rising. There are now more than 6 million travel smartphone apps available. With these apps, you can do things like:
- Secure transportation to and from your hotel in a foreign city
- See what rooms are available in nearby hotels
- See what restaurants are nearby in airports
While many individuals were already using these apps, the number should only increase during the pandemic and afterward. That is because the infection risk means fewer person-to-person interactions should be a goal.
Rather than stopping to talk to someone, if you can get directions somewhere through an app, it makes sense for you to do so. The fewer up-close interactions in which you engage, the less chance you have of contracting Covid-19.
Airlines Might Not Allow Such Close Quarters
It’s also possible that airlines, even ones that allow travel to and from international locations, might be reluctant to allow passengers to pack in closely together, as they do in coach class on most flights. We know that people contract Covid-19:
- When they are close together with one another
- Through droplets of spit from speaking, sneezing, or coughing
- Sometimes through surface contact, which is more likely if people are sitting close together
Because of all this, some airlines might only allow planes to travel with partial capacity. Of course, they stand to lose money that way. It will be interesting to see how they try to balance safety concerns with profit needs.
Expect to See Masks for Months to Come
Any travel is somewhat of a risk these days. That is because, while some countries have done an excellent job of containing the virus, others haven’t fared as well.
This means that, for international business travelers, going from a relatively stable country to one where there is a high virus risk is dangerous. For an immunocompromised traveler, this is a serious concern.
With this in mind, expect to see travelers wearing masks for many months, on planes, trains, buses, and all other transportation forms. Some will wear gloves as well, though doctors and scientists have not reached a consensus about whether they are as useful as masks.
Travelers Will Drive Whenever They Can
International business travel means individuals will have to fly, but for those traveling within the continental US, more and longer car trips will be in order as the pandemic rages.
Someone might not relish the idea of driving across the country for business, but they might do that now rather than risk a flight. For the foreseeable future, expect to see an uptick in business trip vehicle rentals.
Those long car trips will only happen, though, for meetings that have to be in-person. For any meeting that doesn’t require someone’s physical presence, meeting apps like Zoom will be in use. Such apps are already becoming much more popular.
There Will Be Fewer Hotel Stays
Business travelers will also avoid hotels more while the pandemic is still going on. Hotels are where people gather from different places, and you don’t know if the person sitting at the table next to you at breakfast can spread the virus to you. They might have it, but be asymptomatic.
This means that if you’re traveling for business or pleasure, for that matter, you’re more likely to snag yourself a vacation rental property instead of a hotel. It’s a safer choice since you won’t be in such close proximity to anyone. Those who rent out vacation properties should expect to do very well for themselves in this climate.
Travel carries inherent risks right now, which will likely be the case until medical science finds a vaccine. Since it is not clear when that will be, you’re better off finding ways to avoid travel if you can.
If you have no other choice, then try to take all the precautions we mentioned here.