Travel Tips

When Will We Be Ready to Travel Again?

Let’s face it. The past few months have been rough on all of us. First there was the quarantine. Then there was the terrible murder of George Floyd and the subsequent protests, some of which turned to riots.

When Will We Be Ready to Travel Again?

They say bad things come in threes, so what terrible thing is going to happen next?

Fortunately, that saying about threes is complete rubbish. We all want life to get back to some semblance of normal. But I think nowhere is this more apparent than in those of us who love to travel.

Or maybe that’s just my bias.

But it has me asking, when will we be ready to start traveling again?

Step 1 – Short Day Trips

Honestly, I think the first step is already here. Many of us are venturing out of our homes again, dining in restaurants – even if it’s at 25-75% capacity. We’re shopping again. That’s the first step, just getting back out there.

And for many of us, day trips feel perfectly fine now. They do for me. I’m not worried about packing my family into our car, and driving a few hours away to spend time enjoying an activity we love. Sure, some activities are better suited than others right now; I’ll go to the beach or on a hike, but I wouldn’t go to a theme park, even with social distancing measures in place.

But even this is a significant change from late March, where “traveling” meant a walk to the mailbox, or standing in line hoping to buy toilet paper.

Step 2 – Overnight Road Trips

Although my family is not quite ready for a hotel just yet, I think this will be the next step for travelers.

A road trip is inherently safer in terms of exposure to germs, compared to airline travel. That’s because we’re likely traveling with family or close friends, not an airplane full of strangers. We can put down the windows for fresh air, rather than just recirculating germs for hours straight.

The risks are definitely less, but it’s the stops that still worry me. Rest area breaks and overnight hotel stays would be my biggest concerns. But restroom breaks can be mitigated by proper handwashing, and overnight stays could be done by camping or staying with friends and family along your route, if possible. There’s still some exposure to people outside your household, but it’s a lot less than even you would find if staying in a hotel.

What does this mean for my family? Probably drives to see the grandparents, assuming they are ready to have us visit. If not, then maybe we will rent an RV and go somewhere interesting.

Step 3 – Domestic Airline Travel

I think going from step 2 to step 3 is going to be a much bigger jump. I don’t know if you’re like me, but I have a tendency to catch a little cold almost every time I fly somewhere. I don’t care how many Airborne gummies I munch, or how much hand sanitizer I use, I’m just going to pick up some small illness.

Then again, I’ve never flown with a mask. Maybe that helps. I certainly don’t know – we as humanity can’t even agree if we should wear masks while running errands!

But domestic travel generally has three advantages over flying internationally: First, the duration of your flight is shorter, meaning less exposure to other people. Second, you don’t need to clear customs, which saves you another point where you may have to spend a longer amount of time in close proximity to others. And third, presumably, you’re traveling with fewer people who live further away and may be carrying strains of any illness that you haven’t already built an immunity to.

I think, unless there’s a big second wave, that we’ll see this pick back up before the end of 2020. If nothing else, a lot of people are just tired of staying at home. They’d rather take a chance – while taking precautions of course – in order to keep living their lives. We’re not in denial, but we’re tired of feeling trapped by this virus.

Step 4 – International / Overseas Travel

This is the trickiest one, of course. Many countries have closed their borders, making international travel impossible. But as they slowly reopen them, I still see many professional travel bloggers and writers saying they don’t intend to travel internationally for several months at least.

And to me, this means “in several months I’ll review my thoughts”, because none of us really knows how things will have changed before the end of the year. I doubt anyone things that they’ll travel in, say, November because come hell or high water, they’re by golly going to Indonesia.

Personally, I’m also concerned about spending money to travel and then finding that I can’t do certain things I want because of restrictions. For example, say I could get to some particular country, but the sights to see are closed or limited and I don’t get to go inside. Or I can’t enjoy local cuisine because restaurants are restricted. I’d rather wait awhile and make sure I can enjoy my next vacation 100%. Know what I mean?

What About You?

So where do you currently fall on this spectrum? Are you ready to start traveling in any capacity?

What do you think it will take to make you feel comfortable traveling again? Do you want the number of cases? Would you want to wait until there’s a vaccine? Let us know your thoughts by dropping a comment below.

And until then, stay safe and stay healthy!

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20 Comments

  • Reply
    Rudy @ Backpack & Snorkel
    June 7, 2020 at 10:42 pm

    I agree,
    Step 1 is here already and 2 weeks ago we decided that this is how we are spending at least 1 day per week from now on. It is amazing how much there is to discover in the area we live in.
    Step 2: If you are in the US, you may not find any available RVs for rent anymore, because thousands of people have had the idea that this is a safer way to travel. So, I guess, Step 2 may need to wait for us until next year.
    Step 3: I am convinced that there will be a bad 2nd wave. So, I am not holding my breath on this. We have decided to not fly on vacation this year. I could imagine that, for us, Steps 2 and 3 may come at the same time.
    Step 4: I have so many international destinations on my list and I hope that some time next year taking the long international flights will be save again.

    • Reply
      Susan Petracco
      June 8, 2020 at 10:05 am

      Great input Rudy, and I had no idea about RVs not being available. I’m totally with you on Step 4. At least I have time to save some money for those travels, I guess.

  • Reply
    Carly-jo
    June 8, 2020 at 12:25 pm

    Ah this is the big question at the moment! For me, by the end of this year I would like to be able to travel domestically, but it would be a road trip and not a flight.

    Additionally, I imagine our local tourism industries will need plenty of support so I hope it will help with that also.

    I cannot imagine international travel for myself until next year.

    • Reply
      Susan Petracco
      June 9, 2020 at 9:02 am

      Thank you for sharing your insight. You and I seem to be of the same mind.

  • Reply
    Zarina
    June 9, 2020 at 3:44 am

    I live in the UK and despite the daily death rate hasn’t dropped much, they are slowly opening up businesses again. However, restaurants and other venues haven’t opened yet so there’s only so little public places you can go to. And considering the Covid situation here, I’m not too keen to get out yet either anyway. I’m hoping to be able to go on some UK road trips later this year though. I’ve been wanting to do so for the last years, but always opted for longer overseas trips so this would be a good time for it. However, I’m originally from the Netherlands and have all my friends and family there and would normally see them every 2-3 months. The last time I’ve been there was January, when I was there for a short trip for the funeral of my best friend so not the best memory either :-S However, UK visitors aren’t allowed in the Netherlands yet due to the high Covid rate so I’ll just have to wait…

    • Reply
      Susan Petracco
      June 9, 2020 at 9:02 am

      Oh no, I’m so sorry for your loss. And I’m sure it’s hard to be away from family when you are used to seeing them more often.

  • Reply
    Sandy N Vyjay
    June 9, 2020 at 5:11 am

    The world is going through one of the worst catastrophes in history. Hopefully, things should improve soon. Traveling is still a couple of months away. It would be starting with small private trips and day/road trips.

  • Reply
    Courtney in the Middle Seat
    June 9, 2020 at 9:13 am

    Hi, Susan – the burning question!!!

    I am also trying to figure out my own level of caution while not getting my hopes up. I live in NYC, so at this point day trips are still a bit risky. I must say, it is the first I am wishing I had a car! I am trying to plan with some friends to rent a house in Maine or PA for a week, so that is about it at the moment. I was really hoping to get in at least a trip to London before the end of the year, but we’ll see. As Rudy mentioned, if there is another wave that will really dismantle all plans.

    Another important factor for international travel that I am worried about is if I am taking a trip over a week (was planning 2 weeks in Hong Kong and maybe Singapore) what do I do if I am sick 1/2 way through? I don’t want to be stuck somewhere.

    Looking forward to hearing what others have to say.

    • Reply
      Susan Petracco
      June 9, 2020 at 9:22 am

      Courtney, that’s a really good point about getting sick while you’re overseas. I hadn’t even thought about that! I would NOT want to be involuntarily quarantined somewhere away from home.

  • Reply
    Smita
    June 9, 2020 at 11:07 am

    Agree with you that domestic travel with short trips is where it will be for several months for most of us. We have some great hikes in the Swiss mountains close to our home that we can walk to so we’re trying to make the most of them!

    • Reply
      Susan Petracco
      June 9, 2020 at 11:09 am

      That sounds wonderful! I live near the beach, which I love, but the only hiking anywhere in the vicinity is completely flat. I hope you enjoy yours!

  • Reply
    Josy A
    June 9, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    We’re similar to you. we have already gone for hikes (so had mini day trips) although we didn’t go far from home… I am happiest outdoors anyway.

    I would like to do a longer road trip in August, as long as we can…but I don’t have any plans for flying either domestically or internationally. We only have implied status for our visa at the moment (covid-19 closed all the biometric data centers) so we are in visa jail anyway… 🙁

    • Reply
      Susan Petracco
      June 9, 2020 at 1:42 pm

      “Visa jail” doesn’t sound like much fun! Yikes! Great that you’ve been out hiking though. That been most of my own excursions too, if you don’t count the grocery store.

  • Reply
    Sarah
    June 9, 2020 at 3:05 pm

    We still can’t even eat in restaurants in England so travelling anywhere still seems a long way off! We had our travel plans extremely disrupted and we had to cancel a lot so we would be very reluctant to travel while things are so uncertain. There is a risk that a country could change its rules very quickly like they did the first time round so as much as I would love to travel I know I won’t be for a while. We are very much taking it a week at a time and watching what happens as some countries start to open up.

    • Reply
      Susan Petracco
      June 9, 2020 at 3:23 pm

      Florida has opened restaurants and other establishments back up…and our cases have skyrocketed.

  • Reply
    Kevin | Caffeinated Excursions
    June 9, 2020 at 6:34 pm

    This is an interesting perspective. I bought airline tickets for Europe in August because they were so cheap and I’m aware that I may not be allowed or able to fly, and I may not get a refund. I think this is all dependent on if we see a fall resurgence. I’m really hoping not, and I have fingers crossed for a natural “burning out” of the virus where we can get back to normal even without a vaccine. I do think day trips with proper social distancing are a great way to get back into the spirit of traveling without putting anyone at high risk.

  • Reply
    Lydia
    June 10, 2020 at 5:19 am

    I agree with your steps. I’m still at step 1, doing day trips around my city to places that are open, or nature parks. I think it’ll be next year for me when I am comfortable doing international flights, for now I am focusing on my studies and saving up for my travel!

  • Reply
    Travel with Mei and Kerstin
    June 10, 2020 at 2:08 pm

    The borders within Europe are all opening up in a few days. and travel wirhin Europe will resume in end of June the latest. As much as we want to travel to faraway destinations, we will stay in Europe and will try to avoid flying. Road trips are probably OK.

  • Reply
    Anshul
    June 13, 2020 at 1:12 am

    I personally feel that I will not be able to travel before 2021 depending on how the second phase of this virus outbreak happens. It has been a learning experience and we all will have to unlearn about a lot of things about the ways we used to travel in the past.

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