March 2021 marked the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 world-wide pandemic and the lock-downs that followed as a result. The future of travel became questionable over time. What we thought would be a few weeks or months to flatten the curve turned into a year of uncertainty and significant changes to how we live life.
Now we’re in the early months of 2021, filled with hope and anticipation that things will continue to get better. After a year of something that felt like hibernation and isolation, people are looking forward to getting out more again, and particularly travel! So what does the future of travel look like compared to 2020? Let’s take a look at what we can expect for traveling in the U.S. and abroad.
The Future of Travel Predictions
What we learned in 2020 is how to live life with uncertainty, be flexible, and know that the plans we make may need to get canceled at the last minute. While we can expect this to continue into 2021, the good news is that experts are optimistic about travel in 2021. Experts also believe that the worst is over. As more people get one of the various COVID-19 vaccinations, confidence in travel is likely to occur. Here are some of the 2021 travel predictions to be on the lookout for when making travel plans this year:
Road trips will continue to be a popular choice.
As we ease into a return to normal, many people may still not feel comfortable flying or traveling out of the country. International travel will ease back slowly as other countries continue to open their borders. Many will still stay fairly close to home or do “staycations.” But more people will venture further away from home and travel to destinations within the U.S. that they may have put off before, such as seeing the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone National Park. Travelers will continue to explore destinations where they can enjoy the great outdoors with space to move around without crowds. However, since 2020 caused an increase in popularity for National Parks and outdoor recreational activity, these destinations may be more crowded than usual.
Last-minute getaways will be a trend.
People are cautious of booking vacations too far in advance because the pandemic trends could cause more travel restrictions if there are sudden spikes in the numbers of cases of the virus or various state mandates come into factor. The spontaneous last-minute trip will provide a chance to get away when people feel it’s safest to head out to that destination they were considering. Flexibility is a must for traveling in 2021, and travel providers are taking note of this. Expect to see offers that ease cancellation fees and restrictions as one of the trends this year. Some popular airlines waived cancellation fees in 2020, which may be extended through 2021 as a way to get passengers filling up the flights again.
You may need certain travel documents.
According to AARP’s 2021 travel predictions, you may require proof of vaccination or evidence of a recent COVID-19 test that shows you are virus-free before you are permitted to board your flight or to board a cruise ship.
Touchless technology options will increase.
Fortunately, there’s an app for almost everything. Online payments and digital check-ins for flights and hotels have grown. This allows people to keep their hands-off germ-collecting consoles and exchange of cash or credit cards.
New safety measures will be coming to cruise ships.
According to AARP, cruise ships are working to make cruising safe again. Changes such as smaller cruise lines with fewer passengers, shorter cruise itineraries, and possible vaccine requirements are being considered. Safety measures such as increased air ventilation and sanitation will reassure passengers and keep the viral spread down.
Travel Agents Will Be A Valuable Resource
2020 showed us how valuable travel agencies could be. Not only can they find the best deals and make all of the bookings for you, but they will be the most knowledgeable when it comes to changing travel restrictions and requirements. They can also handle any cancellations and rescheduling that may come up as we continue to work around the pandemic.
Be Open To Doing Things Differently
Overall, 2020 has taught us that we can adapt to change. Keeping a positive attitude helps with all of the adjustments. Spring break may look a bit different this year. Business travel may require some adjustments; however, it will go on. As we look back on 2020, many heartwarming stories of unexpected blessings came out of the pandemic. In 2021, we can expect more of those unexpected blessings if we keep an attitude of gratitude.
Those unexpected blessings brought about many positive changes, such as changing jobs or starting a business. Perhaps you are considering packing up and investing in real estate closer to the family so you can travel less. Being apart from family during a pandemic has made us realize how important family is. Expect 2021 to be the year of the grand reunion, where gathering with family and friends again will be celebrated and appreciated even more.