Around this time of year, everyone is typically anticipating the start of summer and planning their summer vacations. There is so much to look ahead to, like warm weather, beaches, and enjoying time away from school or work. With the recent Coronavirus outbreak, the world as we know it has come to a screeching halt. Schools are closed, remote work is now considered the new normal, graduations and weddings are postponed, and travel/tourism has taken a severe hit to its industry, leaving people confined their homes and anxious to plan their next post quarantine vacation.
The tourism/travel industry is one of the highest-earning industries, but due to restrictions and overall fear of the pandemic, the tourism industry is facing losses at a significant level. The World Travel and Tourism Council, which is the trade group that represents several global travel companies, projects a global loss of 75 million jobs and $2.1 trillion in revenue, according to Elizabeth Becker of National Geographic. The losses have to be measured daily, due to the severity that the virus poses on a day-to-day basis.
The onset of the virus couldn’t have come at a worse time, according to Isabel Hill, director of the Commerce Department’s National Tourism Office. She says, “This is the worst time of the year for this to happen. This is the season-spring and summer- when the travel and tourism [industry] makes a significant amount of [its] revenue.” Because of the travel restrictions, prices for travel and tourism have dropped, leaving many eager to book their next vacation.
Are you coming out of your skin while in quarantine? Dreaming of better days when you can escape from daily life and enjoy a vacation? Here are some tips you can use to start planning your next trip!
Take Advice from the CDC and WHO
The CDC/WHO do not typically issue restrictions for travel, however, for your safety as well as the safety of others, its important and necessary to take the advice both organizations offer regarding travel during a pandemic. In the US, the CDC notes that crowded travel settings, like airports, can increase the chances of getting the coronavirus, so it is up to you to evaluate your situation before you travel. Right now, the Department of State has travel bans from Iran, as well as raised travel advisories to level four for countries like Italy and South Korea. If travel isn’t necessary at the moment, consider booking out a few months.
Plan at least 6 Months in Advance
At this point in time, no one has a true estimate of when the outbreak will end and normal life will resume, as the spread and number of those affected are changing every day. Bill Gates, who has been hinting an outbreak of this nature, estimates that Americans may not be ‘completely safe’ from the virus for quite some time, perhaps even into 2021. That being said, when you are looking to plan for travel, plan at least 6 months in advance to have a decent cushion for cancellation if travel is still affected by then. Keep up with the regular news to inform yourself about travel restrictions and government recommendations.
Consider Traveling to a Place that Hasn’t Been Affected Severely
There are several countries that are being significantly impacted by the virus over others. Popular travel destinations like Italy, Spain, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom all have a large number of cases and fatalities from the virus, which means that travel to these countries is out of the picture. When planning for your trip, look into countries that have a low amount of cases, such as destinations in the Caribbean, different parts of Asia or South America. Do your research and make the smartest decision about which country to travel to.
As with all travel situations, it is in your best interest to compare prices to save as much as you can. As of last month, before the spike of cases in the United Staes, travel sites like Expedia and companies like Frontier Airlines had airfare prices nearly halved. Look into different sites and compare travel prices, even in different methods, like the train. We can most likely expect the prices to be low for a while, as people will be hesitant and fearful to travel again after the virus slows down or goes away.
Consider Virtual Travel
Though it doesn’t sound the most fun, a way to get out of your normal routine at home and have some fun is to do some virtual traveling! What is virtual traveling? An activity where people ‘virtually visit’ different places through a series of videos intended to highlight some of the best a place has to offer. Virtual vacation website VRBO has a collection of virtual vacation spots from around the world. The tours include the Lourve in Paris, the San Diego Zoo, Maui beaches, and even the Great Wall of China! States like Florida and Michigan also have sites dedicated to different tourist spots for people looking to virtually visit those places.
Though this difficult time is discouraging for many of us, there are always things to look forward to and be grateful for. Even if the ability to travel isn’t available now, there are small ways to enjoy the time home or even start planning for your next big trip in the near future.