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Enhanced sanitation protocols and relaxed policies are here to stay, as well as an increase in contactless check-in, mobile check-ins. Globe Aware is here to assist you when planning your volunteer vacation, with our updated policies and flexible booking.


 Here’s what post-pandemic travel might look like

MAR 30 2021
Kenneth Kiesnoski

  • After a year of pandemic-induced lockdowns, Americans are looking to travel again as vaccinations against Covid become more widely available.
  • Much has changed since last spring, and travel suppliers say many changes — for better or worse — are here to stay.

Many Americans are thinking of travel again.

And who can blame them? After all, it’s been more than a year of seesawing coronavirus infection rates, on-again, off-again lockdown restrictions, and simple quarantine fatigue.

As Covid-19 vaccination efforts gather steam nationwide, tourism suppliers are tracking increased interest, and even business, in vacations departing as early as this spring. Many aspects of the travel experience, however, have changed and may become permanent — for better or worse.

“We’re increasingly seeing people optimistic about traveling, either as soon as this spring or into the summer,” said Jeff Hurst, president of online vacation home rental site Vrbo in Austin, Texas, and marketing co-lead at parent company Expedia Group.

travel

“What’s encouraging is that people are essentially putting their money where their mouth is and booking that trip,” he said.

A recent Vrbo survey of 8,000-plus people found that 65% of Americans plan on traveling more in 2021 than they did pre-Covid.

A March survey of 535 adults by website The Vacationer found that once the pandemic is “officially” over, a quarter of people plan to travel more, while just over 58% will return to pre-Covid travel habits. The same study found that 67.72% of respondents plan to travel this summer.

Expedia Group’s 2021 Travel Trends Report, conducted in December, found that 46% of people said they’d be more likely to travel when a vaccine became widely available. By Wednesday, nine states will offer all their residents vaccinations, and President Joe Biden wants to make every U.S. adult eligible for vaccination by May 1.

Jon Grutzner, president of Insight Vacations and Luxury Gold — two high-end guided vacation brands owned by Cypress, California-based The Travel Corporation — said that “as the vaccine rollout continues to evolve, we’ve seen a dramatic uptick in our bookings.”

Reservations are now coming in for Q3 and Q4 of this year. “But it’s 2022 that is going to be a record year, I think, for all folks,” Grutzner said.

Air travel is surging, CNBC has reported, and both short- and long-term hotel bookings are beginning to recover, according to Nicholas Ward, president and co-founder of Koddi, a Fort Worth, Texas-based travel booking technology company.

Ward said he sees increased vaccination rates, more travel demand and good travel sentiment data as pointing to “the possibility of a great summer period, even if we don’t fully recover in 2021.”

While demand for traditional hotel accommodations remains down about 13% from last year and 20% vs. 2019, “that’s the least it’s been down for in some time,” he said. “We’re seeing things generally going in the right direction from a travel demand perspective and continuing to improve week on week.”

For all that, industry executives don’t see a return to the pre-pandemic status quo. There’s a new travel normal, they say, for better or worse.

“I don’t think there will be a future year that feels normal in the context of the past,” said Vrbo’s Hurst. “I’m not really not planning that way, and I’m not sure consumers are, either.”

James Ferrara, co-founder and president of Delray Beach, Florida-based InteleTravel — a network of some 60,000 home-based travel advisors — agreed.

“We’ll never return to what the industry looked like pre-pandemic, nor should we,” he said. “We have grown through the last year, we’ve learned some stuff — and so have consumers.

Ferrara said some changes, such as continued masking or cruise ships sailing at half capacity, will only be temporary, while others — like enhanced sanitation protocols and relaxed cancellation and rebooking policies from airlines and other travel suppliers — are here to stay. “This looks like a long-term change to me, and I think that’s excellent business for everyone.”

Koddi’s Ward agreed and predicted that the safe and “frictionless” check-in protocols that hotels, resorts and other accommodations instituted during the pandemic represent a sea change, with suppliers focused on upgrading technology such as smartphone apps.

“We’re seeing contactless check-in, mobile check-ins, really pick up quite significantly,” he said. “It’s a net win for consumers and really can for hotels, as well.

“They’re looking to operate — and in many cases have to operate — much more efficiently,” said Ward, noting it will take some time for accommodation staffing levels to rebound, so tech shortcuts are crucial.

Speaking of staff, Ferrara said the silver lining to the pandemic for travel advisors — or travel agents, as they were once more commonly known — was that it proved their worth to consumers. A profession that has suffered repeated blows, from commission cuts to the rise of online booking engines, since the turn of the century finally got to prove it has the right stuff when Covid hit and vacations were scrubbed en masse.

“Here we are a year later, and we’re seeing some customers still struggle to get their refunds,” said Ferrara. “A professional travel advisor would do all that work for you and often at no cost.”

When he founded InteleTravel in the early 1990s, the credibility of travel advisors “fell somewhere around used car salesmen,” Ferrara said. But “consumers have learned the value of a professional travel advisor, particularly when things don’t go the way they want them to go.”

“In my career, which is over 30 years now, I’ve never seen interest and confidence in travel agents as high as it is now,” he added, noting he has seen surveys showing that two-thirds of prospective travelers plan to use a travel advisor for future trips.

Where are they headed?

Vrbo’s Top 5 Drivable U.S. Destinations for 2021

  • Broken Bow, Oklahoma
  • Boone, North Carolina
  • Naples, Florida
  • Miramar & Rosemary Beach, Florida
  • Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
  • Source: The 2021 Vrbo Trend Report

Look for continued interest in domestic travel, beach vacations, vacation home rentals and “bleisure” trips mixing business travel and vacations — all trends that took hold or took off during the pandemic. Another is the road trip.

In a recent survey by Erie Insurance, 51.2% of respondents said they plan on taking at least one road trip in their own vehicle this year, while another 30% would like to but say it depends on the state of the pandemic. Of those who will travel, 55% plan to drive more than 500 miles from home.

Hurst at Vrbo says local, drive-to travel is here to stay. “The wanderlust to explore what’s close by, you know, has in particular for the younger generations potentially durable benefits,” he said. “You’re not going to be in the air as much.

“It is a different type of economically sustainable travel, and that you can invest more in local communities and things you might feel a different type of connectiveness to.”

Grutzner agreed that “travel with a purpose” is in. “We’re getting more questions now about what our company does to give back.” (All 40 The Travel Corporation brands collectively founded TreadRight Foundation, which supports 50 projects worldwide dedicated to sustainable tourism and community and environmental support.)

Grutzner also expects a resurgence of interest in escorted vacations, or group tours, although travelers may now prefer smaller contingents.

“We’re careful and very selective about hotels we stay in, the restaurants where we eat and the places that we go, so that we’re not putting our guests in danger,” he said, adding that Insight’s average tour includes fewer than 24 participants and Luxury Gold’s, under 20. “I do believe this will be more and more something that people will seek out.”

Something they’ll also look for — or be required to have — is travel insurance, especially for medical care outside U.S. borders. Grutzner said 85% of clients now buy insurance, compared with 40% to 45% pre-Covid.

“I can tell you that everyone should add travel insurance to every transaction,” said Ferrara, noting that travel suppliers relaxing change penalties does not mean vacationers don’t have to worry. “You do have to worry about being airlifted somewhere you trust the medical services,” he said. “And those bills — I’ve seen people put through claims for a quarter of a million dollars.”

While today’s travelers will largely be vaccinated and insured, the travel sector itself will end up healthier than it was pre-pandemic, Hurst said.

“We’ll have a new muscle as it relates to … how … we deal with hopefully a much more minor version of this in the future,” he said. “I think we’re all more prepared … so I’m optimistic that future such events are both smaller and less disruptive.”

TSA officials announced over 1.5 million passengers passed through airport security this last Sunday, marking the first time the milestone was reached since March 2020. Globe Aware has also seen an increase in bookings and travel amongst it's volunteers, signaling a demand for travel.


 

Air Travel Continues Rebound as TSA Surpasses 1.5 Million Screened Passengers

AIRLINES & AIRPORTS
DONALD WOOD
MARCH 23, 2021

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials announced over 1.5 million passengers passed through airport security on Sunday, marking the first time the milestone was reached since March 2020.

According to Reuters.com, TSA officials revealed they screened 1.54 million people Sunday, the highest single total since March 13, 2020, and the 11th consecutive day screening volume exceeded one million passengers per day.

airplane3

Despite the surge in travelers at American airports, air travel in the United States was still down on Sunday by about 30 percent compared to pre-COVID 19 levels. While domestic flights are starting to rebound, international and business demand remains weak.

As a result of the spike in domestic travel, U.S. airline executives expressed optimism last week over further increases in demand this summer. Officials also acknowledged that financial losses were declining, as United Airlines revealed it would halt its cash burn in March.

Air travel was down 60 percent in 2020, but demand and advanced bookings have shown positive signs for the future, thanks in part to the successful launch of COVID-19 vaccination centers across the country.

Thailand cautiously reopened its borders in October 2020 and is further relaxing restrictions starting in April 2021. Further details of Thailand’s Covid protection measures will be announced and shared by Globe Aware to it's volunteers.


 

Thailand Easing Covid Travel Restrictions In April

Johanna Read Contributor
Travel

Thailand, one of the few countries known for successfully managing the Covid pandemic, cautiously reopened its borders in October 2020 and is further relaxing restrictions starting in April 2021.

By the time the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gives the green light for international travel to resume, further details of Thailand’s Covid protection measures should be available. Travelers can once again enjoy the Land of Smiles, even if smiles still need to be covered by masks for now.

Further relaxation of Thailand’s Covid rules as of April 1, 2021

Thailand has begun vaccinating its citizens and, as of April 1, the popular tourism country is lifting some of its Covid restrictions. As of that date, Thailand’s strict 14-day quarantine will be relaxed to ten days for most travelers. An exception is travelers from countries with virus variants of concern—those quarantines remain at 14 days.

To help ensure the safety of Thais and fellow travelers, people arriving in Thailand will receive two Covid tests during their quarantine period, one between days three and five of arrival and another between days nine and ten. Thailand’s “Fit to Fly” health certificate is no longer required, but people arriving in Thailand still need to present confirmation of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours.

thailand travel

Even more easing of restrictions to come?

Details are still being confirmed, but The Guardian also reported that travelers who test negative after three days may be allowed to leave their quarantine hotel room under certain conditions.

As well, Reuters reported that travelers who have been vaccinated within the most recent three months may be able to have their quarantine period reduced from 10 days to seven. However, other news outlets say that this decision is yet to be confirmed. As clinical trials show how long Covid vaccines provide immunity and how they behave against the new variants of concern, the three-month restriction may no longer apply.

October goal for quarantine-free travel

Thailand hopes to have 70% of its high-risk groups vaccinated by October 2021, to allow further relaxation of travel rules by then—perhaps even quarantine-free travel—Reuters reported.

The Independent reported that the first provinces to be open for international tourists are the capital, Bangkok; Chiang Mai in the north; the popular resort island of Phuket; Surat Thani—known as the “province of a thousand islands”—which includes Ko Samui and Ko Tao; and the province of Chonburi, which is on the Gulf of Thailand about 50 miles from Bangkok.

The doors are more fully opening for tourists to indulge in Thailand’s excellent cuisine, enjoy its sandy beaches, and explore the country’s vibrant history and culture.

Thailand fully reopened by January 2022?

Plans are underway for tourists to be able to visit Thailand’s most popular areas without needing to quarantine by October 2021. Thailand aims to reopen completely by January 2022.

Crucial to the safe reopening of all countries is distribution of Covid vaccines worldwide as soon as possible. As well, conclusive evidence is needed that vaccines are as effective at protecting against transmitting the virus as they are protecting against serious illness and death. Clinical trials are underway now, with results expected in autumn 2021 and early 2022.

Until then, where are you planning to visit during your Thailand vacation?

Friday, 19 March 2021 15:12

Tips for traveling during the pandemic

You may be considering a trip abroad this spring break or other future travel plans. Globe Aware recommends you check out this short list for safe and smart traveling tips before you travel!


Safe and smart traveling tips during the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of life and that includes travel. As vaccinations are administered and positive cases begin to drop, you may be considering that spring break trip or other travel plans. The question remains: how do you travel safely?

Edyta Satchell answers that very questions with advice on how to pack, getting through the airport, and more.

Smart packing– the travel wellness starts before your leave the house. New items to pack are multiple face-covering masks, sanitizing wipes, body thermometers, and plastic bags for food.

Check the rules and restrictions – for all travel suppliers (airlines, hotels, car rentals), all your trip destinations, border crossing to and from the US (effective January 26th travelers returning to the US must present a negative Covid test document.)

Going through airport security – remove food from your hand luggage, and opt-in for TSA Pre-Check.

Contamination zones awareness – at every step of your trip the moment you leave the house, in the taxi, on the plane or train, in the metro. The zones are the same: anything in front of you, anything behind you, anything above you, windows, and doors.

Travel Insurance – additional coverage is a must and it should include additional coverage in the event of a global pandemic to avoid any penalties or cancellation fees.

Sunday, 07 March 2021 10:56

Spring Break travel numbers increase

Spring break is one of the busiest times of the year for travel and after a year of stay-at-home orders, travel experts are optimistic for travel to pick back up. Globe Aware offers one-week volunteer vacations, with the perfect itinerary to make the most of your spring break! 


Local travel agents and airport leaders see an uptick in Spring Break travel

By Nina McFarlane
Mar 7, 2021

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – Spring break is one of the busiest times of the year for travel and after a year of stay-at-home orders, travel experts are optimistic for travel to pick back up.

For some, spring break is a week spent on vacation, but in March of 2020, many people canceled flights and refunded trips as the world prepared for lockdown and COVID-19 spread.

“I think it’s 1973, you have to go back to that year to see numbers this low,” said Peoria International Airport Director of Airports Gene Olson.

Now a year later as vaccinations roll out across the nation, Olson said he’s optimistic numbers will start to pick back up again.

“Hopefully there will be more than what we had in 2020. It’s not going to be hard to beat April’s tally of 3,000 passengers. I think the exact number was 2,928 so that one should be easy to beat,” said Olson.

Local travel agents say they’re already busy booking vacations. Peoria Charter Travel Agent Amanda Schott said the phone keeps ringing and people are ready to travel again but in the new normal.

“Even though the airlines are doing their job, I still bring my own sanitizing wipes and I am wiping down my seats, you know you can only really protect yourself. I’m not going to let his pandemic keep me away from doing the things that I love, but I am going to do it safely,” said Schott.

Olson said the airflow on planes is a common misconception.

“You know people think you’re jammed together on an airplane with other people and it’s the same air, well it’s not the airplane actually draws in outside air and they can control the rate that happens and so they have turned all those things up full so it’s exchanging air as much as possible,” said Olson.

Spring break aside, Olson said the biggest jump in travel numbers will happen once business travel picks back up again.

Digital health passports gain momentum in being likely crucial as the travel industry rebounds. Globe Aware will assist all volunteers in understanding what will be expected in preparation for your volunteer vacation.


5 things to know about IATA’s Travel Pass app right now

Victoria M. Walker
Feb 26, 2021

If you’ve been plugged into travel news during the pandemic, you’ve probably heard the term “vaccine passport” or “immunity passport” more than once. After all, these digital health passports will likely be a crucial part of the travel industry as it rebounds.

Right now, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides a physical vaccination card that tells you key facts about your inoculation, including the date you received the vaccine and the type you received.

But the industry is searching for ways to convert this information into a digital health passport you could display on your phone. In addition to details about the COVID-19 vaccine, it could track and organize other pieces of health information too, such as recent coronavirus test results and other inoculations needed for travel, such as the yellow fever vaccine.

Many people have questions about digital health passports and how they will play a role in travel.

To find out more about what digital health passports might look like, TPG spoke with Nick Careen, a senior vice president at the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the trade association of airlines around the world. IATA is developing a Travel Pass app that will host both verified COVID-19 test results and vaccine information.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

What is the IATA Travel Pass and how will it work?
Careen: What the Travel Pass is designed to do is to digitize [paper COVID-19 results], so instead of having to show up at the airport with your piece of paper and queue up in a line and wait for someone to validate it, and then subsequently get through a check-in process and then onboard an aircraft, we’re proposing that you would be able to do that electronically. It’s digitizing an existing manual process as it stands today.

Can the app be standardized?
Careen: There is no standard in place in terms of what the key elements of a certificate would look like nor even the digitalization of a certificate … from one country to another, and no one is following any level of consistency whatsoever.

The first step is to work with our two regulators. And that is ongoing work. That is anticipated to come to completion at some point between now and May, where the World Health Organization (WHO) will, hopefully, at that point, have settled on a digital version of what a health vaccination certificate would need to look like for COVID-19.

What if you’ve already been vaccinated?
Careen: We’re going to need to have processes in place that would allow consumers to upload their current vaccination status. That may take multiple forms that could be an [optical character recognition that] formats pictures or PDF files. Those types of things will need to be incorporated into the app to [accommodate] those who have been vaccinated prior to a standard being released.

How will the app weed out fake COVID-19 results or vaccine certificates?
Careen: Given the variations [of COVID-19 test results and vaccine certificates] out there and the way it’s being dealt with [using] a piece of paper, it’s difficult. It’s very difficult to ask any normal check-in agent in an airline environment to validate what’s real and what isn’t. We simply don’t have that capability, and we do our best to train them as much as possible [about] things to look for, but it is wrought with risk.

There needs to be a certified list of registered labs to issue that [testing] certificate. That [certificate] would need to be matched against your digital identity and the app that makes it foolproof. [Your results] would reside on your app as a verifiable credential, and that would eliminate the issues around fraudulent testing. Subsequently, when we get to the vaccination piece, it would work the same way.

How will travelers add information to the app?
Careen: In this case, what we’re thinking is you would take a picture or a scan of that particular credential, which would, in this case, be a CDC vaccination card with your name on it. We would need to verify that against your digital credential that has been created in the app to make sure that the content is accurate because we don’t want to have a situation where we’ve created a case where someone has a fake card that’s uploaded.

There has to be some verification in the background that we would interrogate against your name and location to ensure that the certificate was valid. But again, we don’t set those standards — the government does.

Victoria M. Walker covers travel deep-dives and features. She previously taught multimedia journalism at Howard University and was the breaking news video editor at The Washington Post.

Some countries have said they’ll allow international travellers to enter without negative coronavirus tests or having to quarantine – once they’ve had the Covid vaccination. Here’s what you need to know


WHICH COUNTRIES ARE OPEN TO VACCINATED TRAVELLERS?

By ABIGAIL MALBON
February 26 2021


The UK is currently in lockdown, meaning international travel isn’t currently allowed. However, following the announcement of the planned road map by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday 22 February, it seems UK staycations are looking more likely by Monday 12 April, while overseas breaks may be permitted from Monday 17 May at the earliest. Read 'When will we travel?' for all the latest information. And in more good news, some countries have said they’ll allow travellers to enter once they’ve been vaccinated, something the UK is hoping to achieve for the entire adult population by autumn 2021.

While the UK government has not yet 100 per cent confirmed whether vaccine passports will go ahead, these are the countries that have said they will welcome travellers, potentially without a negative Covid-19 test or having to quaratine upon arrival if they have official proof of having had a coronavirus vaccine, or, in some places, if passengers have evidence that they have recently had and recovered from the virus, and therefore still have the necessary antibodies in their system.

ESTONIA

The Estonian ministry has confirmed the country will welcome travellers in these circumstances: ‘From 1 February, 10-day self-isolation and Covid-19 testing are not mandatory for individuals, including those arriving from the UK or a third country, who either have suffered from Covid-19 and no more than six months have passed since they have been declared cured, or who have undergone Covid-19 vaccination and no more than six months have passed since its completion.’

Where to stay: The unique capital, Tallinn, shimmers in beautiful Northern light and can be both endearingly shabby and stunningly attractive. The Three Sisters Hotel was Tallinn's first contemporary-style hotel, and is housed in three adjacent 14th-century buildings, the so-called 'sisters'.

What to do: A morning can easily be spent wandering through the old town, visiting the Town Hall and Upper Town for a special view of the majestic city. Follow this up with a visit to the National Art Museum, which houses an impressive 59,000 items, many of which are on show in the 18th-century noble's house.

THE SEYCHELLES

The Seychelles is planning to remove all quarantine requirements for those who have had a Covid vaccine. However, a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of travelling will still need to be shown.

Where to stay: The nation of 115 islands has plenty of choice, but the Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island is a firm favourite. Alternatively, check out more of the most beautiful places to stay in the Seychelles.

What to do: Explore a few of the islands to make the most out of your trip. Getting around is relatively easy thanks to inter-island plane transfers.

CYPRUS

The UK is not currently in the green category, meaning the new rules don’t apply for Cyprus yet. However, it is expected that we will be included once infection rates drop. The Minister of Transport for Cyprus, Yiannis Karousos commented: ‘The amended action plan is expected to further boost the interest of airline companies to carry out additional flights to Cyprus, improve connectivity and increase passenger traffic.’

Where to stay: Sumptuous scenery is pretty much guaranteed wherever you choose to stay in Cyprus, although Paphos stands out thanks to its ancient ruins and stunning harbour. Stay at Almyra design hotel for top-notch food: the chef is a Nobu alumnus.

What to do: A visit to Paphos' ancient ruins is a must, but we'd recommend hiring a car and driving north of the island for some of the dreamiest beaches.

ICELAND

Covid measures for travellers to Iceland include testing and quarantine, but it’s expected that people who can prove they have had a vaccine will be able to bypass this from Saturday 1 May 2021. Authorities are also accepting certificates proving previous Covid infection, enabling those with antibodies to be exempt from testing or quarantine requirements.

Where to stay: Most head to Reykjavik for its café culture, boutiques and world-class bars. For a particularly special trip, book into The Retreat – a 62-suite spa hotel in a private extension of the famous Blue Lagoon.

What to do: A bucket-list blitz, of course: see the Northern Lights, swim in the Blue Lagoon and go on a whale tour. For something a little more unusual, horseback riding in the cold, open air is equally as memorable.

ROMANIA

Arrivals into Romania will not need to quarantine, provided they can show proof of two Covid vaccinations, the second dose having been given more than 10 days before travel.

Where to stay: Transylvania is a glorious throwback to go-slow, rural living, filled with 12th-century buildings and Gothic castles, horse-drawn carts, brown bears roaming the mountains and farmers busily ploughing fields. There's also some excitingly fresh places to stay there too, thanks to Bethlen Estates.

What to do: Take a trip to the Carpathian Mountains to see Bran Castle – also known as Dracula's Castle, due to its similarity to the fortress described in Bram Stoker's novel. Or choose to explore one of the many, many other beautiful places in Romania.

LEBANON

In Lebanon travellers will be able to skip longer quarantine measures as long as they have a negative PCR test taken 96 hours before flying. Upon arrival, they are then required to take another test and quarantine for 72 hours.

GEORGIA

As of Monday 1 February 2021, all international tourists can enter Georgia (the country, not the American state) as long as they can prove that they have had both doses of a coronavirus vaccine.

POLAND

The 10-day quarantine requirement for those travelling to Poland will be lifted for anyone who has been fully vaccinated. You will need to have a Covid test issued within 48 hours before arrival, but both PCR and antigen tests will be accepted.

WHICH COUNTRIES ARE RUMOURED TO BE CONSIDERING LETTING IN VACCINATED TRAVELLERS?

Greece is said to be considering allowing tourists to enter the country. This would mean the country would be breaking from the European Union, which is pushing for a cautious approach to reopening for non-essential travel from outside the bloc. However, Greece has already forged a ‘vaccine bubble’ agreement with Israel and Cyprus, which means it's feasible that the process could be applied to UK travellers, too.

Spain is also reportedly considering allowing British travellers to visit if they have had a Covid vaccine. In late February, the country’s tourism chief said travel could return as soon as summer, although this has not been confirmed by the UK government.

More than 80% of folks surveyed by Trivago somewhat or strongly agreed that travel is a part of a well-rounded life, and most felt that being prevented from travelling freely is one of the worst aspects of the pandemic. Globe Aware staff and volunteers also know that meaningful travel brings about a positive impact to the locations traveled.


 

Trivago poll shows how freedom to travel is vital for people’s sense of wellbeing

By Lee Hayhurst
Feb 19, 2021

Latest polling of British travellers by hotel price comparison site Trivago has found that being unable to travel is one of the worst aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In January, Trivago asked 1,000 adults for their opinions as part of a wider survey that also looked at the opinions of US travellers.

More than 80% of Brits surveyed somewhat or strongly agreed that travel is a part of a well-rounded life.

Most felt that being prevented from travelling freely is one of the worst aspects of the pandemic (82%) and that because of the pandemic this is the most they’ve ever felt like traveling (61%).

The survey also found that people’s definition of what constitutes a dream holiday has changed.

Trivago said the typical idea of a big trip is becoming obsolete with travel restrictions and the ability to plan ahead all but impossible.

In addition, the isolation and distance of lockdowns has “changed the dynamic of dream vacations as we think of them”, the site said.

The top choice for Brits for their dream holiday was the chance to spend “time with the family and friends I’ve missed” (34%), particularly among older respondents (47%).

Asked about their first trip after the pandemic, most said it makes them feel “excited” (U54%) and/or “happy” (52%).

And 25% of both Britons said they’d give up all their savings to do it now, and around two-fifths (40%) even said they’d give up sex for a year to get away now.

One in five said they would give up their partner to travel now and nearly half would give up their job (41%).

Trivago said the study underlines how emotional wellbeing is another driver for travel and the need to get away.

When they do travel, respondents said they are likely to incorporate new interests with more than half (56%) of Brtis saying they have picked up a new hobby since the start of the pandemic.

The vast majority of those (64%) think it is at least somewhat likely they’ll pick a holiday connected to the new hobby once the pandemic ends.

Trivago said: “Given all this, a travel boom post-pandemic is likely as consumers strive to make up for lost time.

“Overall, travelling again is inevitable. More than four in five of the respondents (87%) see travel as fundamental to a good life and two-thirds or more (66%) say they plan to travel even more than they have in the past once the pandemic ends.

To help with this desire to a break, Trivago is poised to launch a tool for inspiring and booking options for local trips while international travel remains curtailed.

 

The pace of Covid-19 vaccinations, consumer confidence and 2022 travel bookings are ramping up. Globe Aware volunteers can feel optimistic about being able to vacation abroad this year.


 

Travel agencies, cruise lines and airlines gear up for rebound in bookings

"Many people are already actively planning their next big trip," said one travel expert. "And it is not too early to book for 2022, especially with trip protection."

Feb. 12, 2021
By Harriet Baskas

As the pace of Covid-19 vaccinations is ramping up, so is consumer confidence — and with it, a surge in travel bookings for later this year and for 2022.

"Many travelers are feeling optimistic that they will be able to vacation abroad this year. Many people are already actively planning their next big trip — even for trips more than four months out," said Shibani Walia, senior research analyst at Tripadvisor.

2020 was the worst year in history for air travel demand, according to the International Air Transport Association, with global passenger traffic falling more than 65 percent, compared to 2019. The hotel industry also tanked, surpassing 1 billion unsold room nights, according to hotel industry research firm STR. The story was much the same for cruises, attractions and tours, with the World Tourism Organization calling 2020 the worst year on record.

But now, with a comprehensive vaccine schedule and pent-up demand for leaving home, vacation planning and bookings are on the rise for late 2021, 2022 and beyond.

Spirit Airlines announced Thursday it would start training new pilots and flight attendants as of next month, in preparation for a spike in leisure travel.

“Vaccine deployment, lowering total Covid case numbers should lead to more confidence from the traveling public and a loosening of restrictions,” CEO Ted Christie said.

A recent Tripadvisor survey found that 80 percent of U.S. consumers planned to take at least one overnight domestic leisure trip in 2021, with just over one-third of respondents planning at least three domestic trips this year. Popular destinations such as Orlando are already seeing a hopeful booking rebound.

“The region expects 2021 spring break travel to mirror the Christmas and New Year holidays, when occupancy reached 50 percent," said Daryl Cronk, senior director of market research for Visit Orlando. “This would be a significant improvement over last year’s 12 percent, one of the lowest points of the year.”

Tripadvisor’s survey also found a lot of interest in international travel planning. Nearly half (47%) of all respondents said they are planning to travel internationally in 2021.

“Already, the majority of hotel clicks for trips taking place from May onwards are to international destinations,” Tripadvisor noted. “This is an early signal that travelers are feeling increasingly confident they will be able to travel abroad in 2021, at least in the back half of the year.”

Italy, France, Japan, Australia and Greece are at the top of most travelers' lists, said Misty Belles, managing director at Virtuoso travel network, citing customer planning.

Travelers are also eyeing cruises, a good sign for the many cruise lines that had to abandon entire sailing seasons.

“We’re seeing growing confidence from cruisers as vaccines begin to be distributed,” Colleen McDaniel, editor-in-chief at Cruise Critic, told NBC News. “Both because they see it as a step in the right direction for the return of travel, and because they’ll feel most comfortable sailing knowing that they — and their fellow passengers — have been vaccinated.”

Rich and Suzi McClear of Sitka, Alaska, whose 2020 Holland America Line world cruise was cut short due to the pandemic, are anxious to go back to sea. “We’re rebooked for a 2022 world cruise. We’re also booked for the 2023 world cruise, which we view as an insurance policy in case the 2022 does not go,” they said in an email.

Most travel companies now have flexible and more generous booking and cancellation policies, and prices are historically low. So, it can be a good time to book future trips.

Airfares, for example, are 20 percent lower compared to last year, said Adit Damodaran, economist for travel app Hopper. "Domestic airfare prices are expected to rise in mid-to-late March and gradually return to 2019 levels over the course of the year. And it is not too early to book for 2022, especially if you're booking with trip protection or flexible booking options.”

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