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How Will Covid-19 Affect The Future Of Travel?

The travel and leisure industry has been one of the hardest hit by the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. With countries on lockdown, hotels, restaurants and bars all closed, and people confined to their homes, travelling for pleasure is no longer an option. But of course, it won’t always be this way. One day people will be able to travel freely again, and life will begin to return to normal (with holidays playing a huge part in that). But while people will travel again, it’s unlikely that things will go back to the way they were. In fact, you can be pretty certain that the future of travel looks very different. Below we’ll look at six ways in which Covid-19 has changed the travel and leisure industries and what this means for us all in years to come.

There will be less international travel

We may still be in lockdown, but people are already beginning to plan their next staycation. Given how quickly the virus was able to spread from country to country through travel, many will be reluctant to make these journeys for a while. It will feel much safer travelling closer to home not only to reduce the risk of getting ill but also being close to home should something like this ever happen again. And while Covid-19 has caused havoc across the world, it has also brought people closer together and encouraged them to help each other out more. Part of this includes putting money back into local businesses and this has seen many keen travellers pledging to spend time more holidaying in their home country before deciding to travel abroad. As a result, it’s likely that the number of those travelling internationally will see a drop, at least in the first year or so of recovery.

Queues at immigration will be bigger

Some countries have already begun putting new measures in place at airports because as soon as they have got a hold of this virus they don't want outside threats bringing the disease back into their recovering nation. But the likelihood is that this will be something we see for years to come, with many airports strengthening their immigration systems. In fact, it’s likely that new rules will require people to prove which countries they’ve been to recently, with those that were hit hardest by Covid-19 raising the biggest flags (for example, being wary of those who have travelled from China or Italy). And for the foreseeable future, there will continue to be testing at airports. These are usually done by taking the temperature of those who are travelling. Not only this, but in future there could even be more advanced testing to help identify anyone with symptoms of this virus or similar illnesses. These could cause longer queues at immigration and throughout airports in general.

You might need more than a passport

Showing your passport at the airport may no longer be enough to guarantee you entry to a country. Many nations will require travellers to have what has become known as an immunity passport. This is essentially a certificate that says you have had and recovered from the virus or that you have been vaccinated against it. The need to provide these documents might not last forever, but for the foreseeable future these certificates could be an important part of travelling between countries.

Luggage shipping services will be a lifesaver

The less time you can spend at the airport and the less people you have to interact with during that time, the safer you will be when travelling. Using a luggage shipping service can reduce the need for you to hang about checking-in, dealing with other people’s luggage and waiting around at departures to collect your bags when you get off the plane. Instead, luggage shipping services will allow more people to get through the airport quicker (and easier) with the knowledge that their luggage will arrive at their chosen destination. These services are usually door-to-door and you can choose the collection and drop off times, as such, it’s likely the use of luggage services will increase in the near future.

Travel insurance policies will become even more crucial to travellers

We’ve all done it at one time or another, booked a holiday, sorted our flights, hotels, transfers and even activities, completely bypassing the bit where you tick the box to buy travel insurance. For the most part, if you don't have any underlying health conditions to worry about, most of us just assume we will be fine for the duration of the week or two-week holiday. But with Covid-19 causing so many people to have their holidays cancelled, flights rearranged, or trips cut short, many will now be aware of the benefits of having (or the stress of not having) travel insurance. Many policies allow you to cancel your trip should you fall ill and will also refund you for trips that are cancelled outside of your control. So it pays to be insured and this is a trend we will see rising over the coming years.

Flying won’t always be the travel of choice

Flying has been a hugely popular form of travel in recent decades because let’s face it, there are some places you just can’t reach without a plane (at least not without it taking you months to get there). But with airports being so busy and planes being such a confined space, it’s likely that travellers will look for different ways to cross borders or go on holiday. For example, trains don't require border control or huge queues, they are more spacious, and they have windows/better airflow. As such, it’s likely that people will choose these more comfortable and less crowded forms of travel in the earlier stages of recovering from Covid-19. It might also be favourable to drive where possible. Travelling around places like Europe or the US is entirely possible by car or train, so it’s likely that aeroplanes will no longer be king.

Stuart Cooke |