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What Will Travel Look Like in a Post-Lockdown Covid-19 World?

As social distancing guidelines begin to relax and hotels and destinations start to make plans to reopen, you can be sure there will be a new normal for travel - at least for a while.  

While some of this year’s grandest travel plans may be on pause for now, not all vacation hope is lost.  As countries and states start to ease restrictions and hotels, national parks, and other attractions, like Disneyland, cautiously begin to announce reopening plans, the allure of a road trip is strong.  

The road trip is a classic summer pastime around the world, and, this year, its popularity is on the rise as more and more travelers crave post-quarantine getaways that still heed proper social-distancing guidelines.  No matter where you live, there’s likely a scenic drive nearby, be it a forest-lined highway or a sunny, shore-hugging route.  

Personally, we are starting to make plans for weekend road trips and staycations to get out of the house and venture out into a post-lockdown world.  Over the next few weeks, I'll be writing more about road trips in and around California, including our favorite places to stay in Northern California, including Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, Napa, and the Central Coast.  As other counties within California start to re-open, as well as other states and destinations open up, according to their guidelines, I plan on writing more about these destinations as well (Disney trips, Hawaii and more).

California Resilience Roadmap
Californians have been staying home and saving lives since the start of our statewide stay-at-home order issued on March 19, 2020. These efforts have allowed the state to move forward on our roadmap for modifying the statewide order. 

California has been under a stay-at-home order since March 19, 2020, which has helped flatten the curve and slow the spread of Covid-19.  These efforts have allowed the state to move forward on a roadmap for a phased re-opening of counties across the state.

You can read more about the California Resilience Roadmap here and the guidance for hotels here at Covid-19 Industry Guidance: Hotels and Lodging.

Restarting of Leisure Travel in California 
California’s tourism economy will largely begin to reopen mid-June after a three-month shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.  Governor Newsom’s public health guidance will allow counties that have met health benchmarks to authorize hotel, campground and RV stays and reopen zoos, family entertainment centers, museums, galleries and winery tasting rooms.

This is a positive step and the California tourism industry and our partners look forward to welcoming visitors back to the Golden State.  I plan on sharing more in the coming weeks on hotel re-openings and special deals, promotions, as well as strict cleaning protocols and social distancing guidelines that hotels will have in place.

What Will Travel Look Like in a Post-Lockdown Covid-19 World?
The coronavirus pandemic is still a global health emergency, with short- and long-term outcomes yet to be determined.  As some curves flatten begin to flatten, stay-at-home orders expire, and businesses begin to reopen, the collective “new normal” is starting to take shape. 

Many who love travel are cautiously ready to plan again, and tourism is going play an important role in an economic recovery.  Last year, travel and tourism accounted for 330 million jobs and $8.9 trillion of the world GDP.  

The travel industry is ready: Countries are (slowly) beginning to loosen border regulations, while rolling out plans for museums, restaurants, and other tourist attractions to reopen; airlines are adding popular routes back to schedules; and several hotels and resorts have recently announced reopening dates - with strict cleaning and social distancing guidelines in place.
We always knew travel would be back, but it’s still unclear exactly what it’s going to look like. Are people really ready to travel – and if so, where do they want to go?  And where can they go? 

Here are my Thoughts on Travel in a New Post-Pandemic World:

Personal Risk & Comfort Level with Traveling
Ultimately, whether or not people are ready to start venturing out comes down to a personal risk and comfort level, with a variety of other measures coming into play.  

Personally, for us, when we start venturing out we'll be taking extra precautions with our two kids, i.e., wearing masks when appropriate, maintaining social distancing and booking condo style accommodations with kitchens to reduce our visits to restaurants.  

Domestic Travel will Rebound First & Faster 
Close-to-home travel will emerge first and the Summer road trip will be making a popular comeback.  Since we live in Sacramento, we're cautiously starting to plan trips to Lake Tahoe and the Central Coast this Summer. 

International Travel will be Much Slower to Rebound 
To date, several countries (including Australia, New Zealand, and Argentina) aren’t allowing some foreign citizens in yet.  And on the flip side, Greece, Portugal, Iceland, Mexico and several Caribbean countries are set to begin reopening their borders sometime in June, with many other destinations following closely behind.  But the biggest deterrent to international travel will be that many travelers, myself included, just aren’t ready to hop on a long-haul flight yet, especially with kids.

International travel will depend on a number of important factors, with the most important being a go-to therapy or vaccine for the virus.  If people have to quarantine on arrival, get tested before a flight, or show an immunity passport, that will dissuade them from taking the risk because too many things could go wrong.  International destinations that are a short flight away for travelers, such as the Caribbean and Mexico, will likely bounce back first.
Refund & Cancellation Policies Will Need to be More Flexible
Until there’s a vaccine for coronavirus, potential new Covid-19 outbreaks may dramatically alter hotel openings, tour and flight schedules, and self-quarantine requirements.  Some areas of the United States have effectively reduced positive cases and other areas of the country have seen drastic spikes.  That will play into the minds of people looking to plan travel and they'll want to know they have flexibility to cancel or amend their plans if needed.  Cancellation policies can vary by hotel, cruise, or airline and are being updated on a regular basis.  Companies that offer the most travel-friendly terms will have a strong competitive advantage going forward. 

Working with a Travel Advisor Will Matter More Than Ever
Anyone planning a trip will need to understand that travel as we knew it is going to be a lot different for a while and it might even be a little confusing and overwhelming at first.  

Hotels will have new polices in place for cancellations, new strict cleaning measures and other social distancing guidelines in place.  Airlines will have their own rules, and hotels, restaurants, and tour operators may all have different policies too, so working with an advisor means that if something goes wrong, i.e., a hotel shuts down, a flight gets cancelled, a trip is suddenly cut short, you can trust it will be handled.  

Peace of mind from knowing everything is handled and taken care of can be priceless.  With some things seemingly changing on the fly, it is good to be able to trust someone who who knows the latest developments, rules and if there any special promotions that can help get you more value for your money, which may include free breakfast, room upgrades, hotel credits and more!

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